News

Commentary: Our recommendations for today's special election

Voters will decide today six special propositions. Here's a short summary of each.

1A: Sends a portion of state revenues to a "rainy day" fund for use in lean years. The percentage set aside for economic downturns increases from 5 to 12.5 percent of the state's General Fund. Spending is capped at a 10-year average of state revenue, adjusted for population growth and inflation. Revenue above that average goes into reserves, requiring the state in most years to put a projected 3 percent of its general fund revenues in the reserve fund, which could only be used for budget shortfalls, bond repayments and emergencies such as natural disasters or if the governor declares a fiscal emergency. Extends 1 percent state sales tax increase for one year, and extends vehicle license fee increase and top income bracket increase for two years, generating some $16 billion in revenue. This measure also authorizes the governor to make mid-year spending reductions if the budget falls out of balance.

1B: Beginning in 2011-2012, requires additional payments to local school districts and community colleges to offset recent budget cuts. Payments come from the rainy day fund established in 1A and continue until total amount is repaid.

1C: Makes changes to improve performance of state lottery and increase payouts and proceeds. Allows state to borrow $5 billion to address current budget deficit against projected additional lottery proceeds.

1D: Temporarily redirects $600 million in funds from California Children and Families Act (1998's Proposition 10) to General Fund for support of health and human services children's programs. Additional diversion of $268 million in years 2010-11 to 2013-14. Early childhood development programs funded by the act would be cut.

1E: Redirects $230 million from Mental Health Services Act funds (2004's Proposition 63) for two years to existing health programs. Community mental health programs would be cut.

1F: Prohibits legislators and state constitutional officers from receiving pay raises when the state is running a deficit.

All six special propositions are the result of a flawed Sacramento budget and policy-making process. The causes include term-limits, the two-thirds super-majority requirement, a distorted initiative process, insulated legislative districts and a governor who has proven to be ineffective.

These forces and Republican legislators who refused to accept any tax increases (despite the fact that no reasonable solution was possible without them) combined to produce a weeks-long stalemate to begin 2009. The deadlock continued as the state's budget deficit crept beyond $40 billion. The impasse was barely bridged by a few Republicans in each house who broke ranks to support the compromise that included budget cuts and the voters deciding on Measures 1A-1F.

There are plenty of reasons for anyone from any part of the political spectrum to oppose these measures. 1A is the only proposition of the six that contains long-term structural reform of the budget process in an attempt to limit the revenue swings we have recently experienced. Its opponents on the left say it will deprive the state of essential revenue needed for important programs, yet some anti-tax groups oppose it because of its built-in taxes and perceived loopholes. This package moves revenues from voter initiative-established programs to the General Fund. Some say this thwarts the will of the voters and cuts these programs when such services are most needed. Others like that it moderates, if temporarily, our ad hoc initiative-based budgeting process.

The problem with defeating these measures is what might happen if they don't pass. The whole mess would go back to legislators and the Governor who are already likely facing a multi-billion dollar additional shortfall they must deal with, even if these measures pass. Hard-line anti-tax forces in the legislature would claim an even greater anti-tax mandate even though they don't have any other solutions. If these measures are defeated we wouldn't bet on a better resolution in round two than we have here. Which is why, painful as it may be, the Pleasanton Weekly recommends a Yes vote on all six propositions.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by tax revolt 2
a resident of Country Fair
on May 19, 2009 at 4:52 am

tax revolt 2 is a registered user.

New solutions are already being offered including raising by 5 years the time it takes for a new state employee to receive lifetime health benefits, laying off 30,000 state employees, moving undocumented immigrants from state prison to federal authorities, and more.

I'm betting there is a better round two possible.

No on Propositions 1A-1F.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 5:40 am

And don't forget to come back in two weeks to vote NO ON MEASURE G. Or better yet, do it by mail today.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 19, 2009 at 5:54 am

Here is my favorite part from the editorial:

"The problem with defeating these measures is what might happen if they don't pass. The whole mess would go back to legislators and the Governor who are already likely facing a multi-billion dollar additional shortfall they must deal with, even if these measures pass. Hard-line anti-tax forces in the legislature would claim an even greater anti-tax mandate even though they don't have any other solutions. If these measures are defeated we wouldn't bet on a better resolution in round two than we have here. Which is why, painful as it may be, the Pleasanton Weekly recommends a Yes vote on all six propositions."

The legislature probably is counting on that kind of thinking. "We can't do our jobs, so please just vote for this stuff and save us the trouble."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Californian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 7:26 am


Kathleen Ruegsegger, you have risen as a powerful voice of reason. I hope you consider running for school board because you would get my vote!

And my favorite part of the editorial:

Hard-line anti-tax forces in the legislature would claim an even greater anti-tax mandate even though they don't have any other solutions."

