Gov. George Deukmejian said Friday that he will oppose six initiatives on the June 7 primary ballot, including both measures to raise the state's spending limit and two others aimed at limiting campaign contributions.
Deukmejian's opposition to Propositions 71 and 72, the spending-limit measures, ended speculation in the Capitol that his long-held support of the limit might be tempered by the current budget crisis.
Raising the spending cap would give Deukmejian more flexibility in dealing with a drop of as much as $1 billion in income tax revenues.
But the Republican governor, in a statement released by his office, argued that the state budget has more than doubled since 1979 and will double again over the next 10 years even with the current limit.
Spending Limit 'Reasonable'
He reiterated a long-held conviction that the spending limit, approved by voters in 1979, is "reasonable."
Powerful political coalitions are backing the two initiatives. Proposition 71, which would base budget increases on more liberal growth indexes, is being sponsored by state Supt. of Public Instruction Bill Honig and a host of education and political action groups. They claim that the inflation and population indexes in the current formula are outdated and do not reflect actual costs of providing government services.
The rival measure, Proposition 72, is being backed by anti-tax crusader Paul Gann, the author of the original 1979 spending limit measure, along with Orange County real estate developers and highway construction interests. The measure, in addition to allowing more government spending, would earmark a share of existing sales tax revenues for highway construction projects. Budget analysts said passage of the measure would mean other state programs would be cut $200 million next year.
Honig, reacting to the governor's announcement, criticized Deukmejian's position on Proposition 71, saying the spending limit could require deep budget cuts in the future unless changed. "I don't think voters of the state want to cut back on existing services," Honig said.
Gann, a Republican and supporter of Deukmejian's, said, "I am not going to argue the case with the governor."
Deukmejian, by bucking Gann's plan to provide extra financing for highways, committed himself exclusively to Proposition 74, the $1-billion transportation funding bond issue he is sponsoring.
In attacking the campaign funding measures, Propositions 68 and 73, Deukmejian argued that they would give incumbents clear advantages.
The governor previously had expressed opposition to Proposition 68, which would limit legislative candidates' contributions and expenditures, authorize partial public financing of campaigns, ban the transfer of funds among legislative candidates and prohibit contributions in non-election years.
As for Proposition 73, which would establish limits on candidates for both state and local offices but prohibit public financing of campaigns, Deukmejian said the measure "would protect incumbents from lesser-known challengers by placing undue restrictions on the ability of candidates to raise and spend funds and wage effective campaigns."
Deukmejian also said he opposes Proposition 69, a measure sponsored by political extremist Lyndon LaRouche that would require people who have AIDS or who are capable of spreading it to be reported to the state Department of Health Services.
In opposing Proposition 70, a $776-million parks bond initiative, Deukmejian is bucking numerous Republican and Democratic officeholders who are supporting the measure.
Other measures supported by the Republican governor include Proposition 66, which would require the election of county assessors in all counties, and Proposition 67, the measure that would increase the minimum prison term for people convicted of second-degree murder of a peace officer.
Four bond measures that earlier received the governor's blessing also got his formal endorsement.
These include two bond proposals he is sponsoring--Proposition 74, the $1-billion transportation funding measure, and Proposition 75, which would provide $800 million to construct or improve school buildings.
The two other measures getting the governor's backing are Proposition 76, which would provide an additional $510 million to the state's Cal-Vet mortgage program to provide subsidized home and farm mortgages to California veterans, and Proposition 77, which would make $150 million available for earthquake safety improvements and housing rehabilitation.