Monday, March 01, 2004
Tackling the propositions: Voters in California and several other states go to the ballot box tomorrow for the Super Tuesday primary. For California residents wanting my take on the ballot initiatives (I'll leave you to your own devices on the candidates for various races), here they are:
Prop. 55 is a $12.3 billion bond issue for building new schools and refurbishing others. I've been in some California public schools and they need it. Vote YES.
Prop. 56 is an effort by the state Democrat Party to make the GOP irrelevant in California. Currently the budget requires approval by a two-thirds majority in both the Assembly and the state Senate. That number means that Democrats have to moderate their tax-and-spend tendencies enough to get a few Republicans in each house to join in approving a budget. Prop. 56 would lower the number needed for approval to 55 percent -- a number they could reach without a single GOP vote. I urge you to vote NO on Prop. 56.
Prop. 57 and 58 are the twin pillars of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's effort to get California out of the current fiscal crisis by taking the short-term deficit and turning it into long-term debt. On principle, I think that it is a bad idea. Realistically, though, it's probably the only acceptable way out of the fiscal mess that former Gov. Gray Davis and the legislature got us into. Without the passage of the two measures, the legislature would make drastic cuts in public safety and education. Yes, there's plenty of useless pet projects and pork in the state budget, but when it comes to cutting stuff, lawmakers always want to hit you where it does the most damage so you'll be OK with higher taxes down the road. Vote YES on 57 and 58.
Prop. A is on the ballot for those of you privileged enough to live in San Diego County. The so-called Rural Lands Initiative wouldn't "save" the rural character of the backcountry or reduce traffic congestion. This is simply an anti-growth measure. The liberals who are so concerned about the poor in our society want to prevent new homes from being built; condemning the working poor to a lifetime of renting. Vote NO on Prop. A.
A long-term view: If Prop. 56 should happen to pass in California, it wouldn't necessarily be a horrible thing -- in the long run. With total accountability, when (not if) Democrats raise taxes (early and often) it would prompt a statewide sea change politically. Many moderates in the state see no real harm for voting for a Democrat now because a few Republicans can curb their tax-and-spend urges. With the Republican speed bump gone, Californians would begin to feel a giant sucking sound from their pocketbook. Now, we can laugh and point at silly Democrats who want to pass Feng Shui building codes, but after Prop. 56 it isn't going to be so funny anymore.