While Governor Jerry Brown has been thumping his chest over a number of reforms he supported that made it through the legislature in the last days of the session, we have yet to see him embrace some other major reforms that appear on the November ballot. Propositions 31 and 32 would be great strides in improving California’s governance system.
Proposition 31 reduces the influence of Sacramento over local governments to manage their affairs, improves oversight of government programs while altering the budget process and offers more powers to the governor to control spending during fiscal emergencies.
For a governor who made it his mission to clean up the state budget, support for Proposition 31 would seem a natural response.
And, for any governor or legislator who is frustrated with the undo influence of special interests in shaping and often demanding the direction lawmakers take because of their oversized financial influence on the political process, Proposition 32 should be embraced by the governor. Here’s a chance for him to stand with the little guys – small businesses and individual taxpayers who don’t have the influence of corporations and unions.
Why isn’t the governor making these measures part of his reform rhetoric?
The governor rightly takes credit for helping engineer a reform to the workers compensation system that prevented increases in businesses’ costs while at the same time providing more money for payment to injured workers. As someone who worked diligently on the workers comp reform in the first year of the Schwarzenegger administration, I believe this change to the law was important and necessary.
The governor also took a positive step in improving the state and local government pension system, although much more must be done. Californians now and in the future still live under massive pension obligations, part of the “Wall of Debt” the governor has described.
An embrace of Propositions 31 and 32 would reinforce the image Governor Brown hopes to create that he is reforming California’s government.