Prop 25

Prop 25: Too Confusing for Judges 101010

(e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or of this Constitution, the budget bill and other bills providing for appropriations related to the budget bill may be passed in each house by rollcall vote entered in the journal, a majority of the membership concurring, to take effect immediately upon being signed by the Governor or upon a date specified in the legislation. Nothing in this subdivision shall affect the vote requirement for appropriations for the public schools contained in subdivision (d) of this section and in subdivision (b) of Section 8 of this article.
(2) For purposes of this section, “other bills providing for appropriations related to the budget bill” shall consist only of bills identified as related to the budget in the budget bill passed by the Legislature.
(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or of this Constitution, including subdivision (c) of this section, Section 4 of this article, and Sections 4 and 8 of Article III, in any year in which the budget bill is not passed by the Legislature by midnight on June 15, there shall be no appropriation from the current budget or future budget to pay any salary or reimbursement for travel or living expenses for Members of the Legislature during any regular or special session for the period from midnight on June 15 until the day that the budget bill is presented to the Governor. No salary or reimbursement for travel or living expenses forfeited pursuant to this subdivision shall be paid retroactively.

That’s the meat of Prop 25, which attempts to roll back the number of votes needed to pass a budget, and threatens to take income from legislators when the budget isn’t passed on time, by midnight on June 15th.

That alone is confounding enough.  No one knows the effect of withholding wages from legislators, but some feel there is a “poison pill” in the bill.  First, some believe “notwithstanding any other law” means the legislature can pass taxes without a 2/3 majority.  Supporters say it isn’t so, but it’s a belief that won’t die.
Further the bill withholds payment from legislators, but allows them with a simple majority to increase their non-wage perks.

The bill has been called an attempt to undo Prop 13, but that isn’t clear.  It seems possible it’s just a badly written bill.

Proponents insist that we now pay $50,000 a day when the budget is overdue.  They suggest the bill “gets tough” with legislators and forces them to save money and pass a budget.

But what kind of budget would they pass with such an onus?  Maybe the legislature takes a long time to balance the budget because it’s a difficult task in times like these.

Opponents of Prop 25 took the measure to court, insisting that the proponents couldn’t claim it prevented taxes from being raised with a simply majority.  They prevailed at first,  but a judge ruled that the group could, technically, claim that to be true.

Supporters of the bill include teachers and hospital workers.
Opponents include small businesspeople, Chevron, Miller, Anhauser Busch, and other corporations including the CA chamber of commerce.

Though we hate the idea of siding with oil companies against teachers, the Prospect editors have agreed to come out against Prop 25.  It leaves too much open to interpretation, and speculation.

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