Ensure Democracy in California, Vote Yes on Proposition 25

Jan 29, 2011 No Comments

By Jeremy Bishow

Proposition 25 needs to pass this November.  As is stands, California is a financial nightmare.  The current political atmosphere of our state legislature is a microcosm of the current dilemma in the US senate.  The minority party (the Republican party) currently holds just enough votes to successfully filibuster anything the Democratic Party proposes and they use this power, dare I say it, liberally.  Proposed bills don’t get passed unless concessions are made; earmarks are appended to the bill in an effort to buy individual votes to break the filibuster.  This is analogous to California’s current state legislature. In order to pass either a budget or change state taxes, California’s constitution requires a supermajority (two-thirds) to agree.  Let me tell you something you already know—there is no such thing as a supermajority opinion.  There are two parties in the state legislature and they are some of the most partisan politicians you will ever know.  The Republican minority disagrees with the Democratic majority and is one of the leading causes of the state’s current financial woes.  Republicans refuse to allow for revenue to be raised, forcing an “all-cut” budget.  Even then, the budget cannot get though the legislature.  A small minority of legislators is holding the state government captive, not unlike the current “filibuster everything” approach of the US senate Republicans.  The only way to reach a supermajority is by buying minority votes with unnecessary “pork” projects—and even those budgets are long overdue and inadequate.  California’s legislature has only met the June 15 budget deadline 5 times since 1980 and late budgets only increase the deficit in California.  When it misses that deadline, California’s residents and institutions are penalized by cuts in their funding and are forced to guess as they make their own budgets.  This system is ineffective and bad for the state; the solution is Prop 25.

Prop 25, the Majority Vote Budget Initiative, needs to pass this November.  25 would allow the California legislature to pass budget and budget-related legislation with a simple majority.  California is one of just three states that requires a supermajority to pass a budget and is the only state that requires a supermajority to pass both a budget and approve raising taxes. When 25 passes, not only will California have the on-time budgets it needs to stop losing money, but it will hold legislators accountable if the budget is late—penalizing them for not doing their job.  The end goal is to break the gridlock that thrives under the current system and to end the corruption that is the budget-making process.  Without the need to buy off individual politicians, the legislature is free to serve the people as a whole and to rebuild the state.

Prop 25 needs to pass, but it is not all that is needed.  It is be the change we need right now, but not the change we deserve. We need to reduce the required vote to pass revenue-raising measures to a simple majority—essentially repeal the requirement put forth by Prop 13 over 30 years ago.  What good is a complete budget without the means to pay for it?  For years, state Republicans have stood fast against even the slightest mention of raising taxes.  This behavior needs to come to a close.  We live in, or what I would like to think we live in, a civilized society.  Part of what that entails is we protect those who are the most vulnerable, pay for the services we value, and hold people and businesses alike accountable to pay their fair share.  This is about more raising revenue; it is about, in the simplest of terms, democracy.  And democracy is what our state needs.  In order to put an end to the current system of minority-party tyranny and gridlock, implement democracy.  Vote YES on Propositi

Fall 2010

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