California has an important special election coming up in just a few weeks. After a lengthy struggle over how to fill the state's immense budget gap, a compromise was reached when legislative leaders and the Governor agreed to place on the ballot a measure to cap state spending growth (using a formula based on inflation and population growth).
The most recent numbers suggest, however, that Californians aren't enamored with the idea, and for good reason.
As Jean Ross of the California Budget Project (CBP) put it, "Though touted as 'reform,' Proposition 1A does nothing to address the fact that the revenues raised by our state's tax system are insufficient to fund our current programs and services, much less the level that Californians want and expect... By adding more formulas on top of the state's already hamstrung budget, Proposition 1A will make it even more difficult to balance future budgets." Instead, as Ross points out, California's budget problems would be better addressed through a modernized tax system, and an elimination of the requirement that two-thirds of the legislature approve any tax increase -- an idea that has steadily been picking up some support.