Today, on May 19 2009 at approximately 7 PM, I voted in the statewide special election on the six budget-related propositions. Here’s how I voted.
Proposition 1A (extends higher taxes to pay for increase in rainy day fund and increases in education, infrastructure, and emergency spending and deficit reduction): I voted Yes because I feel that such a measure, including the higher taxes (which affect me now! I’ll explain in a future column), is necessary to put our mess of a budget back on track.
Proposition 1B (directs money from 1A, if passed, towards repaying schools): I voted Yes because I want some of the 1A money to go towards education.
Proposition 1C (reduces the deficit with borrowing from future lottery profits): While I initially was going to vote Yes so that lottery money could go towards deficit reduction, I realized at the voting booth that the money the state was borrowing now was from future lottery money. In other words, the state is going to pay for stuff now with money that doesn’t even exist yet. That sounds deeply irresponsible to me. At least when the government deficit spends it’s using money that already exists (as far as I know…). To pay for stuff now with money that’s supposed to be here later, but isn’t here yet, seems pretty fishy and isn’t really solving the problem. The state government will have to find another way to balance the budget if 1C fails. So I voted No and I hope the state government will come together and discuss the only two methods that provide for real deficit reduction: budget cuts and (my preference) higher taxes.
Proposition 1D (transfers money from local First 5 children’s programs to state children’s programs): I voted Yes because this seemed like a reasonable thing to do to alleviate state cutbacks in children’s development programs and balance the state budget. I was not concerned about local funds being used statewide, especially when it’s possible that local funds could be spread from higher-income, less-in-need areas to those areas in more dire need of those funds. (Yes, I know that’s spreading the wealth. But I won’t start complaining unless I lose 200 IQ points and become Joe the Plumber.)
Proposition 1E (transfers money from Prop. 63 mental health programs to state mental health programs): I voted Yes for the same reasons as with 1D.
Proposition 1F (ties state elected officials’ pay raises to whether or not they pass a balanced budget): Of course I voted Yes. Politicians’ paychecks are the last things I’m worried about when the state needs to make cutbacks. I’d cut elected officials’ salaries to save education, infrastructure, etc. any day, even if I were an elected official myself.
As a side note, this is the first election where I did not vote in the city and county of San Diego. I voted at East Avenue Elementary School in Fairview, Alameda County.