Winners and Losers
California’s initiative process gets blamed for every political problem the state confronts . . . that is, by many legislators and political insiders.
Two measures receive the bulk of the ire: Proposition 13 and Proposition 98.
Liberals bemoan Prop 13’s requirement of a two-thirds legislative vote to raise taxes, preventing state government from getting “the proper revenues.” They are welcome to their opinion.
But 33 years ago, Californians passed the measure 65 to 35 percent. Last week, a Field Poll showed it just as popular today. Additionally, the pollsters reported, “In each of four previous Field Poll surveys conducted since its passage, Prop. 13 has been backed by Californians by double-digit margins.”
Conservatives oppose Prop 98, which passed very narrowly in 1988. It creates a floor for K-12 education spending of roughly 40 percent of the state budget.
That’s why some charge that initiatives dictate too much of the budget. But, were legislators otherwise planning to zero-out public school funding? I doubt it. Spending was around 40 percent before Prop 98.
One other thing: Prop 98 incorporated a provision allowing the legislature to suspend the 40 percent mandate. The legislature has done so twice.
I would have voted against it, but unless Californians who oppose 98 can put a repeal onto the ballot and convince the majority of their fellow voters to agree, well, they’ll have to live with it.
At least, until the next election.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.