Monday, May 18, 2009
This story from The Economist has a nice summary of the six ballot initiatives that California voters will decide on tomorrow. The situation is comical when viewed in these terms.
Of course, it probably won't be that funny come Wednesday morning if massive ad campaigns fail to turn things around, presenting the state with a $6 billion larger budget gap than the one legislators were counting on when an agreement was finally reached in February.
Then again, considering that the state is falling further behind at a rate of somewhere around $3 billion a month, in the scheme of things, the extra $6 billion may not be that significant.
The LA Times reports that Gubernator Arnold Schwarzenegger is out pressing the flesh in the run up to tomorrow's special election, hoping to avoid the dubious distinction of confirming what much of the rest of the country already knows - without either a technology bubble or a housing bubble, the state is ungovernable and completely dysfunctional.
Battling anger and indifference on the part of California voters, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger implored them Sunday not to make the state "the poster child for dysfunction" by defeating a host of measures on Tuesday's ballot that seek to restructure the state's bleak finances.Perhaps lawmakers would meet with greater success with their many ballot initiatives if they would swiftly move to divide the state up into three parts as suggested by the curent electoral map - liberal West California, conservative East California, and the greater Los Angeles area that would become liberal Southern California, as long as the folks in conservative Orange County don't mind being part of East California.
"We are at a crossroads," he told congregants at West Angeles Church of God in Christ. "Do we want to go . . . down the road of financial disaster or do we want to go and get up, dust ourselves off and slowly march back toward prosperity? That is the question on Tuesday."
The propositions not only have been complicated for voters to understand but also fragmented the state's typical electoral architecture. Republicans were forced to choose whether a spending cap that they have long sought outweighed a temporary extension of taxes. Democrats were pinched between a spending cap they have abhorred and the fact that if it fails, the money taken in the past from education would not be repaid. Labor groups that have marched in lock step for years, often against Schwarzenegger, were suddenly split, with many of the more prominent ones allied with their former foe.
Chart courtesy of The California Minority Report.