(image: Wikimedia Commons)
Hyper-partisanship has been the de facto standard in American politics over the past few decades, with the advent of ubiquitous online media and slanted 24 hour news channels over the past 10 years or so throwing gasoline on an already healthy flame.
California has been no exception. Only through voter-approved reforms specifically aimed at loosening partisan gridlock was the Legislature able to focus on long term solutions and pass on-time budgets.
It’s safe to say that Democrats and Republicans, business and labor, pro-industry and environmentalist…you name it, the disparate viewpoints on what is best for the future of the Golden State have had a hard time agreeing on what big, systemic changes to make.
So it’s noteworthy then, when a measure is placed on the November ballot by a unanimous bipartisan vote of the State Legislature, when it’s endorsed by both state parties, every single editorial board to speak on the matter so far, counties from north to south, and by other organizations across the ideological spectrum.
That measure is Proposition 2.
Even the word “proposition” probably carries a certain contentious connotation in the minds of California voters. Just the mere mention of “Prop 13” or “Prop 8” or “Prop 30” can make people in certain circles bristle.
But this measure is different not just in its bipartisan origins, but in the philosophy that is its backbone. It’s an admission that the Great Recession coupled with California’s hyper-volatile, income tax dependent revenue structure exposed flaws in the state’s budgeting and fiscal planning that were as glaring as the situation was dire. Not one area was left untouched when cuts had to be made to shore up a $26 billion budget shortfall.
That made for the unique circumstances we find ourselves in now. Although we sit in a current boom where tax revenues are exceeding expectations and many funding cuts are being restored, there is near widespread recognition of the need for a different approach to handling the perpetual cycle of booms and busts.
Proposition 2 makes several meaningful changes to better prepare California for the next, inevitable economic downturn. It would require state leaders to set aside some of the additional money that rolls in during good years to help cushion the blow when (not if) the next downturn hits. During economic booms, these spikes can generate as much as $4 billion in one-time revenue.
Proposition 2 captures those spikes, doubles the size of California’s rainy day fund and accelerates paying down the state’s “wall of debt”. It also bars lawmakers from tapping reserve funds unless a fiscal emergency is declared just in case that extra cash starts burning a hole in any pockets up in Sacramento.
It boils down to common sense management of finances that any normal household practices. It’s why the editorial boards of the following newspapers have endorsed Proposition 2:
- The Sacramento Bee
- San Francisco Chronicle
- Orange County Register
- San Jose Mercury News
- U-T San Diego
- Los Angeles Times
- Santa Rosa Press Democrat
- Contra Costa Times
- Milipitas Post
- Riverside Press-Enterprise
- Fresno Bee
- The Malibu Times
- Monterey County Herald
- Victorville Daily Press
- San Diego CityBeat
In addition to broad regional support from newspapers, Proposition 2 has garnered the support of organizations who traditionally have ideologically disparate views of California, but have agreed on the need for Proposition 2:
- California Democratic Party
- California Republican Party
- California Chamber of Commerce
- League of Women Voters of California
- California State Assoc. of Counties
- California Farm Bureau Federation
- Bay Area Council
- League of California Cities
- Western Growers
- State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
- Rural County Representatives of California
- Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
- Fullerton Chamber of Commerce
- San Diego County Taxpayers Association
Democratic Party of
- Sacramento County
- Butte County
- Fresno County
- San Fernando Valley
- San Diego County
- Los Angeles County
Republican Party of
- San Diego County
- Nevada County
- San Francisco
If you would like to learn more about Proposition 2 in depth, please visit the California Forward Action Fund.