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This is the first part of a series of posts analyzing California'™s propositions.

California's Budget Problems

Proposition 30 is the most important proposition on the ballot this year.

More below.


California, as is well known, has a big budget problem. This problem started with the onset of the economic recession and was worsened by a number of factors, ranging from extreme constraints on the legislature'™s power to Arnold Schwarzenegger'™s incompetence.

Things have gotten better lately. Schwarzenegger has been replaced with a governor who knows what he's doing. The two-thirds supermajority requirement to pass a budget, which was responsible for much of the deadlock, no longer exists.

There are still big problems, however. California has implemented massive spending cuts to balance the budget. Program after program has been cut to the bone. Worse still, the state seems poised to cut far more if this proposition fails to pass.

Take the University of California system:


Since 2008, budget cuts have forced these universities to raise fees by more than 40%, compared with a national average of 15%. If Proposition 30 fails to pass, fees will be raised by 20% more still.

Why is this happening? It's because the legislature has its hands tied. There are two ways to balance the budget: increase revenue and cut spending. California requires a two-thirds supermajority to do the former, and Republicans have consistently blocked revenue increases. So California has been left to cut, and cut, and cut.

Now, in general you should focus on cutting spending rather than increasing revenue to balance the budget. But California has taken it way too far. We have basically done nothing but cut and cut for nearly half a decade, without any revenue increases. There'™s basically nothing left to cut at this point. But if Proposition 30 doesn'™t pass the state will be looking once again for billions more to cut ($5.951 billion more, to be exact).

What Proposition 30 Does

Proposition 30 comes four years too late, but it'™s still very necessary today.

Yes, Proposition 30 is a temporary tax increase. It falls mainly on families making over $500,000 -“ but the sales tax will increase as well. The sales tax increase lasts for four years; the income tax increase for seven.

But the truth is that in a budget crisis, eventually somebody will get hurt. If it'™s not families making over $500,000 it'™ll be students and teachers and policemen and firefighters. For almost half a decade, budget cuts have again and again shafted these people. If Proposition 30 fails, they'™ll be hit once again. If Proposition 30 passes, the pain will shift to families making over $500,000.

I endorse this proposition knowing that I will sacrifice a bit. Many Californians (perhaps the majority) will vote against this proposition because of this fact. But it's not as if they're dodging the pain by voting against Proposition 30. They'™re just shifting it to their children.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    by Inoljt on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 11:12:21 PM PDT

  •  The cuts that will come if this fails will hit the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, beka, mkor7, wu ming

    Helpless the hardest.  Massive cuts to the safety net, including the disabled.  Ugh. It would really help to either get a 2/3s majority in the legislature or pass a bypass to prop 13.  A terrible law.

  •  I have to vote no, CA has very high taxes(if you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are not a homeowner).  They have to fix what they spend money on....prisons.  What a waste of resources.  They shifted money from education to prisons.  The universities spent their money on buildings and not students. They need to fix prop 13 and they need to reign in the profligate university administrations more interested in building monuments to themselves then educating students.   Nope giving them more money papers over the problems.  

    •  you are no liberal (0+ / 0-)

      if you make more than $250,000 ($500,000 household) and are still so upset about paying taxes that you're willing to shitcan both k-12 and the UC/CSU systems over a tantrum about prisons and administrative salaries.

      you're a republican posing as a liberal, if you seriously believe what you wrote, and you're not fooling anyone.

      •  BS....I just came from state that had NO income (0+ / 0-)

        tax and we funded our schools just fine.  We had a reasonable real estate taxes.  CA needs to fix it's Corporate and Real Estate taxes.  While high income people will get taxed, doesn't it also raise sales taxes which are extremely regressive?

        •  if you are willing to vote to crash the budget (0+ / 0-)

          and take down social services, k-12 and higher education out of some "look over there!" handwaving bullshit, you are not a liberal.

          at least have the decency to own up to your not giving a shit about the people your vote will undoubtedly hurt, and call yourself a republican.

          if you want to fix prop 13, the UC system's administration, and the prison system, then work to get that through the next legislature. voting to gut the budget, which cannot be passed with any other form of revenue because of the 2/3 tax rule, at this juncture is republicanism in deed, whatever the platitudes you mouth.

          that's my tuition and my daughter's elementary school you're voting to fuck up.

          •  Be serious CA K-12 have been a disaster (0+ / 0-)

            since the 1960's.   The average CA that is NOT a homeowner is seriously overtaxed.  The honest measure to put on the ballot is a property owner levy for businesses and homeowners.  It is where there is money and normally how schools and services are funded and if they are serious about equity, it is what they would do.  Sales taxes are extremely regressive and considering how high the cost of gasoline is, another regressive tax is more than most people can bear.  

            •  you know what's going to be hard to bear? (0+ / 0-)

              another 20% jump in tuition, another round of teachers laid off, neighborhood schools closed down, my daughter in an elementary school class with 40 kids, and another round of checks written just to bail out our local school district, and a regional economy pushed deeper into the mud by slashing social services and laying off state workers, which means another tax shortfall and more goddamned cuts.

              that's going to fucking suck, and it's going to be a hell of a lot more goddamned hard to bear than a quarter percent sales tax increase.

              all we have on this ballot, right now, is prop 30. if you shoot that down, with no other alternative already in place, you fuck this state and its residents over badly, and you wreck my family finances.

              all so you can posture about how you'd rather do it in some magical california where the state legislature runs with simple majorities and the republican party doesn't exist and all the goddamned theft from education to cover the bills over the past decade didn't happen.

              you are not a liberal. you're a goddamned republican.have the decency to be honest about it.

            •  and for what it's worth i'm not a homeowner (0+ / 0-)

              and i pay way the fuck more in fees and costs related to all this goddamned austerity than i have ever paid in taxes.

    •  I definitely respect your opinion. (0+ / 0-)

      They're probably a lot of Californians holding the same views.

      I do hope that you change it, though, and I don't think that wu ming's commentary is very helpful in making you do that.

      by Inoljt on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 08:46:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just moved back to CA after having been just a (0+ / 0-)

        visitor for many years.  What an awful mess this state is.  The roads are awful, Bart is about to fall apart, the universities are seriously underfunded.  I just cannot figure out what happened to all the money, the only thing people keep saying is proposition 13 destroyed the budget.  I understand the recession but the boom from the 90's and 2000's should have built a world class infrastructure and schools.  Where in the heck did all the money go?

        •  Well, all I can say is that (0+ / 0-)

          the roads will get worse, BART will fall apart more, and the universities will be even more underfunded if Proposition 30 isn't approved.

          California does have world class universities, for what it's worth.

          by Inoljt on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 11:29:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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