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NYT Upbraids Irresponsible CA Voters

From a furious New York Times:

Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep State Solvent

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

May 20, 2009

LOS ANGELES — A smattering of California voters on Tuesday soundly rejected five ballot measures designed to keep the state solvent through the rest of the year.

The results dealt a severe setback to the state’s fragile fiscal structure and to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state legislators who cobbled together the measures as part of a last-minute budget deal passed in February.

The measures, which would have prolonged tax increases, capped state spending, earmarked money for education and involved the state in a complex borrowing scheme against its lottery, were rejected by roughly 60 percent of those who voted. The failure of the measures, combined with falling revenues since the state passed its budget, leaves California with a $21 billion new hole to fill, while foreclosure rates and unemployment remain vexing problems here

The one measure to pass, which would prevent legislators and statewide constitutional officers, including the governor, from receiving pay rises in years when the state is running a deficit, was approved by more than 75 percent of those who cast ballots, demonstrating the overwhelming disgust many Californians say in polls that they feel toward elected officials in a time of deep budget paralysis.

The central measure, Proposition 1A, would have increased the state’s rainy-day fund but also restrict spending in future years, and extend several temporary taxes. Proposition 1B, which was connected to 1A, would have required $9.3 billion to be paid to education to make up for shortfalls in spending levels set by a voter-approved proposition in 1988. Voters indicated in polls earlier this month that they had a distaste for protracted taxes, caps on spending during inflation periods and general legislative and gubernatorial will.

The other failing propositions were 1E, which would have redirected money guaranteed for mental health services to the state’s general fund; 1D, a similar measure using money earmarked for early childhood programs; and 1C, which would have modernized the state lottery and permitted the state to borrow from future profits.

But voters — roughly 10 percent of those registered, according to midday figures — seemed to have lost patience with ideas cooked up by legislators to fix the state’s perpetual budget imbalances. The governor and lawmakers will now be forced to debate yet again what methods will be used to set the balance sheet right and vote on new measures to cut spending. Those proposed measures will be draconian and politically difficult, including large education cuts and reductions in prison sentences

Bill Watkins, an economist with University of California in Santa Barbara, said legislators “have some interesting decisions to make now,” adding: “Education is definitely going to take a hit. The way we finance local governments is a travesty and funds will be taken away this time.”

Oh, those selfish California voters. (Luckily, they were only a “smattering.”)

Still, it is ever thus:

Those proposed measures will be draconian and politically difficult, including large education cuts and reductions in prison sentences.

It is always education and public safety that have to take the hits.

Never the bloated bureaucrats or their preposterous pet projects.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

30 Responses to “NYT Upbraids Irresponsible CA Voters”

  1. They don’t mention that all those measures would do would be to stop the spending this year, but increase them in the following years. The reason I voted no on them is because my kids will already be sending a ton of taxes to the federal government, I don’t want them to also have to send a ton of taxes to the california government.

    • caligirl9 says:

      My daughter and I also voted … I thought it was oh-so-clever to put some things I wanted into prop 1A, but mostly stuff I didn’t want.

      Although my daughter and I do use the services of a community college, I know the waste that permeates that system (the chancellor of one local district is having her office remodeled, a year-long process, and it’s costing $100K (on a set of modular buildings to boot!). Cut a few deans and VPs and let teachers teach, period. And stop making fee waivers so easy to get, too!

      I am a fiscal conservative. If it raises taxes for no good reason (or a reason that does not benefit my extended family in any way), it’s a no. I do support the high speed rail thing though (but not a BART extension into SJ because of the type of people who will no doubt ride down to the South Bay to increase their sphere of influence … by that I mean Oakland gang bangers and such).

      I did vote to redirect funds from early childhood ed … because the only people I know of who benefit from that are illegals (Head Start in particular).

      I would not be surprised to see this pop up in the courts somehow …

      My polling place was as slow as a tomb, and it was actually a consolidation of several precincts from the previous election (so twice as many potential voters in theory). Very much unlike the November election when there was all sorts of riff-raff hanging around. Most of the people voting looked to be well into adulthood; my daughter (25) was probably the youngest person there.

    • I noticed the same thing about the polling place. My wife and I went to a community center and for the November election, they had a whole gym opened for the voting. This election, they only had a quarter of a gym open for voting.

      My wife and I read very carefully all the propositions very carefully. When you get to the bottom and read that it will stop spending for this year, but the spending can be reinstated in coming years, it gives you shivered. Talk about trying to mickey-mouse a fix for the already bad economy.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    I don’t know why Californians bother to vote at all. If a leftist judge doesn’t like the way the people voted …… all he / she has to do is over turn the vote and enact their way of law. If the Dems have their way they will install that version of the “Left Coast” form of voting!

    • Confucius says:

      You’re right, LDemise. In fact, I’m betting these initiatives will appear in court by year’s end.

  3. jobeth says:

    CaliforniaBear
    “The reason I voted no on them is because my kids will already be sending a ton of taxes to the federal government”

    I don’t know enough to make a comment on the yes or no vote, but I do know one thing, your kids are going to be sending more taxes anyway it went.

    It will go either to California or to the Feds…as we all will be sending in our Tax $$ to bail out yet one more “economic mess”. And I have a sneaking feeling California will only be the first of many. Once the rest of the states smell that blood…

  4. proreason says:

    “The governor and lawmakers will now be forced to debate yet again what methods will be used to set the balance sheet right and vote on new measures to cut spending”

    What?

