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This is why I hate ballot referenda

California's vote on budget issues yesterday is another reason why I hate ballot initiatives.

It's very easy to say "no" and then step aside. Viewing the election from Down Under, the Sydney Morning Herald nailed the implications of the vote:

By rejecting five budget measures, Californians also brought into stark relief the fact that they, too, share blame for the political dysfunction that has brought California to the brink of insolvency.

Voters in the special election refused either to extend new tax increases or to cap state spending. They also declined to unlock funds that they had voted in better times to set aside for special purposes.

Nearly a century after the Progressive-era birth of the state's ballot-measure system, it is clear that voters' fickle commands, one proposition at a time, are a top contributor to paralysis in Sacramento. And that, in turn, has helped cripple the capacity of the Governor and Legislature to provide effective leadership to a state of more than 38 million people.

How come observers in Australia have a clearer view than residents of the Golden State?

Now California's lawmakers face a June 30 deadline to close the state's $21.3 billion budget gap. I don't think this is what Arnold planned when he said "I'll be back."

You can find more coverage of the election and its consequences at:


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