Politics: No on Prop 25

The budget situation in California is a mess.

Some say Prop 13 limits on property taxes are too strict. Others point to Prop 98 that requires education automatically getting the lion's share of budgetary dollars. Legislators complain about the 2/3 rule to pass taxes and the budget. Think tankers point to the wild fluctuations in revenue due to the capital gains/stock options taxation system. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Prop 25 calls for the end of the 2/3 rule for passing budgets and says it will dock legislator's pay for each day they miss the budget deadline. The Sacramento Bee calls it a partisan power play.

I think the "punishment" really has no teeth. The legislature could pass a "phony" budget to meet the deadline because there is a difference between passing a budget and enacting a budget (Governor signs it and Legislature appropriates money for it). So that part of the measure sounds good but probably is meaningless.

But what about the impact of the simply majority rule?

Under the current 2/3 rule, there are two scenarios:

(1A) If Mr. Brown wins as polls indicate and most Democrat state legislators hold their seats as is likely, the legislative majority party will also hold the governorship, thus, the only potential check on their power is the 2/3 rule in passing a budget. It should be noted that the Democrats hold nearly 2/3 of the seats in the State Assembly and State Senate in the latest legislative session.

(2A) The past few years with the Governator, the budget battle was a three-way fight between the majority party in the legislature, Governor Arnold and the minority party in the legislature.

If Prop 25 passes, a simple majority rule would be in effect for budgets. How would those two scenarios play out:

(1B) If Mr. Brown wins as polls indicate and most Democrat state legislators hold their seats as is likely, the legislative majority party will also hold the governorship. The minority party in the legislature could fall asleep and be stone silent at every committee meeting and the budget would pass.

(2B) If the Governor is of the opposing party to the legislative majority party, the check on the budget would be the governor's willingness to exercise a veto of the whole budget or line-item vetoes of specific sections.

The Sac Bee supports the idea of simple majority budgets but wants additional reforms which Prop 25 doesn't have. Thus, I join the Sac Bee in calling for a NO on Prop 25.

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