Tuesday May 19 2009
Voters just say no
By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
Only Proposition 1F wins approval
Tuesday’s statewide special election failed to energize voters and it remains to be seen whether it toughened resolve in the Legislature to solve California’s budget woes. As predicted, voters were few and far between at polling places and the ones that did were more apt to vote “no” on the six propositions. The measures would have created a state spending limit, repaid education funding, moved money from children’s and mental health programs to the general fund, and allowed borrowing from future estimated lottery revenues. The lone measure to gain enough support for passage was Prop. 1F. It would prevent lawmakers from taking pay raises during years the state runs a deficit. Assemblyman Ted Gaines, whose 4th District takes in Auburn, said that the vote sends a signal to legislators that the proposals, including extending a sales tax hike, a vehicle registration fee increase and income tax boost are unfair to taxpayers. “The budget needs to be controlled by cutting the fat in state government,” Gaines said. “We need to do the same things as families and businesses are doing. We need to tighten our belts and face the music by downsizing government to reflect reduced revenues.” Auburn’s Shannon Breckenridge said the results will hurt the state as it attempts to balance its budget. “People are saying they’re angry at their legislators,” Breckenridge said. “But I don’t understand the nay saying.” A teacher who sits on the Auburn Union School District budget committee, she said the district is past cutting expenditures to the bone. “I don’t know what more we can cut,” Breckenridge said. “It’s dire.” Auburn’s Ruben Littau said that he voted but wished the state elected officials had come up with their own solutions. The special election was called after a February budget pact between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislators to help stave off a $42 billion budget deficit through July 2010. “I’ve never been a fan of the initiative process,” Littau said. “I sincerely the elected representatives are elected to do the voting for us. If they don’t, we need to get new ones.” The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.