California voters are said to be in big trouble. You see, they didn’t vote the way their newspapers and politicians told them to vote on the six ballot measures on the May 19th ballot.
The first five measures — a combination of tax-raising and spending shifts to cover a $21 billion budget hole — were defeated by voters by a whopping two-to-one margin.
Only the sixth proposition passed — and it cuts the salaries of legislators and state officials.
The lessons are obvious, but not likely to be learned by the political elite, who now argue that the ballot initiative process should be restricted if not abolished altogether because the people didn’t vote according to their wishes.
Lesson One: Raising taxes isn’t terribly popular even in a blue state. Voters seem to think legislators should find ways to cut back spending without gutting essential services. In every county, and even in very liberal Los Angeles and San Francisco, these ballot measures went down hard.
Lesson Two: It’s good when politicians have to ask us before raising taxes. While some bemoan that voters aren’t minding their governors, I’m of the school that believes that those who govern are supposed to mind the voters.
Golden state voters are fortunate that politicians had to seek their approval to raise taxes — and smart not to have given it.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.