We’re 90-days from the November 4, 2008 General Election. Three months. Who knows, maybe California will have a budget by then.
As the Governor and Legislators debate the right mix of tax increases and spending cuts, the overwhelming majority of voters have no idea about what or whom – aside from Obama versus McCain – will appear on the November ballot.
Voters need to begin educating themselves about the 12 – yep, a full dozen – ballot measures that have already qualified for the General Election ballot. There are some usual suspects – repeater initiatives that appear every year – which also means that they fail every year. And, there are some truly creative ones…the one about the treatment of farm animals being my favorite. Here’s a quick analysis.
Three socially charged measures will appear on the ballot. Prop. 2, treatment of farm animals, reads like it was put on the ballot by an odd collection of vegetarians and PETA-types. On its face, it sounds horrible for California business and could create a public health nightmare. Prop. 4, waiting period and parental notification for minors seeking an abortion, shows up on the ballot yet again. Every year, this measure qualifies. Every year it fails. Give up already! And, Prop. 8, limits on marriage, is an initiative made all the more controversial given the California Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage earlier this year. This initiative will likely be the most expensive of all 12 fall ballot measures.
Aside from these three socially “hot” initiatives and some less-than-interesting crime measures, four propositions – one-third – are bonds.
Our Legislators and Governor are addicted to bonds, in part because they can tout accomplishments in the near-term, without having to pay for anything until much later. However, California has grossly abused its bonding privileges, particularly within the last five years.
What’s really disturbing is that these four November bond measures, if approved, would saddle future Californians with a whopping $16.830 billion in additional indebtedness. Taken separately, each of these ballot measures espouses a worthy cause – high-speed rail, hospital bonds, alternative fuel vehicles and renewable energy bonds, and bonds for veterans…but together, the total dollar amount is bitter pill to swallow.
Last, but certainly not least, is the ever-controversial redistricting measure. This will be the subject of another Fox and Hounds post…but Prop. 11 has all the makings of a great soap opera.
Information overload? Yes. Bond overload? Definitely. Voters beware. Get educated early for the November ballot. After all, we will not have to pay off this debt, but by bonding so heavily now, we’re saddling future generations with billions in repayment (principal plus interest)…and, ultimately, higher taxes. No good can come of that.