An epic fail

We’re hearing from reputable sources that failure to pass at least most of the special-election budget package will result in California’s insolvency. It’s a terrifying thought, but we’re not so stricken that we’re willing to surrender common sense and responsibility. We certainly don’t want California to “drive off the cliff.” But we simply can’t support proposals that reinforce our state’s long history of financial juggling, borrowing and deficit spending.

While there are some good elements in the package of measures voters face on the May 19 ballot—particularly, increased car license fees (which we think should go to support roads, public transport, clean-air initiatives and research into alternate fuels) and docking lawmakers’ pay in the absence of a budget—as a whole, the package is, as we say on the Internet, an epic fail.

The Legislature and the governor failed, once again, to enact (or even suggest) the sort of major reforms our state needs to survive and thrive. Instead, they offer more of the same: timid tax increases, budgeting by ballot measure, moving funds from one budget pot (already voter-approved) to another.

We need to revamp our tax system (including a serious revision of Proposition 13, while retaining protections for elderly and low-income homeowners), to eliminate the two-thirds vote requirement for budgets and to reform the initiative system (no paid signature gatherers) so that it returns to the populist alternative it once was, instead of remaining the big-money end-run around the Legislature that it has become.

In short, we need change that these ballot measures do not create. SN&R urges a “no” vote on measures 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F.

Send our elected officials back to work, and this time, maybe they can get it right.