Ok, I promised to write more about this, so I will. The reason why we have to have this special election rather disgusts me. Basically, it is a kowtow to the minority Republicans in the state legislature, who really only have one goal – to lower taxes for corporations. This is clear because the budget that was provisionally passed (more on this in a bit) includes lots of cuts in services, while at the same time lowering corporate taxes permanently, but allowing for personal income tax to increase. This is simply amazing. And the reason why they were able to this is that the budget requires a two-thirds vote to pass, thanks to Prop 13, and of course the state needs a balanced budget because unlike the US government California cannot print money.
So the state needed to pass a budget because otherwise no one would get paid (including people getting tax refunds) and to pass a budget, the Governor and majority had to deal with the minority. And the way the deal worked out was “we will pass this budget, but we need a special election with the following constitutional amendments on it, and if they don’t pass, the budget is toast come February.” And what do they all contain? More constraints on how money is spent, and backdoors for lowering taxes when times are good (we’ll talk about this when I discuss 1A).
There is a second demon from Prop 13 that has lead to this path, of course. The property tax limitations limits income when times are rough – the state’s main and pretty much only way to generate revenue is via personal income tax, because corporate income tax gets axed by the Republican minority, and because corporate property is taxed at its value in the 1970s.
What to do? Start over. Raise the constitution and reconvene to make it new. Not going to happen, but I think that’s the only solution. Note this is basically a rant, and not really meant as anything else. Useful information in this series will begin in my next post on the subject, to discuss Prop 1A.