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California's proposition 25 changes the requirement for budget approval by the state assembly and state senate. Instead of a two-thirds majority, only 50%+1 of state senators and representatives will be needed in order to pass a budget. (See the current results for this and the other California propositions in the Sacramento Bee report on election results.)

It remains to be seen what the impact will be on the budget as a whole, since tax increases still require a two-thirds vote. However, it seems likely that a Democratic governor and a Democratic state legislature will have a bit easier task in making the budget balance. They should be able to protect the most vulnerable Californians, and hopefully the budget cuts to education will not get deeper over time.

As Tom Fudge wrote for KPBS online, "the days of holding up the budget process with endless gridlock in the Legislature appear to be over."

Fudge also expresses the hope that "the reality of Prop. 25 will force Republicans to become more mainstream and fight for that political middle."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out once the Citizens' Redistricting Commission completes its work next September 15. When the lines for state legislative seats are redrawn, we may see changes in the balance of power as gerrymandering is undone.

As the political director for the California Federation of Teachers notes in the San Francisco Chronicle, the passage of proposition 25 "will change the entire dynamics of the state capital.... No longer will the few have the power to hold up the budget."

Closed-door meetings of the "big 5" (the governor plus the majority and minority leaders of the state house and senate) will hopefully come to an end. Budgets will be passed by June 30, so that state agencies, public colleges and universities, and public schools will have a clear sense of their funding levels for the upcoming fiscal year.

The uncertainty of budgets for schools has been particularly difficult, since school districts are required to approve budgets on time, even if the state has not done so. As a result, districts have had to make decisions based on the most conservative of projections. Once a state budget is approved in late September (last year) or early October (this year), it is difficult to adjust school budgeting, since classes are already underway.

Ideally, the passage of proposition 25 will help put an end to budget cliffhangers in California.

Originally posted to Ms Citizen on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 11:17 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good point. This IS big. (9+ / 0-)

    Not quite as big as replacing the 2/3 on tax hikes rule would be, but this cannot be seen as anything but DAMN GOOD NEWS.

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 11:28:02 AM PDT

    •  It's going to help Jerry Brown (8+ / 0-)

      get this state back on a sane track.

      That is very good news, especially after our string of Republican governorss, who with the help of the 2/3rds rule put this state into the ditch.

      Californians recalled Gray Davis. Now they disapprove of Ahhnold even more.

      Oops.

      But this gives Jerry the chance to shine once again. If he can turn things around, the Democrats finally will get the credit.

      (wellll, maybe that's going too far. only republicans get credit and take no blame. but still, this is good.)

      Every successful revolution puts on in time the robes of the tyrant it has deposed.--Barbara Tuchman

      by Fonsia on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 11:36:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd also like to see the other 2/3rds rule ended (6+ / 0-)

      However,the budget rule needed to be fixed first. The budget process was so screwed up with unrealistic "fixes" and papered over cracks (because real budgets are painful and impossible to achieve with a 2/3 majority) that increased revenue would have made no difference. We'd still have run deficits, just on a larger baseline budget.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 11:41:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  26 also won, and put a 2/3 requirement in for (0+ / 0-)

    fees on polluters.  Bah.

    So right now, if the legislature needs to raise taxes as part of the budget, can that be done with a majority vote or do they need 2/3?  

    •  2/3 majority vote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      geejay, FarWestGirl

      but that's not a change. That's been true since 1978 and Prop 13. The "fees" thing is just a loophole that the legislature has been exploiting because it didn't have any other way to raise revenue once raising taxes (defined as such) was essentially off the table.

      Despite California's high tax reputation, taxes haven't been raised here in decades, with the sole exception of cigarette taxes and the 1% surtax on people making over $1 million/year, and those two were passed by voter initiative, not the legislature.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 12:01:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it needs 2/3 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bosdcla14, Albanius, FarWestGirl

      we're still in an awful trap, but a slightly less insane one than before. if dems are smart, they'll make sure the cuts in the all-cuts budgets they'll have to pass will be concentrated in districts of legislators who vote against tax hikes. you want a small government? have at it.

