Monday, May 4, 2009

Being propositioned

We’re debating how much time we will devote to breaking down the 5 propositions that will be on the ballot for the state-wide special election on May 19. Actually, we do know: not much – as these props are the result of a “compromise” made in the midnight hour a few months back in order to get the state budget passed. A “compromise” that resulted in an income tax and sales tax hike.

These propositions (1A through 1D) are a mix of smoke and mirror budgetary shell games that rely on the Assembly actually following through on promises (not bloody likely) and pathetic political grandstanding.

Another reason why we’re not voting for these props: they should’ve never been needed in the first place. If Sacramento merely kept spending increases confined to the rate of inflation plus population growth since 1990, the state would have a budget surplus of $15 billion today instead of a $42 billion deficit.

But it gets even better. From the Dept. of Totally Predictable Consequences, we bring you this:

April, the state's largest tax-collection month, has fallen short of expected revenue by more than $1.8 billion in personal and corporate income taxes. The state was $750 million behind projected tax collection on April 1.

There's good reason to believe April's sales tax receipts may disappoint, too. New car sales the first three months of this year fell by 43 percent compared with the same period last year, according a report last week by the California New Car Dealers Association.

Auto-related sales tax (car sales, parts, etc.) make up about 20 percent of the state's sales tax receipts, said Paul Warren, a revenue and taxation analyst for the Legislative Analyst's Office.

You mean to say that perhaps raising the sales tax may have had a negative impact on tax revenues? No way. The Legislative Analyst’s office predicts a budget shortfall of $8 billion by next year.

Can’t wait to see what propositions will be rolled out to fix that mess.


K T Cat said...

Vote NO on all of them except the last one.

Dean said...

KT, I believe that is the one that freezes the pay of the Assembly if the state is running a deficit for that year.

If I was forced to pick just one, I suppose I'd give that one a "yea" but because of the manner in which the props were borne, I'm just declaring a pox on everybody's house and voting no on all of them just on principle.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit surprised that there aren't more props on the ballot.

There is a school of thought that the more props there are on the ballot, the more likely voters, in a fit of confusion and not wanting to figure out "stereo instructions", are to vote "no" across the board. Therefore pols who are actually against something (say Brand X) will put a -- or several -- "Vote for Brand X"s on the ballot just so it can be voted down to gain an upper hand for their particular brand of vodka.

- Mongo Still Recalls Poli Sci Prof. Schultz's Teachings Upon Mighty Montezuma Mesa in "State & Local Politics" Class

Dean said...

Mongo, the only reason we are having a special election at all is because these props were part of the Faustian bargain made to get the budget passed.

What you speak of though, happened in 2005 when Arnie sponsored 5 (I think)what could reasonably be called "conservative" props. Huge mistake. The opposition was able to paint the 5 props as a collective right-wing power grab and all 5 went down pretty soundly.

In fact, you have somewhat the same thing happening here where I sense the public thinking (and polling), "more crap from those losers in Sacrameto? Hell, no!"

...unless I totally missed Prof. Schulz's point.

Ohioan@Heart said...

Vote no on all 6.

I can live with a yes on the 6th. Although I would rather that they simply confiscate their pay whenever they fail to perform their constitutionally required duties. That's the proposition I want to vote on.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah -- except that Maria's husband actually wanted those to pass.

A better test of the theory would be to look further down the ballot for that year and see how the passing rate for the non-Gov props that election.

- Mongo Recalls Sitting In the Stifling Heat of the Soon-To-Be-History Storm Hall