They do in fact have solutions. The problem is, many of us who have become addicted to the entitlement society refuse to believe that the music has finally stopped and it's now time to get off the carousel - there is no brass ring to grab -the carnival has shut down - time to roll up our sleeves and do some heavy lifting. Those that came to our state in the past 30 years and take and don't contribute, I suggest going back to where you came from, since you aren't contributing, just taking. Harsh perhaps, but a dose of medicine that few of us are willing to hear and fewer still will act on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 8:54 am

Voting for something out of fear is simply not a good idea.

Read the fact sheet from the governor's office:
Web Link

Even if the propositions pass, we face a 15 billion dollar deficit. If the propositions fail, that deficit goes up to 21 billion.

The propositions do not solve the problem! We need real solutions, so I say let's allow the propositions to fail and send a message to the clowns in Sacramento to get the job done and come up with a real solution.

If the propositions fail, the governor has said that on top of the cuts to be made (to solve the 15 billion dollar deficit), he will have to, among other things:
- release illegal/undocumented prisoners into federal custody
- layoff 5000 employees

Those are good things that should happen even if there is no budget deficit! Too many people employed by the government, and why should California pay for illegals to be in our jails? Send these illegals to federal custody or back to their country.

NO on all propositions except for 1F.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Allen
a resident of Birdland
on May 19, 2009 at 10:05 am

Please read this very important editorial in today's Wall Street Journal - Web Link

Compare the WSJ's logic to the PW logic -- night verses day!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on May 19, 2009 at 10:06 am

VOTE NO on measures A-G. Hold our legislators accountable for doing their jobs...they demonstrated their desire for the job by asking for our votes...now that they have it, they should be held accountable. Don't let them scapegoat the residents of California for something THEY failed to do. VOTE NO AS MANY TIMES AS LEGAL!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert Finnigan
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

I'm wondering if they're smoking a controlled substance at the Pleasanton Weekly, or whether they're just your garden-variety left-wing journalists.

I especially liked the line, "Hard-line anti-tax forces in the legislature would claim an even greater anti-tax mandate even though they don't have any other solutions."

Hard-core anti-tax forces??? California already has the second-highest taxes in the country, behind only the socialist swill pot of New York (dominated by NYC); yet we are consistently in the bottom 2-3 on spending for education, transportation, infrastructure, and vital services (excluding social services). Where is all that money going? A good place to look first is social spending, state worker unions, the bloated state government, medical care for the uninsured, and the flood of illegal immigrants getting services. Companies and individuals are fleeing California because the taxes are so onerous, which only makes the situation worse.

Left-wing politicians totally dominate the state government, including Gov. SchwarenKennedy, the grossly incompetent Legislature, and the public-employee unions. So please, don't blame the handful of Republicans that are still left.

Pleasanton Weekly, your socialist roots are showing. You best wise up before you suffer the same fate as a number of other left-wing newpapers - going of business.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No Mo Loons
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 10:16 am

Jeb,

Does your lefty loonism come from going to journalism school or being from (famously corrupt) Chicago? That's it, lets raise taxes some more so the ruling-class lefties can reign over the pions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jan
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 19, 2009 at 10:16 am

Robert F., you meant to say the Pleasanton Weekly is in danger of going OUT of business.

I agree with EVERYTHING you said!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert Finnigan
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 19, 2009 at 10:27 am

Jan,

Thanks for catching my typo. I certainly did mean going OUT of business. Cheers!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MainStreetDiva
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 19, 2009 at 10:31 am

MainStreetDiva is a registered user.

Allen, thank you for posting the link to the WSJ article.

VOTE NO ON 1A - 1F.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Allen
a resident of Birdland
on May 19, 2009 at 10:41 am

MainStreetDiva, all thanks to Ken, who posted it first.

Please understand - I have two kids in PUSD schools, I support my schools and teachers and love my place of birth, California. What's shocking is the meltdown of our system. I'm confident that we can correct our direction. However, as long as the vast majority of people are unwilling to take responsiblity and realize that the entitlement society is unsustainable, our state and our nation are in for a long, hard slog. And don't think for a minute that our enemies don't see how weak and exposed we are.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 19, 2009 at 11:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm actually voting no also on 1F. It's just another stupid ballot measure that does nothing in the big picture.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Allen
a resident of Birdland
on May 19, 2009 at 11:17 am

Correction, it was Pleasanton Dad who first posted the WSJ editorial today. Thanks Pleasanton Dad!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Stacey: my friend did the same as you: voted NO on everything, to send a strong message to the clowns in Sacramento. She says there are always loopholes and she was not taking any chances. I voted YES on 1F but NO on everything else.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm

by the way, I received a call (recording) this past weekend, from the very liberal mayor of San Francisco. Even he asked people to vote NO on 1B and 1E... I was surprised, given that he is such a liberal, but it goes to show these propositions are opposed by many regardless of political affiliation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Here we go
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on May 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

I can't wait for the onslaught of comments my post will elicit, but here goes...

Our state is like a controlled explosion of an unwanted commercial building...it is going to implode from the inside.

