Two-Thirds or Not Two Thirds – That is the Question

With the ever-vigilance of the right-wing scaring Republicans from looking into all solutions and, it looks like getting 2/3 for a revenue portion of the budget might be pretty challenging.  While I’m sure that Brown and the gang would love to get a few Republican votes, I doubt they will be holding their breaths on that.  It’s just impractical to expect the Republicans to do anything to help with the budget. And so, unsurprisingly, the Democratic leaders up in Sacramento are looking for ways to put revenue on the ballot sans a 2/3 vote.

Fortunately for us, Dan Walters has been hounding the Capitol and it seems that there are two possible roadmaps:

One [method] would be a section of the state constitution that allows the Legislature to propose amendments to previously approved statutory initiatives. In theory, therefore, the additional taxes could be framed as amendments to a previous tax measure, such as Steinberg’s own Proposition 63, which imposed an income tax surcharge on the rich for mental health programs.

Under this theory, the amendment would be passed in the Legislature’s special session on the budget and after a 90-day wait would be placed on a special election ballot.

The second potential pathway would be Proposition 25, enacted by voters last November. It reduces the legislative vote on budgets from two-thirds to a simple majority and also applies the lower vote margin to measures needed to implement the budget, called trailer bills in Capitol jargon. (SacBee)

Either method would certainly attract the attention of lawyers from the immovable Right. Given the timeline, the courts would either have to act upon this very quickly, or we could be looking at some logistical nightmares.  At this point, time is certainly of the essence.

I’m not sure which method they’ll turn to, and at this point, I’m sure there are legal minds better than mine analyzing the question. However, stay tuned here, we’ll try to get some more details on these questions as the process moves forward.

5 thoughts on “Two-Thirds or Not Two Thirds – That is the Question”

  1. I know it takes time and money. All the more reason to start right now to collect signatures to put this on the ballot. Between the California Democratic Party, labor unions, and other allied groups, we ought to be able to collect the signatures we need to qualify this in time. If we start now.

    It’s an option I’ve heard few people talk about. But it also has the added bonus of showing the people of California care about funding vital citizen services.

  2. The Republicans won’t budge on taxes

    It would be political suicide if the crazies opposed your re-election

    Use the amendment route and get this going

    I’ve already contacted my reps (Assmby Tom Ammiano and Sen Mark Leno) web sites and asked them to fully support Gov Jerry Brown

    Otherwise, they might revert ot ‘smoke and mirrors’ in balancing the budget (see: selling state office buildings)

    The Sac Bee also reports that redevelopment agencies are speeding up the approval of projects before Jerry can take their money away.  Wouldn’t you know it ??

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