Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Super Tuesday: I had no problem voting early Tuesday afternoon using the new touch screen machines. I talked with the poll workers, and my precinct was one of several across the county that had problems with the new machines. Unlike some others that were delayed by several hours, my Escondido polling site was able to get the machine working within about 15 minutes. However, they needed some more instruction on setting up the machines. I'm 6' 1" and I had to bend over to be able to read the screen. It wasn't until I saw some photos in the newsroom that I realized the machines could be tilted upward.
Anyway, the most interesting result of the night was California's Prop. 56, which would have lowered the percent needed to pass the state budget from two-thirds to just 55 percent. Supporters ran television ads touting some of the proposition's positives -- namely the withholding of legislators pay if they fail to pass a budget on time. Opponents advertised the fact that the 55 percent threshold would have made it much easier to raise taxes.
Low and behold, what happened? The measure was trounced -- statewide. Only one county, San Francisco, (surprise!) went for the measure.
This may be something that Republicans can run on in the General Election in November. At least in California (not so much in Washington, D.C., unfortunately), the Republican party is the party of fiscal responsibility and spending restraint.
Even with the passage of Propositions 57 and 58 -- which turn the state's short-term budget deficit into long-term debt and create a rainy-day fund -- are only the first steps. California still has structural budget problems that will require future budget cuts or tax hikes. Republicans have a case to make that they would be more fiscally responsible than the Democrat majority that got the state into this situation in the first place.