We are doing everything we can to grow the dependance on government as a state. We are even growing the population that is most dependant on government - illegal immigrants.

We don't enforce the borders, we don't require documentation for any social services.

My 77 year old mother works for Stanislaus county and daily gives out the food stamps to all the illegal immigrants. No one asks for proof of anything. And just a month ago, my mother handed a woman $1700 in food stamps for her family. What?! Multiply that times the hundred that flood that one office daily.

Now consider that any public school CANNOT ask for proof of citizenship before a child is enrolled. Only proof of RESIDENCY.

Now look at the cost of healthcare and that you cannot be denied care for your lack of being able to pay. The money comes from somewhere.

We have ample issues that are rampant throughout the state, but this is a huge issue that is consuming our resources.

Considering south american nations are literally instructing their citizens how to come here and get on the dole, can we really afford to be thier paycheck? We need to start asking TOUGH questions of ourselves if we are going to ever get serious about our state fiscal situation and exactly where all the money is going. Other issues have been raised in this thread, but this needs to be strongly considered and rectified.

I'm not against immigration...just get in line and take your turn. And for goodness sakes, let's make policies that reinforce that!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RW McMillan
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 19, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Glad to see I'm not alone on the NO vote. I don't understand, if $5 billion can be borrowed from the "education" lottery, why not put that money where it belongs in the 1st place. Stop using our children as a means of leverage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by In The End
a resident of Country Fair
on May 19, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Maybe California simply cant be governed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julia Chung
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 8:41 pm

"Here we go",

I like your analogy of the implosion. The bigger disaster is that the Obama administration is using California as a model to run the federal goverment. It probably will continue, California will lead the way to bankruptcy, and the Feds will follow. Both Sacramento and Washington are totally focused on the multitude of ways they can raise taxes. California can't keep up on two counts -- they can't print money, and its tougher to move out of the U. S. than it is to move out of CA.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of Livermore
on May 19, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Julia,

You are correct and it is completely unsustainable. I just came back from working for 4 years in Canada and now that Barack is trying to remake the US healthcare system in the Canadian image the Canadians are laughing out loud as their healthcare system is a joke. In Canada you are going to die if you are over 55 and have Cancer, need a heart transplant, diabetic because of extreme obesity, cancer via smoking, etc. 3 doctors decide your fate. Canadian women cannot get a timely ultrasound so they go across the border into the US and find out the sex and if they do not like the sex of the baby go back across into Canada and abortion on demand.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 10:01 pm

So far, with 27% of the vote counted, all propositions are failing except for 1F:

Web Link

Let's hope we keep this up. Let's hope all propositions fail - as for 1F I hope it passes but I am more concerned about 1a-1e

And as for Obama.... I agree, his health care reform is simply ridiculous.

Here is an interesting article about California and today's propositions from CNN:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of Livermore
on May 19, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Resident,

does it say how much they are losing by?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate K.
a resident of Civic Square
on May 19, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Well, well, The PW missed on 5 of 6 Props.

Here we go, I couldn't agree with you more.

Julia Chung, good points.

Peter, more people need to understand the dark downside of socialized healthcare. Thanks for the grim truth.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Peter:

Yes, click on the individual propositon. Most are losing by more than 60 percent. 1F is winning by more than 70 percent.

For example, prop 1A:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Get out of the wagon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 11:56 pm

I am so pleased the the PW posted this original and well-appointed voter guide!

I was so lost today at how to vote when I couldn't find my sample ballot.

Fortuneately, the Editor's of PW thought it important enough for our community to post their thoughtful recommendations, based on critical insights only afforded to the Press. Yep, I printed it and used it as a voter guide at my polling place!

It was wholly useful, I voted exactly the opposite of what the PW Editors recommended!

Thanks again!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2009 at 12:30 am

Well the people, once again, got it right. Let's hope our local voters continue the trend and do the right thing.

Vote NO on G


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2009 at 7:08 am

I disagree with resident.

I voted NO on all propositions except for 1F. I was happy to see that 1a-1e failed with a bit over 60 percent of the vote, and 1F passed with more than 70 percent of the vote.

I support Measure G.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lucky Guy
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 20, 2009 at 7:16 am

Now that 5 of the 6 have been defeated, we can now vote these inept idiots out of office, whether it be school board, county, state or federal representatives. That is OUR responsibility! I am often amazed at who comes out of the woodwork when a war occurs. Now that we are broke, out of work and essentially giving our country away you would think the hardworking, tax paying, law abiding citizens of this counry would be in the streets "demonstrating". How bad do things have to get?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Downtown
on May 20, 2009 at 7:35 am

I believe we are beginning to see the demonstration needed change things around. The next thing we will see is the incumbents voted out of office and referendums to remove elected officials who are not running the business right and that should start here in town with our Mayor, Council, and School Board. We need people elected to these postions who have some level of experience running something other than their mouth.


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