TAX INITIATIVE BREAK-DOWN IN SACRAMENTO
Three of California’s budget initiatives took center stage at a hearing at the state capitol. The Assembly budget committee heard from supporters and opponents of the initiatives- propositions thirty, thirty-one and thirty-eight. Budget committee chair Bob Blumenfield says the hearing is one way to help both legislators and voters better understand the complicated ballot initiatives.
“The ballot is full of complicated propositions but one of the good things about holding a public hearing, such as this is that we can vet it,” Blumenfield said, “ we can have focus on both sides, talk about it, and do that, and go through a process where we can dig a little deeper than you will if you watch the commercials and sound bites. Here we can get into the substance.”
Today’s hearing focused on proposition 31, which would create a package of budget and legislative reforms and on the two big tax initiatives, propositions thirty and thirty-eight, both of which are tied to funding education in the state.
The California legislature is currently out of session, but some lawmakers did convene at the state capitol today. Proposition thirty-one, which calls for a series of reforms, including a requirement that legislative bills be made public for three days before lawmakers can vote on them. And it would create a switch from an annual to a two-year budget cycle.
"It’s really common sense,” said Jim Mayer, the Executive Director of California Forward. “Budget reforms to try to create a much more stable process for Californians and one Californian’s can trust. Right now, most Californians think government wastes a lot of their money and this could create the kind of focus on performance and transparency that the public is asking for.”
But opponents claim the bill is too confusing. They also say the two-year budget cycle is a good idea, in theory.
"Two-year budget process is good,” said Lenny Goldberg, the Executive Director of the California Tax Reform Association. “The reality is it doesn’t do anything because we’ve had six-month budgets. We keep getting into crisis, we keep amending, keep going back. So it’s a very nice concept. I would support that concept. In reality, it’s not very meaningful. The questions for this initiative is are the flaws greater than the benefits.”
Just twenty-five percent of likely voters say they’d vote for the bill, according to a recent poll by the public policy institute of California. Forty-two percent were against. The rest were undecided.