How Should I Vote on California Proposition 31?

spending money

Whom Do You Want to Spend Your Tax Money?

Proposition 31 looks really good to the casual reader, but savvy readers with long experience reading legal documents such as ballot propositions, know that if it looks good at the beginning, you’d better take a closer look. The truth is, it’s really about who’s going to spend your local tax dollars.

Some of us, who aren’t that good at legalese, often look to people we trust who are better at it than we are for advice. That’s what I did on this Proposition 31. Here’s what one of the people I trust, Roberta Fonzi, who’s running for reelection for the Atascadero City Council, has to say about Proposition 31. The video is supposed to appear below, but I gave you the link in case it doesn’t.

Roberta Fonzi Explains California Proposition 31 in Plain English

Another person I trust, who was my California assemblyman for years before he moved to Congress, Tom McClintock, is also against Proposition 31. Here’s his take, from an email he sent out:

This one shines and stinks.  On the shiny side, it moves us toward performance-based budgeting, restores certain powers to the governor to make mid-year spending reductions and requires new spending to be paid for.  On the stinky side, it provides a two-year budget cycle that makes fiscal gimmickry all the easier and locks into the Constitution an incredibly anal process for local communities to adopt “Strategic Action Plans” serving such open-ended new age objectives as “community equity” and nudges them into establishing regional governments to push this agenda.  The purpose of local governments is to provide basic services, not to pursue utopian four-year plans.

Proposition 31 wants to change the Constitution of California. Here are the pros and cons from Ballot Pedia. If you read carefully past the good things at the beginning, you will see that this change in the state constitution is really about redistribution of wealth from one part of a region of California to another part of it. It also removes how your local tax revenues will be spent from the control of your own city council and board of supervisors to the control of an unelected board, unaccountable to you. If they think an urban area of the district we are assigned to needs the money more than your city or county area in the North County, they can send it there so that the urban dwellers will have more resources and you will have less in your own local area.

Stephen Frank, who resides in a Central Valley California County,  says Prop 31 will “end the right of a city council or county board of supervisors to set zoning, transportation, or fiscal policy.” Is that what you want to see? An unelected board to determine what you can do with your property, whether your roads get fixed, who gets high speed rail built and where, and how your tax money will be spent? Many people in Paso Robles don’t even want to raise the sale tax which is supposed to benefit roads because the revenues go into the general fund and they don’t trust that it will really be spent on roads. But at least we have a voice and we vote for the people who will spend it. They are accountable to us. We would have no control over a regional board.  You can read the entire article, “The End of Democracy and Freedom in California via the Legislature and Proposition 31.”  You’ll need to wait while it loads to get to the article on page 28 of this PDF file, but there’s plenty else to read while the current issue of the Central Coast Valley Tea Party Times loads.

I hope you will thoughtfully read the available information before you form an opinion based on media sound bytes. The future of California and who gets to spend your tax dollars depends on your casting an informed vote. If you agree, please send you California friends links to this.