California crackup: how reform broke the Golden State and by Joe Mathews

By Joe Mathews

Is California past fix? a large variety of Golden nation electorate have concluded that it truly is. Incessant finances crises plus a central authority paralyzed via partisan gridlock have ended in calls for for reform, even a constitutional conference. yet what, precisely, is inaccurate and the way will we repair it? In California Crackup, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul supply transparent and expert solutions. Their fast paced and sometimes funny narrative deftly exposes the constitutional origins of our present political and fiscal difficulties and furnishes a uniquely California repair: cutting edge recommendations that let Californians to discuss their offerings, decide on the simplest ones, carry elected officers chargeable for effects, and select anew if whatever doesn’t work.

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But at this stage it was too little, too late,” Peter Behr, author of the alternative, said later. “The governor was very weak. After [it] passed . . he came out of his office, surrounded by reporters, it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and he was going to campaign vigorously for it. And the governor meant it. ” Prop 8 offered homeowners only half as much property tax reduction as Prop 13. Because of an unfocused governor and the two-thirds rule, desperate homeowners were left with little choice.

In the first five years after Prop 13 passed, the average homeowner saved about $10,000, almost enough at the time to buy two subcompact cars. The biggest winner, however, was business. Businesses had already seen their share of assessments fall after AB 80 took effect, and they had not experienced the same inflation-driven runup experienced by homeowners. 18 The big losers were local governments. With a single vote, they had lost revenue amounting to 22 percent of their budgeted expenditures. “The local governments were shell-shocked,” Leo McCarthy remembered.

The commission also lifted a requirement that had restricted budget sessions to every other year. The revision mandated new conflict-of-interest statutes; among those produced were restrictions on legislators’ expenses and retirement benefits. And the revised constitution permitted the legislature to set its own compensation, provided that increases were no more than 5 percent. In the name of amateurism, the revision commission opened up the initiative process, slightly, but in ways that would prove profound.

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