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Trillian's avatar

Can anyone explain California's Proposition 25?

Asked by Trillian (21106points) September 19th, 2010

I’ve seen some strangely worded expanations but this one takes the biscuit. So if there is a politically savvy person out there who can explain the bill in small words that I can understand, I would very much appreciate it.
I should add that I do not want to have an issue about the pros and cons, but I would like to have implications spelled out for me if it can be done without jabs at either side.

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10 Answers

SFTigger's avatar

1. California current requires a ⅔ majority in the legislature to pass a budget.

2. Democrats currently constitute more than ½ of the legislature but less than ⅔ of the legislature.

3. Prop 25 lowers the threshold to pass a budget to ½ of the legislature.

Historically, the state budget has been late. Each year this happens, this throws the continued operation of the state—DMV, Highway Patrol, state firefighting efforts, the state universities, the prison system, the state courts, state parks etc, into jeopardy.

Since Democrats cannot muster the ⅔ majority required to pass a budget, they must rely on at least a few Republicans to pass a budget. The Republicans refuse to vote for a budget that contains any tax increases—and they routinely use their leverage to extract certain “gimmees” from the majority to get a budget passed.

In fact, part of the reason the situation is so bad is that during the flush years during the dot-com boom, to muster enough votes to get a budget passed, the legislature in its infinite wisdom permanently increased spending and lowered taxes. This was short-sighted and now leaves us with a structural budget problem in Sacramento, especially when times are tough (such as right now).

I believe that the minority party should not be able to hold the budget hostage to extract gimmees. It should be the people—through the power of the ballot to remove incumbents—that evaluates whether the legislature is doing a good enough job to deserve re-election.

Nullo's avatar

@SFTigger This bill is awfully convenient for the Democrats, don’t you think?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The pros is that budgets and other legislation has a better ability to get passed and work done. The minority party in this case most likely the republicans can’t block progress because there is something usually silly in the bill they don’t like or just to not allow the democrats a free ride.

The cons are there will be no check to balance basically, at least not swiftly. The democrats will be able to pass or do pretty much what they wanted and the republicans will basically be toothless paper tigers unable to do anything about anything; and thus would be mere spectators high priced too that we will be paying for. With this bill there would have to be some legislative relief of measures that are just so bad they will hurt the state or bankrupt it. I would favor a bill had to pass by 57% of the voting members, but that won’t happen.

RocketGuy's avatar

People are tired of gridlock.

Nullo's avatar

I’m beginning to think that perhaps all legislation ought to require a ⅔ majority to pass. Then maybe the two sides would actually try to make compromises instead of forcing a no-terms passage.
Aside from the budget, it’s not like the various legislative bodies need to make all of those laws.

wundayatta's avatar

But compromises are so hard to reach. Sometimes they are never reached. That would keep things in limbo endlessly, just like the Iranian government. Then no one governs.

Nullo's avatar

@wundayatta Is this a republic, or is it not? If a compromise can’t be reached, then maybe, just maybe, there doesn’t have to be legislation. Or maybe they can scrap the issue and start over and see how that goes?
There are untold millions of bills between now and the end of time. We’re doing pretty well without them, don’t you think? Is it really necessary to be passing laws all of the time?

wundayatta's avatar

@Nullo Do you think things are going well in Iran?

Do you think legislators try to make bills just because it’s their job? I don’t. I think they are sincere in their efforts to solve problems that affect their constituents. If the electorate were to stop them from doing their jobs, we would have a lot more problems than we already have.

I don’t think things are going well. I think we pass laws for a purpose, not just to get our jollies. I think that the lack of health care coverage has created significant problems in our economy. In some ways, the current economic crisis is a result of the problems people are experiencing with health care. It has been reducing the efficiency of the economy as people are locked into jobs. It hurts the ability of US corporations to compete internationally.

If we do not collectively decide to do something to fix the problem, the problem will only get worse. The only way to deal with this effectively is to make any changes the law. People have to cooperate. If they don’t, we’re lost.

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