Schwarzenegger says 'no' to majority budget votes [UPDATED]
If California adopted its budgets by majority vote of the Legislature, like every other state except Arkansas and Rhode Island, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be home by now. But we don't, and apparently the governor wants to keep things the way they are. He told the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce this morning he opposes lowering the vote requirement from the current two-thirds.
The Times' PolitiCal blog quotes the governor expressing concern that a majority vote would allow only one party to make all the decisions. (Well, yes, Arnold. The majority party).
The Sacramento Bee's Capitol Alert quotes the governor noting that if Democrats used their majority vote, they'd adopt higher taxes.
Updated: Here's the full transcript of the governor's discussion with the L.A. chamber.
Which is really what the two-thirds vote issue, and Proposition 25, the Nov. 2 measure to switch to a majority vote, are all about: taxes. Prop. 25 would leave the two-thirds requirement for raising taxes in place, by the way. I'll let the Times' George Skelton explain it.
Isn't there something inherently anti-democratic (as opposed to merely anti-Democrat) in allowing a minority party to say "no" to a budget? If Republicans lose their one-third-plus in each house of the Legislature, should we then adopt a three-fifths requirement? Should we require unanimity? And if the majority party did adopt something hated by a majority of Californians, wouldn't we vote them out?
Here are some Proposition 25 basics. More info, and more argument, to come.
Full text of the measure (from the Secretary of State's Office).
Title and summary (from the Attorney General's Office).
Impartial analysis (by the Legislative Analyst's Office).
The photo, by the way, is of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger being squeezed by his own conflicting demands for a budget and for a "consensus" forced by a two-thirds vote. OK, no it's not. It's of him with a Burmese python at the opening day, July 14, of the California State Fair in Sacramento.
-- Robert Greene
Photo credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press