    They get to debate and vote on things in California?

    And they have to set the balance sheet right?

    Didn’t they elect Obamy?

    Don’t they even know how to operate a dictatorship correctly?

  5. AConcernedCitizen says:

    60%, eh? Sounds like a mandate.

  6. Reality Bytes says:

    How about cutting those $325,000 “Director of Community Affairs” jobs like the one Michelle Obama had @ the Chicago University Hospitals. We’re turning into some kind of feifdom for cryin’ out loud!

  7. Cincinnatus says:

    A lot of education spending is on silly, feel-good self-esteem programs. It needs a good cutting.

    Of course, they’ll cut the muscle, leave the fat.

    • caligirl9 says:

      The same community college district I spoke of above “prides” itself on throwing “social justice” and “social equity” down students’ throats.

      It’s chock full of “special programs” for “special interest groups” to the exclusion of anglo young people. There are very few anglo students at either campus. The anglos tend to stick to the west side of Silicon Valley for their community college education.

      About half of the students receive fee waivers, which means they do not pay the nominal feel of $20 per unit (I think that’s what the fee is right now).

      I predict that district will cut sports (already well-served by active booster clubs) and leave useless programs like labor studies (not a single unit of that program is transferrable!) or service learning in place (essentially community service, except you get college credit for it).

    • proreason says:

      “service learning ”

      Haven’t heard the term, but I’l bet it’s spelled a c o r n.

    • caligirl9 says:

      There is an Acorn office in San Jose … I wonder what other “social programs” they operate off of other monikers …

  8. Enthalpy says:

    “Representatives” of California may now be forced to try something new to them–properly represent their constituency for a change! Imagine such a thing–having to actually have the money to pay for your crack pipe dreams and schemes. The San Francisco mayor may find that the maintenance of the world’s preeminent sanctuary city is just too costly after all.

    They will still blame all of this on the black hearted, racist, right wing nuts of our country.

  9. Enthalpy says:

    Dangerous and U NO HOO are right, of course. Doing what is right trumps blame. It should be interesting just to see how they justify their predicament, that’s all.

  10. pdsand says:

    Sounds like these weren’t exactly measures to ‘keep the state solvent’ so much as put a band-aid on the budget until it’s somebody else’s problem.

  11. PatriotOne says:

    The “Terminator” Governorator has terminated himself….. He rode into Sacramento on the rails of conservatism ~~ sadly he was derailed by the pillow-talk of his Kennedyesque wife and her ilk…..

    Today, thanks to a “smattering” of voters [in this instance, a “smattering” is defined as a 60% majority, also defined as a ‘landslide’] the “Terminator” has been exposed as nothing more than a liberal/socialist with an accent!!!

    • Who will undoubtedly beg off for more Fed dollars to be printed for the balancing of the CA checkbook.

      I truly hope that parents who “get it” are using these crisis’ to demonstrate what goes horribly, HORRIBLY wrong when liberalism is in (and out of) control.

    • pdsand says:

      Aye, Aye. Well the crazy accounting scheme didn’t work, so we’re fresh out of ideas. I wish there was something ELSE besides raising taxes and borrowing that we could to in order to balance our state budget. DANGIT it’s just so frustrating the lack of fresh ideas.

    • I wonder how much could be saved by printing state documents in English only? Or by removing general welfare benefits? Or licensing new nuclear power plants? Or privatizing the prisons? Or leasing the highways to private concerns? Or leasing the medians of some to business? Or reducing regulations?

      The amounts are quite staggering, and only a year’s worth.. No one is willing to admit it, but I do believe we are witnessing the complete collapse of the dollar.

    • proreason says:

      If they adjusted the pension benefits for state employees with less than 5 years service, it would save billions.

      I’m beginning to think that gold-plated civil service benefits are a much bigger problem than previously thought. Private businesses no longer give defined benefits pensions.

      Promises made to people approaching retirement shouldn’t be rescinded, but employees early in their careers shouldn’t be enriching themselves with impossible-to-fire jobs with gold-plate, inflation-protected pensions that no private business can afford to give.

  12. proreason says:

    Rush had a great point about CA on his show today.

    OLenin is going to bail California out, and federal taxes are going to go up because of it. That will expand federal power and buy him more votes in that huge state.

    The whole country will be paying for the loons in California for decades.

    You can take that to the bank that your money won’t be going to for much longer.

  13. Colonel1961 says:

    ‘Hey, everybody – let’s vote ourselves a tax increase! Yahoo!’ Not so much…

  14. canary says:

    First GM. Now California.

  15. ajmalkov says:

    Love the way the story laments the ‘fact’ that prisoners will have to be paroled as a result of the failure to raise taxes. Nope. It would not be necessary to parole a single prisoner if the California prison guards’ union would just agree to a pay cut — they are the most powerful union in America and their starting salary is like 80 grand. And because they are unionized, their work rules are nice and onerous (i.e., they don’t have to do any). This is why it costs $43,000 to house a single inmate for a year. Bust up the prison guards’ union and California can keep all its inmates in jail as long as necessary. Have you ever been to San Quentin? That $43,000 sure as hell isn’t going into the facility.

  16. pdsand says:

    “But voters — roughly 10 percent of those registered”

    Is that legally registered voters, or the ACORN registered voters list?


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