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The pros and cons of Proposition 31

by AirTalk®

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California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a news conference about the state budget on May 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Brown proposes $8.3 billion cuts in California to help close a projected $16 billion budget shortfall. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Proposition 31 is an effort on behalf of the political organization California Forward to “bring accountability and transparency” to the state. If passed, Prop 31 would achieve this by establishing a two-year budget cycle with prohibitions on the legislature creating $25 million expenditures without corresponding revenues or spending cuts.

But the law wouldn’t just limit power; in cases where the legislature fails to act, it also gives the governor power to unilaterally slash budgets in a state of fiscal emergencies.

Furthermore, it allows for local governments to alter the way in which programs funded by the state impact the communities, and any changes would stand unless the state Legislature or a specific agency vetoes them within 60 days.

It creates some specific requirements for California, calling for mandatory performance reviews of all programs, performance goals to be attached to state and local budgets, and bills must be published three days prior to a legislative vote.

California Republicans on the whole support this measure, as they feel that challenging the status quo could result in them gaining more power in the government. Democrats, being the controlling party, oppose it and want to keep things as they are.

Prop Breakdown:

Official Title — State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitution Amendment and Statute.

  • Establishes two-year state budget cycle.

  • Prohibits Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified.

  • Permits Governor to cut budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies if Legislature fails to act.

  • Requires performance reviews of all state programs.

  • Requires performance goals in state and local budgets.

  • Requires publication of bills at least three days prior to legislative vote.

  • Allows local governments to alter how laws governing state-funded programs apply to them, unless Legislature or state agency vetoes change within 60 days.
  • Weigh In:

    What other factions are siding for or against Prop 31? Which side is resonating more with voters? What would the implications be if it passes? What if it doesn’t?


    Jim Mayer, Executive Director for California Forward

    Wendy Mitchell, California League of Conservation Voters

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