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 12:02:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Frankly, the small government whackos DO have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl

        one legitimate gripe. Unfunded mandates from Sacramento have come all too close to bankrupting some of the smaller counties. They simply don't have the money to pay for them. It's all very well for the wealthy and populous urban counties, but the rural hinterlands don't have much of a tax base. I would call myself very liberal, but it simply isn't fair to balance the budget by shifting costs from the state onto the backs of counties that don't have the money.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 12:09:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  coming from a small rural county that votes D (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftist vegetarian patriot

          i agree, if those counties are smart enough to fess up to their dependence on state subsidies. if they elect republicans who promise to cut state funding, OTOH, let them taste a bit of their own medicine. i'm also in favor of giving said rural pols a long lead time to come to their senses on taxes and the budget before dropping the hammer on their pet projects.

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 01:53:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  plus, the state keeps taking money back (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftist vegetarian patriot

          from counties, to balance the state budget.

          Not cool!

          •  I think it would be possible for a Democrat (0+ / 0-)

            to run with a credible chance of winning in some of those red counties if he or she conveyed a believable sense of outrage about this. I lived in some of those places for many years and the pervasive sense of the residents was that Democrats in Sacramento simply didn't care about the issue.

            My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
            --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

            by leftist vegetarian patriot on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:40:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  That's an excellent idea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl

        If the righties regarding government spending as such an evil, we'll keep it away from them.  

  •  Can somebody please help me understand prop 25? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftist vegetarian patriot

    Apparently my 2nd cousin (a right wing loony from orange county) saw on my facebook page that I was going to vote yes on prop 25. She told her father, who then called my grandmother, who then called me to implore me not to vote for prop 25. According to her, if prop 25 passed, her property taxes would skyrocket.

    Um, as far as I can tell prop 25 doesn't have anything to do with raising property taxes.

    So, does prop 25 have anything innately to do with property taxes, or is raising property taxes just a red herring?

    •  No, it has nothing to do with property taxes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CSPAN Junkie

      Because the idea underlying Prop 25 is so popular (simple majority vote to pass state budget, not a 2/3 majority), the opponents have resorted to simple lies.

      They claim that language within the proposition will allow the legislature to raise taxes with a simple majority. Currently, because of Prop 13 in 1978, it takes a 2/3 majority for the California legislature to raise taxes as well, which is why it hasn't done so in decades. The last two statewide tax increases were Prop 10 (cigarette tax) and Prop 63 (1% surtax on income tax of people making in excess of $1 million/year) and both of those were voter-passed initiatives.

      Here is the language opponents point to:

      (e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or of this Constitution, the budget bill and other bills providing for appropriations related to the budget bill may be passed in each house by rollcall vote entered in the journal, a majority of the membership concurring, to take effect immediately upon being signed by the Governor or upon a date specified in the legislation.

      This is legislative boilerplate that is common to many initiatives. There is other language in the initiative that explicitly states that this initiative will not allow taxes to be raised with a simple majority:

      SEC. 3. Purpose and Intent.

      1. The people enact this measure to end budget delays by changing the legislative vote necessary to pass the budget from two-thirds to a majority vote and by requiring legislators to forfeit their pay if the Legislature fails to pass the budget on time.
      1. This measure will not change Proposition 13’s property tax limitations in any way. This measure will not change the two-thirds vote requirement for the Legislature to raise taxes.

      With the language above, there is no way that the courts could rule that the intent of the people voting for this initiative could in any way be interpreted as allowing the legislature to raise taxes by a simple majority. Your relative has nothing to worry about.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 05:21:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Incidentally, I did not mean to imply your family (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CSPAN Junkie

        was intentionally misleading you, but that they had themselves been mislead. The text of Prop 25, should you wish to see it, is here, starting on page 113 (22 of 30 in the pdf document).

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 05:30:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you very much (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftist vegetarian patriot

          I'm sure I wasn't being intentionally mislead; I've just got a large family, many of whom have been brain washed. I even told my grandma that her sister's family is nuts and not to listen to a word they say. I wonder where they even got that idea in the first place. Right wing radio no doubt.

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