As a byproduct of tough economic times, constituents have raised complaints against California lawmakers over many issues. Proposition 31 tries to stick a few Band-Aids over the many calamities when what California really needs is a careful assessment of the state’s problems.
The measure attempts to implement nine changes to the state constitution regarding the power of the governor, large expenditures within the state budget, transparency procedures and the function of local government. These are certainly problems worth addressing, but we as a board are wary of a supposed fix-all.
Parts of the proposition make sense, such as the requirement to make all state bills public three days before approval and the mandate that any increase in state costs or decrease in state revenues of more than $25 million must be offset immediately in the budget.
Unfortunately, the pros of Proposition 31 are lumped together with many cons. Changing the state budget from a one-year to a two-year cycle makes little sense when California’s tax revenues can fluctuate drastically. Expanding the governor’s role is a power play that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last tried to pass on the 2005 ballot but failed. And the attempt to let counties operate autonomously is one this board does not support.
The measure is well-intentioned, but tries to do too much in a disjointed fashion. To stick this complicated and lengthy amendment in the state constitution would be unwise, especially with polling data that shows a large portion of the electorate is unsure of the proposition’s ramifications.