A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

2/3 budget rule = 1/3 tyranny

I've been talking about the problems with the current 1A-1F propositions on the ballot for the May 19 special election.

The real underlying problem with our state budget is that unlike 47 out of 50 states, our state needs a 2/3 supermajority to pass a budget. Although this seems like a good idea on the surface, that it would build consensus, it just doesn't make sense when there are such strong ideological differences for which a consensus can never be reached. Fifty percent majority thresholds exist for a reason! So each cycle, the Democrats (who have a comfortable majority in both state houses) have to work to try to get just a few Republicans to cross party lines to make a budget that covers things like, you know, education, health care, salaries for state workers, and so forth.

I mentioned a while ago that our Senator, Loni Hancock, introduced SCA5, which would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to fix the problem. It just needs to get some more traction to get passed by the legislature — but will that happen? If you have California friends outside of our district, try to get them to get their state senator to support SCA5.

Here's Hancock talking about the issue. This is an excerpt (hat tip to Calitics and Josh Richman) of a video documenting an Oakland School's bicycle trek to Sacramento to raise awareness of the issue. Watch this two-minute excerpt here:


Blogger Michael Krueger said...

Do you know if this bill affects only the 2/3 requirement to pass a budget, or if it also covers the 2/3 requirement to pass taxes?

I read an opinion piece on the California Progress Report's Web site that makes what sounds like a strong case against any attempt to reform the budget majority requirement without simultaneously tackling the tax majority requirement:

http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2009/03/budget_reform_b.htmlI'm curious about whether you agree with the author's analysis.

1:33 PM  
Blogger A Progressive Alamedan said...

Very interesting! No I had not heard about those two pieces being separate but interlocked. I'll look around for some information....

1:38 PM  
Blogger A Progressive Alamedan said...

Michael, I asked around and the general consensus that I got is that yes, both halves need to be dealt with but it's better to pursue one objective at a time.

1:30 PM  

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