The following was posted by Dan Walters at the SacBee’s Capitol Alert.
The League of Women Voters, which was part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s coalition to pass redistricting reform last year, parted company with the governor today, declaring opposition to four of the six budget-related ballot measures he wants approved at the May 19 special election.
“We oppose these measures because they are not the solution to our long-term financial crisis, with the continuing structural deficit in the state budget and flawed budget process,” said Janis R. Hirohama, LWV president.
“We make this decision with regret. We would support real reform to make the state budget process more accountable and give the Legislature and governor effective tools to advance state priorities. However, these hurriedly drafted propositions, produced at the end of a flawed process that kept both the public and most legislators in the dark, will only make our fiscal situation worse.”
Proposition 1A, the linchpin of the package and Schwarzenegger’s pet proposal to place a rolling limit on state spending,drew particular scorn from the organization, which said, “Proposition 1A is touted by its proponents as the way to bring stability to the budget process. But what it will really do is tie the hands of the Legislature and governor as they face changing needs for state and local government services. It will keep them from taking into account the state’s changing demographics and growth in the actual cost of important services like health care.”
“Although some claim there is an urgency to pass Proposition 1A to resolve our state’s budget problems, we disagree,” said Hirohama. “Most of its provisions will not take effect for two years–two years that we should spend hammering out real solutions to our budget and fiscal challenges.”
The league opposed Propositions 1A, 1C, 1D and 1E. The latter three would authorizing borrowing against state lottery proceeds and tap money originally approved by voters for children’s programs and mental health. The organization did not oppose Proposition 1B, a measure to provide additional school financing in later years, but its enactment depends on passage of Proposition 1A. And it did not take a stand on Proposition 1F, which would deny salary increases to elected officials during budget deficits.
The league’s announcement came just as Schwarzenegger was touting the package before the prestigious Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
I would add that the League of Women Voters is one of the most influential endorsements in the state.