You decide: the case for and against Proposition 25

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Yes on Proposition 25: Yuliana Miranda

The time to cast votes has arrived. Among the propositions Californians will be voting on Nov. 2 is one that will help the California economy. If Proposition 25, Majority Vote for Legislature to Pass the Budget, passes, then a legislative vote of a simple majority will be required to approve the budget, instead of the current two-thirds supermajority vote. Citizens should vote “yes” on Proposition 25.

Our current 66 percent vote requirement to pass the budget has created gridlock. The California Constitution states “the Legislature shall pass the budget bill by midnight on June 15 of each year.” However, this deadline has not been met for over 23 years.

In 1997, the state budget was signed 49 days late. In 2002, the state budget was signed two months and five days late. Late state budgets are damaging our economy and how things are run. In order to have timely budgets to maintain a more stable economy, Proposition 25 has to be passed. It would become much easier for legislators to submit a budget to the Governor on time.

Some people who do not want to change the way things are run in Sacramento argue that it would become easier for legislators to raise taxes. However, Proposition 25 “retains two-thirds vote requirement for taxes.”

There is no intention of changing the two-thirds vote for raising taxes, the only vote requirement the proposition changes is of passing the budget bill from two-thirds to a simple majority.

“Late budgets cost taxpayers millions of dollars, hurt schools and services, damage California’s credit rating and give special treatment to interest groups at the expense of ordinary citizens,” says Martin Hittelman, President of the California Federation of Teachers.

Taxpayers are penalized for a late budget but with Proposition 25 this would change. If a budget bill is not submitted to the governor by June 15, then the legislators will not be allowed to collect a salary or reimbursements for travel and living expenses for each late day.

With members of the legislature losing a bit of their salary, this would reduce state costs by around $50,000 per day until a budget bill was sent to the governor. The penalizing of legislators will be an incentive for them to submit an early and on-time budget.

Supporters of Proposition 25 include the California Federation of Teachers, the League of Women Voters of California, and the California Nurses Association.

The L.A. Times is also in favor of voting “yes” on Proposition 25, stating that “Supermajority budgeting rules served a purpose in a less partisan age, but now they have all but brought state government to a standstill.”

California is in a budget crisis. It is time that we adopt our ways to meet the current needs of our state. A supermajority vote worked well in the past, but it does not work anymore. It has become a broken system.

Yuliana Miranda is a COMS 225-Argumentation student

No on Proposition 25: Brent Joyce

Proposition 25 is the Majority Vote for the Legislature to Pass the Budget Act and although the general idea of Proposition 25 is well intended, there are a lot of small parts of the proposition that make it implausible.

Some parts of it are very misleading.  While the proposition states it will punish the Legislature for not passing a budget on time, it rewards them by making it easier to increase their expense accounts.  By reducing the amount of votes it take to pass budget related issues, a simple majority of legislators can pass measures that would increase spending.

Another issue with the passage of Proposition 25 is that it only sets a deadline for a budget to be submitted, not passed.  Just because the Legislature passed a budget by the date proscribe doesn’t mean that the governor will approve it.  An explanation for this is made quite well by the California Budget Project. In one of their publications they say “While Proposition 25 makes it easier for the Legislature to approve a spending plan, it does not change the vote requirement for tax increases or the governor’s ability to veto a budget passed by the legislature. Thus, Proposition 25 may or may not increase the likelihood that a signed spending plan is in place by the July 1 start of a new fiscal year.”

The evidence overwhelming shows that legislators will still not be punished for passing bad budgets.  As long as a simple majority rushes a budget to be passed they will not incur the penalties described in the bill, this is to say they will not lose their per diem or other such payments.

Next is a logical problem.  The issue with California is its massive budget deficits, not the actual process in which a budget is passed.  As long as the California government spends more than it brings in revenue the budget issues will continue.

Being able to pass budgets on time won’t make the budgets sound and balanced.  The key issue that needs to be addressed is the fiscal policies that are in place, not the process in which the budget is passed.  Proposition 25 will not fix this key issue.

Proposition 25 is misleading and doesn’t successfully address the issue it sets out to solve.  That is why I urge Californians to vote no on Proposition 25.

Brent Joyce is a COMS 225-Argumentation student

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