Bond Debt, Budget Rule Changes Wouldn’t Help
A vote in favor of Proposition 57 amounts to an exercise in fiscal irresponsibility. If you are up to your eyeballs in debt, you don’t dispose of it by taking out a consolidation loan. That is precisely what Proposition 57 amounts to -- a $15-billion consolidation loan. By approving this measure, Californians will remove all pressure for the governor and Legislature to engage in meaningful revenue reform: removal of corporate property from Proposition 13 protection, making the wealthiest among us pay their fair share of taxes and aggressively pursuing the billions that President Bush’s Texas energy friends extorted during the manufactured energy crisis.
I don’t know how many Californians would have voted for our governor if he had disclosed this folly during the campaign. Now that we know, just say no.
Ernest A. Canning
George Skelton’s belief that the current California budget process is dysfunctional is right on target, but his advocacy of Proposition 56 as a solution is far off the mark (Feb. 12). Massive budget deficits and gridlock occurred during Gov. Gray Davis’ term even though the required two-thirds legislative approval of a state budget or tax increase forced compromise. Proposition 56 would require a 55% vote for budget approval and would withhold legislators’ pay for late budget passage.
The cost of these changes would be to facilitate spending and tax increases; the benefit would be to potentially reduce gridlock. Unfortunately, the cost far outweighs the benefit. A better solution would be to leave the approval requirement intact and revert to the prior year’s budget (adjusted for inflation and population change) if an on-time budget is not passed.
Thomas R. Damiani
What is really being said in Proposition 56 is: Legislators, take the path of least resistance and balance the budget with higher taxes or you will be penalized. The two-thirds requirement for such will no longer be an excuse not to. No on Proposition 56!