Dressing Up A Dog: Prop 1A

( – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

I’m quite proud to be working for the No on Prop 1A campaign. More details about that here.

The Yes on Prop 1A campaign has a daunting task in trying to get the voters of California to support the Frankensteinian creation that is Prop 1A.  After all, support is hovering around 29% now. So, like I did with Squirrel in her Darth Vader costume, the Prop 1A campaign is trying to do with their dog.

Let’s start at the top: Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a meeting with the Bay Area Council, yesterday said this:

“We are one of the only state’s that don’t have a rainy day fund… so Prop 1A [will be a historic reform if it passes.]”

Except, wait, where have I heard that? Right, that was in the ballot argument for Prop 58 (PDF):

WILL require general funds to be put in a “Rainy Day” fund to build a RESERVE to protect California from future economic downturns. The Budget Stabilization Account will also be used to pay off the California Economic Recovery Bond early;

Wow, how quickly Arnold forgets his own propositions.  It’s easy, I suppose, when they have been spectacularly unsuccessful.

And then there’s the ads.  The Budget Reform Now Committee, that would be the Yes on 1A-F campaign in campaign-speak, released an ad for the teevee. I enjoy that on their web page (and in any YouTube embed), the ad is up there with a one star rating. As for the content of the ad, it is, shall we say, only honest in a way that a political consultant could love. You can peep the whole ad, in all its widescreen glory, over the flip.

The ad is just about as confusing as the measure itself, which is saying quite a bit. For example, the actor in the ad says that “Prop 1A will give us budget stability.” Beyond the fact that we’ve heard that one before, oh, about four years ago with Props 57 & 58, there is the troubling matter of the huge structural budget deficit that Prop 1A leaves in its wake.  

According to the California Budget Project’s report on Prop 1A (PDF), the projected revenue cap will be $16 billion lower than the Governor’s “baseline” spending in 2010-2011, followed by $17 and $21 billion in the next two years. Thus, we’ll have to either raise taxes or decrease spending. That’s hardly the stability we need.

Or how about the somewhat audacious claim that Prop 1A will “help hold the line on higher taxes.”  While I’m not one to concern myself with that particular issue, the claim is deceptive at best.  Ignoring the extended sales tax for the out years, if Prop 1A does anything, it encourages taxes.  The most efficient way of resetting the cap is to, drumroll please, raise taxes.

This ad does its best to dress up a dog, but Californians are saying that this dog just won’t hunt.