The Propositions and You

Keith Cousins

I like to consider myself an informed participant in both the state and federal governments of the United States. I do research on the candidates, how they feel about issues and what they propose to do to solve fiscal and social problems facing our nation. I choose to vote using an absentee ballot so I have more time to consider how to vote. However, when it comes to the California Proposition system, it seems almost impossible for me to determine which way to vote.

For example, on the November ballot there were several propositions that seemed to do little more than confuse voters and con them into voting yes or no, not based on actual knowledge of the proposition, but rather which side had the support of organizations that you agree with. It seems to me that clear-cut propositions such as Prop 8 are the exception rather than the norm and that government and special interest groups are trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes so that they can keep running California’s government the way it’s been going.

All of this caused me to pay special attention to the propositions in the Special Election on May 19. In particular, Prop 1A caught my eye and caused me to do further research on just what this would do if it passed.

The proposition itself seems quite simple; it’s short enough so, what the heck, I’ll just include it, because it may be the only time voters will read it before they vote. It is called the “Rainy Day” Budget Stabilization Fund and reads as follows.

“Changes the budget process. Could limit future deficits and spending by increasing the size of the state ‘rainy day’ fund and requiring above average revenues to be deposited into it, for use during economic downturns and other purposes. Fiscal impact: Higher the state tax revenue of roughly 16 billion dollars from 2010-11 through 2012-13. Over time, increased amounts of money in state rainy day reserve and potentially less ups and downs in state spending.”

Basically, a yes vote on this proposition will increase a stockpile of funds for the state government to use in case of economic crisis. In order to do this, the tax increases we are now just starting to experience will be lengthened for another two to three years.
On the surface it sounds like a pretty good plan. Yes, taxpayers will feel the repercussions and will foot the majority of the bill but it will ensure that we do not face such a radical economic downturn ever again.

Not so fast voters. What this bill truly means is that little more than the Sacramento government taxing the average citizen so that government employees and unions do not have to sacrifice their above-market benefits and salary. Instead of focusing on budget reform and trying to remove the two-thirds majority necessary to pass a budget, which is nearly impossible to pull off, the state government is simply going to tax more and shift funds around to try and bandage a gaping wound.

I won’t tell you how to vote and what was said above is just my opinion on the matter. But what I will say is that we as responsible voters need to look carefully at exactly what we are voting for. This goes far beyond watching and listening to ads and then reading the proposition in the voting booth. Research what these propositions will do, how they are projected to really affect average Californians and then go into your local polling place on May 19 and vote for what you think will best impact you and your fellow Californians.