Two-Year State Budget Cycle
Proposition 31 would create a biennial (rather than annual) state budget, require the state to study all state programs, provide additional budgetary powers to the governor, and mandate that local governments produce a host of analyses of local spending. Proposition 31 is a hodgepodge of components both small (such as requiring that state legislation must be publicly available for at least three days before it is voted upon) and potentially sweeping (as it would permit the governor to reduce or eliminate general fund expenditures by executive order if the legislature does not pass bills necessary to address a fiscal emergency). The state would also have to review and analyze all state programs at least once every five years, and produce a detailed report on each program's effectiveness. This initiative would further mandate the adoption of "Community Strategic Action Plans" that would require local governments to produce more detailed budget information and implement various analyses of the effectiveness of local spending and programs. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that these new budgeting practices would increase state and local costs by “tens of millions of dollars annually.”
Proposition 31 would also prohibit the authorization of state expenditures of over $25 million (or tax cuts of at least the same size) unless offsetting spending cuts (or revenues) were identified. While the proposition's language is not precise, this provision would appear to dramatically limit the ability of the legislature to create new programs or change the basic revenue structure of state government. We have long opposed such limitations and ballot box budgeting.
Proposition 31's strict limitations on the budgetary process, coupled with its grant of dramatic (and arguably undemocratic) power to the governor and its imposition of substantial bureaucratic reporting requirements on state and local government, make it untenable. Bend the Arc urges all Californians to vote NO on Proposition 31.