Yes on Proposition 31
In good times and bad, California has long had a state budget
deficit, with politicians spending more money than state
government brings in—much of it lost to waste, abuse and overborrowing. Budgets are often based on the influence of special
interests rather than the outcomes Californians want to achieve.
Proposition 31 forces state politicians to finally live within their
means, and it gives voters and taxpayers critical information to
hold politicians accountable.
The non-partisan state auditor reported in an audit of several
state agencies between 2003 and 2010 that the state could have
saved taxpayers approximately $1.2 billion had the auditor’s
own proposals to reform operations and improve efficiency
been enacted. The recent effort to create a unified Court Case
Management System cost taxpayers more than $500 million,
more than $200 million over budget, to connect just 7 of 58
counties before being abandoned.
Proposition 31 requires a real balanced budget. It stops
billions of dollars from being spent without public review or
citizen oversight. Unless we pass Proposition 31, hundreds of
millions of dollars every year will continue to be wasted that
could be better used for local schools, law enforcement and
other community priorities.
Proposition 31 does not raise taxes, increase costs to taxpayers
or set up any new government bureaucracy. Proposition 31
makes clear that its provisions should be implemented with
existing resources—and it will generate savings by returning tax
dollars to cities and counties.
Yes on 31 will:
• INCREASE PUBLIC INPUT AND TRANSPARENCY—
Stops the state from passing budgets without public review.
Currently, the state budget has no real transparency or
public reporting requirements. Proposition 31 requires state
government to make available the proposed state budget
for public review for a minimum of three days before
lawmakers vote on it.
• IMPOSE FISCAL OVERSIGHT AND CONSTRAINTS
ON NEW GOVERNMENT SPENDING—Proposition 31
prohibits the state from funding any new expenditure or
decreasing revenues of more than $25 million without first
identifying a funding source.
• INCREASE LOCAL CONTROL AND FLEXIBILITY—
The 2012 state budget took $1.4 billion away from local
government. Proposition 31 returns up to $200 million to
local government to be used for local priorities. It provides
cities, counties, and school districts more flexibility and
authority to design services that improve results and meet
• REQUIRE PERFORMANCE AND RESULTS IN
BUDGETS—Requires state and local governments to focus
budgets on achievement of measurable results, and provides
accountability by requiring the state legislature and local
governments to issue regular public performance reports,
and evaluate the effectiveness of programs before additional
spending decisions are made.
• REQUIRE PERFORMANCE REVIEWS OF STATE
GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS—Requires all state
government programs to be publicly reviewed for
performance to identify ways to improve results—or shift
their funding to more efficient and effective programs.
• REQUIRE A TWO-YEAR STATE BUDGET—Prevents
politicians from passing short-term budget gimmicks.
Requires lawmakers to develop long-term fiscal solutions.
Vote YES on 31. Limit Government Spending—Increase
Public Confidence in State Budgeting.
HON. CRUZ REYNOSO
California Supreme Court Justice (Retired)
HON. DELAINE A. EASTIN
Former Superintendent of Public Instruction
PROF. JAMES FISHKIN, Ph.D.
Rebuttal by No on Proposition 31
- September 28, 2012 01:36 PM
PROPOSITION 31 WON’T BALANCE THE
BUDGET, INCREASE PUBLIC INPUT OR IMPROVE
If Proposition 31 actually did what its argument promises,
WE would support it. But it doesn’t. Instead it adds
complicated new rules, restrictions and requirements, inserted
into California’s Constitution. It makes government more
cumbersome, more expensive, slower, and less effective. The
provisions are so confusing and ambiguous that it will take years
of lawsuits for the courts to sort out what it means.
PROPOSITION 31 WILL INCREASE COSTS, INCREASE
BUREAUCRATIC CONTROL, AND UNDERMINE
It allows local politicians to override or alter laws they don’t
like, undermining protections for air quality, public health,
worker safety WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE.
PROPOSITION 31 WILL MAKE IT ALMOST
IMPOSSIBLE TO CUT TAXES OR INCREASE FUNDING
It prohibits tax cuts unless other taxes are raised or programs
cut, and prevents increases in funding for schools unless taxes are
raised or other programs cut.
PROPOSITION 31 HAS SO MANY FLAWS THAT
SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE SPONSORING
ORGANIZATION RESIGNED IN PROTEST OVER THE
DECISION TO SUBMIT IT TO VOTERS.
Bob Balgenorth, a former board member of California Forward
Action Fund, the organization behind Proposition 31 said it
“contains serious flaws . . . and will further harm California.”
In his letter of resignation he said that he was “disappointed that
California Forward submitted signatures to the Secretary of State
without correcting the flaws in the initiative.”
WE CAN’T AFFORD ANOTHER FLAWED INITIATIVE.
VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 31.
