Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Wednesday, October 30, 2002
 
The Armed Liberal looks at the California ballot and has some persuasive posts arguing for a No vote on Prop 50 (Water Bonds) and Prop 51 (Transportation Improvements). Prop 51 is particularly egregious and richly deserves to lose; however, relatively few California voters will have studied the ballot closely enough to be aware of the dirty dealing in which various interests contributed to the Yes on 51 campaign in return for large projects that would benifit them being written into the proposal.

AL hasn't addressed so far another interesting point. There are 3 bond issues (46, 47, 50) on the current CA ballot. Proponents of each insist that their bonds have nothing at all to do with raising taxes.

Q: Where will the money come from?

A: Proposition 46 is a $2.1 billion general obligation bond that will be paid through existing funds in the state general fund. Funding for Proposition 46 will not require a new tax.

Proposition 50 is a fiscally sound opportunity to make necessary investments in our infrastructure. The bond will be paid back through existing resources in the state general fund, NOT through new taxes.

What these proposals all do is to require new expenditures without specifying where the money will come from. So in that sense they 'don`t raise taxes'. But the money to pay for the bonds won`t fall out of the sky. The bonds will have to be paid off and that means (duh) taxes. Of course when and if voters pass these proposals, the Legislature will have to scrape up money to pay about $35 bn in new obligations (assuming all pass) over the next few decades. And voters will wonder why those damned politicians are raising their taxes again.

Two other initiatives simply require the state to pay for certain proposals out of existing funds. According to Yes on 51:

Proposition 51 accomplishes all these goals by establishing a new transportation trust fund, using money from the existing sales tax on motor vehicles. Proposition 51 does not raise taxes.[Emphasis in original.]

However, if 51 does pass, important projects not mentioned in the initiative will go unfunded, or else taxes will have to be raised. It's the same thing as the bonds, except that the bonds require you to pay twice - pay for the actual project and pay for interest on money borrowed to finance it.

Prop 49 works in much the same way as 51, but it deserves a posting of its own. It's the most interesting initiative on the state ballot, primarily because it is also the opening shot of a probable Schwarzenegger 2006 gubernatorial campaign.



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