California Ballot Propositions, AVA Recommendations

by AVA News Service, April 29, 2009

BUDGET ASSUMPTIONS at all levels of government, at this point in the ongoing and clearly irreversible economic collapse, change from day to day as the bad fiscal news rolls in. Even if the recent budget balancing works temporarily with these stop-gap initiatives, the state faces a renewed deficit commencing July 1st when the new fiscal year begins. But here comes our legislature with what it claims is a fair budget-balancing set of initiatives. They aren't fair and they won't balance the budget. The AVA is tempted to vote NO on all of May 19th's ballot propositions because they're all illusionary. Bear in mind that these belated measures are the work of a very special class of permanently elected officials who get make $116,208 a year, plus fringes like free health care for them and their families, tax-funded vehicles and lush per diems. Of course if you think Wes Chesbro is on your side, that Wes lies awake at night worrying how better to serve the people, well, bless you my child for your faith.

PROP 1A: The so-called rainy day account should have been factored into fiscal planning years ago. This one sounds prudent and thrifty but it's too little, too late. It puts a cap on spending, which means a cap on spending even for good stuff. Overall it's more fraud, more trickery. The only good thing about it is that it risks a tiny tax on upper incomes. NO on 1A

PROP 1B: If 1A passes schools and junior colleges will get $9.3
billion, an amount they've lost from other state and federal money pots. Community colleges were designed to be absolutely free, but over the years a series of governors and state legislatures have imposed fees now rivaling state universities, which were also supposed to be free. K-12 education badly needs a total overhaul but fleeting infusions of cash, in a system where wealthy school districts still have a huge advantage over the poor districts, won't do anything for people who most need a good public education. It's all funny money anyhow at this point, so what the heck. YES on 1B

PROP 1C: Lottery revenues were supposed to go to the schools. Remember the ballot initiative that set it up that way? So why the rewrite? As one of the state's few money raisers, and the sole remaining hope of millions of financially doomed Californians, it was only a matter of time before the Per Diem Gang tried to get the lottery money for their own dubious purposes. NO on 1C

PROP 1D: Anytime politicians call something "The California Children and Families Act," it means a full offensive is being launched against you and your kids. Back in 1998 we all voted for a fifty cent tax on smokes. That money was supposed to go to the kids — slobbermawkdrool — but, as we see in Mendocino County, it instantly became a jobs program
for The Nice People, the folks clustered around the kids, the poor, the schools, the "helping professions," public radio, and Democrats, clustered around public money like blue bottle flies on fresh horse pucky. But now that there's fiscal trouble who's thrown over the side first? The kids of course, not that they got any of the money anyway, but if this one passes needy toddlers won't even get the money in theory. (The only reason Gramps and Gram don't get the heave-ho is that they vote.) NO on 1D

PROP 1E: With the kids safely out of the way, but with the frail
elderly still strong enough to vote against any career officeholder who messes with them, the only target left is the mentally ill. 1E would unravel a tax on people with incomes over a mil annually. That money provided at least some succor for the walking wounded. 1E takes the money away from programs for crazy people and vaguely re-directs it to MediCal recipients under the age of 21. NO on 1E

PROP F: If F passes it means elected officials at the state level can't get raises so long as there's a state deficit. Absolutely vote YES on this one because the state will see deficits from here on until the barricades go up which, as things are going, could be as early as the summer of 2010. YES on F

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