ANTHONY WRIGHT, Executive Director
Health Access California
LACY BARNES, Senior Vice President
California Federation of Teachers
LENNY GOLDBERG, Executive Director
California Tax Reform Association
No on Proposition 31
PROPOSITION 31 IS SO POORLY WRITTEN AND
CONTRADICTORY THAT IT WILL LEAD TO LAWSUITS
AND CONFUSION, NOT REFORM.
We all want reform, but instead Proposition 31 adds
bureaucracy and creates new problems. It adds layer upon layer
of restrictions and poorly defined requirements, leaving key
decisions up to unelected bureaucrats, decisions such as whether
tax cuts are allowed or programs can be changed—decisions that
will be challenged in court year after year. We need real reform
not more lawsuits.
PROPOSITION 31 WILL SHIFT $200 MILLION FROM
EDUCATION AND OTHER VITAL FUNCTIONS TO
FUND EXPERIMENTAL COUNTY PROGRAMS.
The state can barely pay its bills now. And the majority of
the state’s budget goes to education. Yet this measure transfers
$200 million per year from state revenues into a special account
to pay for experimental county programs. This is not the time
to gamble with money that should be spent on our highest
PROPOSITION 31 WILL PREVENT THE STATE FROM
INCREASING FUNDING FOR EDUCATION UNLESS IT
RAISES TAXES OR CUTS OTHER PROGRAMS—EVEN
IF THE MONEY IS AVAILABLE.
As strange as it seems, Proposition 31 actually prevents the
state from adopting improvements to programs like education
or increasing funding to schools even if it has the money to do
so, UNLESS IT RAISES TAXES or cuts other programs. This
provision could tie up additional funding for schools for years.
PROPOSITION 31 PREVENTS THE STATE FROM
CUTTING TAXES UNLESS IT RAISES OTHER TAXES OR
CUTS PROGRAMS—EVEN IF THE STATE IS RUNNING
A BUDGET SURPLUS.
The contradictory nature of these tax provisions would
prohibit the state from cutting one tax unless it raises another,
even when there is a budget surplus—either this was intended to
prevent the state from cutting your taxes or is another case—a
serious case—of careless drafting. And, Proposition 31 locks this
into the State Constitution.
PROPOSITION 31 THREATENS OUR PUBLIC HEALTH,
WATER QUALITY AND PUBLIC SAFETY BY ALLOWING
COUNTIES TO OVERRIDE OR ALTER CRITICAL
California has adopted statewide standards to protect public
health, prevent contamination of air and water and provide for
the safety of its citizens. Proposition 31 contains a provision
that allows local politicians to alter or override these laws
WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE, and without an
effective way to prevent abuse.
PROPOSITION 31 WILL COST TENS OF MILLIONS
OF DOLLARS PER YEAR FOR ADDITIONAL
GOVERNMENT PROCESS AND BUREAUCRACY—TO
DO WHAT GOVERNMENT IS ALREADY SUPPOSED
Performance-based budgeting is more of a slogan than
anything else. It’s been tried many times before. The one thing
we know it will do is raise costs. The official fiscal analysis by
the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says it will raise the
costs of government by tens of millions of dollars per year for
new budgeting practices, with no guarantee any improvement
will result. Certain costs, uncertain results.
We all want reform, but Proposition 31 will make things
worse, not better.
JOIN US IN VOTING NO ON PROPOSITION 31.
SARAH ROSE, Chief Executive Officer
California League of Conservation Voters
JOSHUA PECHTHALT, President
California Federation of Teachers
RON COTTINGHAM, President
Peace Officers Research Association of California
Rebuttal by Yes on Proposition 31
- September 28, 2012 01:36 PM
“Proposition 31 creates greater transparency, public review,
and oversight over state and local government. This government
accountability measure will protect environmental safeguards
and worker protections while making sure taxpayers aren’t taken
advantage of by special interests and lobbying groups.”
—Hon. Cruz Reynoso, California Supreme Court Justice (Retired)
“It’s time to shine a light on California’s budget process—no
more multi-billion dollar deficit surprises. We need reforms that
will work, not business as usual.”
—Professor James Fishkin, Stanford University
“Proposition 31 will lessen the state temptation to borrow
and spend. Prop. 31 provides incentives to local governments
and community schools to focus on improving education and
increasing public safety. YES on Proposition 31 is a yes for
California schools and students.”
—Hon. Delaine Eastin, Former State Superintendent of Public
YES on Proposition 31 will:
• Not raise taxes or require increased government spending.
• Prevent state government from spending money we don’t
• Add transparency to a budget process currently prepared
behind closed doors.
• Shift more control and flexibility from Sacramento to cities
• Require state and local governments to publicly report
results before spending more money.
Please review the measure for yourself at www.sos.ca.gov and
help prevent further waste in government spending.
Proposition 31 meets the highest standards of constitutional
change requirements. The measure is well written, legally sound,
and will clearly improve the budget process and governance of
BILL HAUCK, Former Chairman
California Constitution Revision Commission