California ballot initiative news archives, 2009

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==Archive, 2009 ballot initiative news, California==

See: California ballot initiative news for current news.

New $8 billion budget gap

Although six of the seven statewide ballot propositions on the May ballot (1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F) are intended to close an approximately $42 billion budget gap, the California Legislative Analyst's Office, an agency of the state government, said in early March that tax revenues flowing into the state treasury are "well below" the projections it used earlier in the year, and that California's government now faces an additional $8 billion gap in addition to the earlier $42 billion gap.[1]

Split California in 2?

In the aftermath of California Proposition 2 (2008), a movement to split California into two states has arisen. Bill Maze, the president and founder of "Citizens for Saving California Farming Industries," says, "We have to ask ourselves, 'Is there a better way to govern this state?'" The group believes that the state's inland counties are very politically and culturally different from the more coastal counties, and they don't want to be governed by the prevailing dominant policies that spring from those more populous counties. They've established a website called "Downsize California."[2][3]

Legislative proposal on ballot titles

Roger Niello, a Republican in the California State Assembly, has introduced California Assembly Bill 319. AB 319 proposes to transfer responsibility for writing the ballot titles of statewide California propositions from the California Attorney General's office to the office of the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). AB 319 would also have the LAO come up with the fiscal estimates for statewide ballot propositions, rather than the current system under which the fiscal estimate is compiled jointly by the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee along with an estimate by the LAO.[4]

California Prop 1A ballot title challenged

The liberal group "Health Access California," and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, filed a lawsuit against the California Secretary of State saying that the ballot language for Proposition 1A is "misleading" and "advocacy language."[5]

A Sacramento judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on March 5. His ruling says:

  • Where the original ballot title said "reforms," it must now say "changes" the budget process.
  • The title must say Proposition 1A "could" limit deficits and spending, not that it will or does limit them.[6]

California Prop 1E ballot title challenged

Rusty Selix and Richard Van Horn filed a lawsuit with Judge Michael P. Kenny in Sacramento Superior Court on March 4, 2009 saying that Prop 1E's ballot title is "false and misleading" because it "does not clearly state that Proposition 1E would redirect the money the voters earmarked in 2004." The plaintiffs want the judge to order the California Secretary of State to re-write the ballot language.[7]

Selix and Van Horn dropped their lawsuit shortly after it was filed, saying they had come to an agreement with the Secretary of State's office to change elements in the ballot title. The agreed-upon new ballot summary says that 1E diverts $230 million annually for two years from certain state programs in order to help balance the budget.[8]

The Maldonado amendments

State senator Abel Maldonado wants three new constitutional amendments on the 2009 California ballot in exchange for his vote on a budget package that includes $14.3 billion in tax increases.

The three propositions Maldonado wants are:

Five ballot propositions possible

Specific ballot propositions that voters may be asked to approve to clinch the budget deal agreement coming out of Sacramento include:

Ballot measure funds change proposed

The Fair Political Practices Commission is considering a set of new rules to govern how politicians can raise and spend money for ballot measures. Currently, politicians can raise money for ballot measure funds, but do not have to spend the money in ballot measure campaign accounts specifically for ballot measures. Ross Johnson, the FPPC's chairman, thinks this creates the potential for abuse, referring to the funds as "open-ended slush funds."[11][12]

Budget plans must face voters

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Regardless of when a new budget deal gets passed, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger still is going to need help from California's voters to close the state's $42 billion budget gap, and that help may not be easy to come by."

H.D. Palmer, who works for the state's Department of Finance, says, "Several key components of the budget agreements need to go back to the voters because they're revisions of ballot measures the voters originally approved."[13]

May special election

A special statewide election will take place in California on May 19 to vote for a replacement for Hilda Solis, Congresswoman from CD 32 and 6 propositions geared towards helping California balance the budget. The ballot will include:[14]

The ballot may also include:

June 8, 2010 Primary Election Ballot

Three bills are already slated for inclusion on the California Primary Election Ballot for the June 8, 2010 election.