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Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would Put Reality into Some Ballot Initiatives

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Photo by hjl via Flickr

Photo by hjl via Flickr
Every time we have a statewide election, there tend to be a few bond measures in there. Last November, one was the popular high speed rail bond that raised nearly $10 billion to whisk people from Los Angeles and San Fransisco in two hours, thirty-eight minutes. Most all agree, it's a good thing, but when it comes down to paying bonds back, it can run the state into fiscal problems such as we're facing today. That whole "we'll figure out how to pay for it later" concept isn't working out too well these days considering the state's $20-plus billion budget deficit.

Enter Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3 (ACA 3) from local Democratic Assemblyman Paul Krekorian and Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo. If it becomes law, it would make any proposed ballot initiative that includes a $1 billion or more general obligation bond to have a financial plan behind it. That is, new taxes, increased fees or the reduction or elimination of programs instead of sitting on the state's ledgers for 30 years as it takes money away from current programs (like State Parks, you know?).

“The intent of this measure is not to micro-manage the budgetary process by including all measures, but to instead target a very specific type of initiative that create long-lasting budgetary problems,” said Krekorian in a statement. “ACA 3 will give voters a more informed picture of the budgetary implications inherent in their choices made at the ballot box.“

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An assembly committee unanimously approved the amendment today and will next head to house's appropriations committee. If passes there, it will move to the Assembly floor seeking a two-thirds vote.