Tuesday, residents in Santa Clarita and throughout California will have a big say in how government is run.
Propositions 1A-1F offer a host of actions that propose raising taxes, modernizing the lottery, reallocating funding and halting pay raises for legislators in budget deficit years. All propositions aim to help reign in the state budget, which is facing down yet another shortfall.
Cuts were made to state services in February, along with a two-year sales tax increase with the intention of balance the budget, which has now become unstable again after revised revenue projections came out.
Some, like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, believe that the passing of these propositions will send a message to state legislators that the budget problems need to be addressed.
Others, like Our Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, hope that their “no” votes (on all but Proposition 1F) will send a message equally as powerful; that the state needs to address its issues by cuts, not tax increases.
Whichever way the vote goes, John Q Public will speak loudly in Tuesday’s election.
To find a polling place near you on Election Day, check out the state’s Polling Place Locator or call 1-800-345-VOTE.
Here’s a brief description of each proposition and its impacts from the California Secretary of State.
- Increases size of state “rainy day” fund from 5% to 12.5% of the General Fund.
- A portion of the annual deposits into that fund would be dedicated to savings for future economic downturns, and the remainder would be available to fund education, infrastructure, and debt repayment, or for use in a declared emergency.
- Requires additional revenue above historic trends to be deposited into state “rainy day” fund, limiting spending.
Prop 1A will increase the temporary sales tax increases through 2012.
- Requires supplemental payments to local school districts and community colleges to address recent budget cuts.
- Annual payments begin in 2011-12.
- Payments are funded from the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund until the total amount has been paid.
- Payments to local school districts will be allocated in proportion to average daily attendance and may be used for classroom instruction, textbooks and other local educational programs.
California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) predicts that if prop 1B is passed, it will save the state billions this year and next. It could, however, cost the state billions in sequential years thereafter. Prop 1B can only pass if 1A passes as well.
- Allows the state lottery to be modernized to improve its performance with increased payouts, improved marketing, and effective management.
- Requires the state to maintain ownership of the lottery and authorizes additional accountability measures.
- Protects funding levels for schools currently provided by lottery revenues.
- Increased lottery revenues will be used to address current budget deficit and reduce the need for additional tax increases and cuts to state programs.
Proposition 1C will allow for state borrowing against future lottery profits, including $5 billion to help this year’s budget.
- Provides more than $600 million to protect children’s programs in difficult economic times.
- Redirects existing tobacco tax money to protect health and human services for children, including services for at-risk families, services for children with disabilities, and services for foster children.
- Temporarily allows the redirection of existing money to fund health and human service programs for children 5 years old and under.
- Ensures counties retain funding for local priorities.
- Helps balance state budget.
California’s LAO describes the impacts of Prop 1D:
State General Fund savings of up to $608 million in 2009-10 and $268 million annually from 2010-11 through 2013-14, from temporarily redirecting a portion of funds from the California Children and Families Program in place of state General Fund support of health and human services programs for children up to age five.
Corresponding reductions in funding for early childhood development programs provided by the California Children and Families Program.
- Amends Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63 of 2004) to transfer funds, for a two-year period, from mental health programs under that act to pay for mental health services for children and young adults provided through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program.
- Provides more than $225 million in flexible funding for mental health programs.
- Helps balance state budget during this difficult economic time.
Prop 1E clears up about $230 million per year in the state’s general fund for the next two years. A loss of community mental health program funding during that time will occur.
- Encourages balanced state budgets by preventing elected Members of the Legislature and statewide constitutional officers, including the Governor, from receiving pay raises in years when the state is running a deficit.
- Directs the Director of Finance to determine whether a given year is a deficit year.
- Prevents the Citizens Compensation Commission from increasing elected officials’ salaries in years when the state Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties is in the negative by an amount equal to or greater than one percent of the General Fund.
California’s LAO claims that the savings would be minor during deficit years.
KHTS AM-1220 and hometownstation.com will be monitoring the state-wide propositions Tuesday and reporting the results.