Tomorrow is special election day here in California and lots of people have been emailing me to ask how I’m going to vote on the miserable collection of propositions on the ballot. The honest answer is that I don’t know. Staying home seems like the best alternative right now. It’s hard to remember an election in which voters were given quite such a stark choice between bad and worse.
Besides, the polls say almost all the propositions are going to lose. So it hardly matters. Still, here’s where I am right now:
Prop 1A – Spending Cap: NO. Lots of other states have spending cap/rainy day fund requirements of various kinds, and their success seems to be fantastically sensitive to the precise wording of the cap and the way different figures are estimated. That means 1A could be halfway reasonable or it could be a disaster, and there’s really no way to tell in advance. That’s not the kind of thing I want enshrined in the constitution.
Prop 1B – More Spending for Teachers: NO. This is ballot box budgeting of the worst kind and interest group politics at its most blatant.
Prop 1C: Sell Future Lottery Profits: NO. This raises a fair amount of money, but it’s just horrible, horrible policy. I can’t bring myself to support it.
Props 1D and 1E: Raid Money From a Couple of Previous Initiatives: YES. Ballot box budgeting locked up this money in the first place, so there’s no other way to unlock it. It would be better to get rid of the original initiatives (and all their kin) entirely, but in the meantime this is the only choice the legislature has.
Prop 1F: No Pay Raises Until a Budget is Passed: NO. This is just stupid.
That’s it. If you vote exactly the opposite way, I understand. My views on these initiatives are about as firm as jello right now. Make your case in comments if you think I’m full of it.