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Our View: Props. 31, 32 will benefit all residents

Posted: September 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election, The Signal is taking a stand on several propositions that are being put before voters.

PROPOSITION 31: State Budget YES

Proposition 31 would create a two-year budget cycle and give the governor more leeway in reducing spending during fiscal emergencies. While it decreases state sales tax revenue by $200 million, it increases local budgets correspondingly. Proposition 32 decentralizes state programs and allows local government to develop procedures for administering state programs. It also requires state and local government to evaluate effectiveness of programs and describe how budgets meet various objectives.

Proposition 31 restricts the state Legislature’s ability to pass certain bills that increase state costs or decrease revenue unless new funding sources and/or new spending reductions are identified for bills costing more than $25 million. It requires almost all bills and amendments to be available to the public at least three days before legislative approval.

We support this proposition for several reasons.

First, we believe that in most cases, decentralized local government processes, with the appropriate controls, can be more efficient and better targeted in their application of government services than can state government processes.

Second, we think this measure creates more accountability by requiring program effectiveness reporting, reducing unfunded legislative mandates and bills and increasing legislative transparency.

Third, we think this measure can reduce the impacts of unfunded mandates.

Lastly, California’s current annual budget process is a disaster and has virtually no credibility. We think a two-year budget cycle will provide a more thoughtful and deliberate planning tool for state objectives, projects and services than the current one-year budget fiasco. The entire budgeting process needs to be reformed.

Proposition 31 is a move in the right direction, but certainly more work will need to be done.

PROPOSITION 32: Paycheck Protection Initiative YES

This would prohibit unions from using payroll deducted funds for political purposes. Applies the same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any by corporations and contractors. It permits voluntary contributions if authorized yearly in writing. The proposition prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. It prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officials and their committees. And allows propositions back on June primary ballots.

Propositions on California ballots are either initiated by or opposed by “special interest groups.” We like the idea that citizens, with reasonable restrictions, can participate financially in political campaigns and do so voluntarily.

Voters have this opportunity directly or through corporate, union, trade groups and special-interest group PACs. No employee or member should be forced to contribute to a political campaign that he or she does not personally support.

Detractors say this is the third time through for this idea, and it was easily defeated the first two times. They also maintain that the proposition is directed primarily at powerful unions that would be affected the most. Fair enough, but we should allow the liberty of choice to be the prevailing principle here. In a democracy, one voice in voluntary collection with others is the true voice of that group.

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