The next special election: April? May? June? Soon.
If the state Legislature ever adopts a budget, it will come with an extra price tag of $50 million to $100 million -- the estimated cost of yet another special election which voters must face as part of whatever deals are being brokered.
Although you haven't yet heard anything about this election, and no date is set, it's coming soon. And it will be a big one.
Four ballot measures, all of them from the Legislature, are ready to go. Not yet identified with proposition numbers, these were ostensibly on hold until the June 2010 primary election. In reality, they'll be added to the next statewide ballot. And we'll have one this year, well before the 2010 gubernatorial primary, just to deal with the budget mess.
The bail-out-California ballot will include Senate Constitutional Amendment 12, and no one could blame you for having forgotten this one. It's the scheme to sell future proceeds of the state lottery for a lump sum now, which would be used to make up for various cuts to the state budget. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger floated this last year as part of the budget solution that was adopted in September and fell apart in November.
Senate Constitutional Amendment 13 is Schwarzenegger's budget reform package, including a "rainy day fund" and a mechanism to stabilize revenues, so that fat years aren't quite so fat and lean years aren't quite so lean. The Times was, shall we say, skeptical.
Along for the ride on the same ballot are AB 583, the plan from Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) for publicly funded "clean money" elections for the secretary of state, paid for with higher fees on lobbyists (see the Times editorial against it), and SCA4, a prohibition on revaluating new construction for property tax purposes when it's being done to seismically retrofit existing buildings.
But wait, there's more -- or at least, there could be. Republican lawmakers may insist on a spending cap measure. Democrats may insist on measures to get rid of the two-thirds requirement for adopting a budget.
Finally, from the what-world-is-she-living-in department, comes AB 220 by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, for another school bond. It has yet yet to include a dollar amount. Brownley introduced the bill on Feb. 4, a day after Standard & Poor's downgraded California bonds to the lowest rating of any state. California is unable to sell the bonds voters have already approved.
It's too late to coordinate the state special election with the March 3 election being run by Los Angeles and numerous other municipalities. Other likely dates, when other cities and school districts are already voting, include April 7, April 14, April 21, May 19, and June 2.
Photo: Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times