Have Voter Initiatives Paralyzed the California Budget?
15 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2003
Date Written: November 2003
Many observers blame the California budget crisis on a series of voter initiatives that unrealistically appropriated spending while prohibiting tax increases. However, a review of all initiative measures approved by the voters since 1912 shows that no more than 32 percent of appropriations in the 2003-04 budget were locked in by initiatives. Virtually all of the earmarked spending was for education, and would have been appropriated by the legislature even without an initiative mandate. Initiatives placed only minimal constraints on the legislature's ability to raise revenue. The facts suggest that voter initiatives are not a significant obstacle to balancing the budget in California.
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