No on Props 91, 92

One of the most unfortunate consequences of California’s initiative process is the tendency to pass measures that lock in state spending levels, making it increasingly difficult for the Legislature to adjust them to needs. Both of these measures would make the situation worse.

Proposition 91 would require that the sales tax on gasoline be used only on transportation. Not only is it bad public policy, it’s also duplicative: Voter approval of Proposition 1A in 2006 accomplished the same goal. Even the original authors of this measure are urging a no vote.

Proposition 92 also would lock in a spending formula, this one for community colleges, without creating a funding mechanism. Inevitably, the money would come out of other budgets, such as those of the state universities and the University of California, which is why their governing bodies oppose the measure.

California has the lowest community college fees in the country, as well as ample financial help for struggling students. It’s natural to desire a stable funding base, but the community colleges should work with, not against, the other higher-education systems and the Legislature.