By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
So why do it?
It will spare the state massive one-time cuts that would likely end the ability of hundreds of thousands of Californians to visit doctors outside emergency rooms, slash payments to the disabled, and reduce the incoming freshman classes at the UC and CSU systems to a fraction of their current size.
These new bonds will authorize considerably more debt than the Gray Davis plan. Which, unfortunately, looks a lot like increasing the credit limit for a person who’s already charged too much on the card. We dislike the concept, but this higher debt limit became difficult to avoid when Governor Schwarzenegger repealed the increase in the car-registration tax. In other words, voters are being asked, more or less, to give back in bonds what Schwarzenegger handed out in car-tax reductions to boost his political fortunes. It’s a messy business, but also, alas, the fiscally responsible countermove to Schwarzenegger’s blithe irresponsibility.
PROPOSITION 58 YES
This proposition was marketed as a hard spending cap on the state budget, which we would oppose. It is, in truth, a more benign cost control negotiated largely to the liking of Democratic legislative leaders, with Schwarzenegger’s blessing. This measure would require the Legislature to adopt a balanced budget. Currently, the governor only has to proposea balanced budget. The initiative also establishes mechanisms for dealing with future, unanticipated midyear budget crises.
In addition, the proposition sets up a rainy-day fund. Think of the biblical story of Joseph in Egypt, where he persuaded Pharaoh to put aside food for lean times. Under Prop. 58, the state would put aside money, especially in good years, that could be called on in bad years. The size of the reserve would grow to $8 billion or to 5 percent of the budget, whichever is greater. The goal is to avoid the wide fluctuations in tax revenue that have caused periodic and painful boom-and-bust cycles for state budgets. Prop. 58 makes sense. For this to take effect, voters also must approve Prop. 57, which has our more reluctant support.
Los Angeles Unified School District
MEASURE R YES
Watching LAUSD roll out bond initiatives, one after another, is a little like waking up from an unsettling dream with that moment of groggy uncertainty about what’s real and what isn’t: Didn’t we just do this before? Didn’t we hear before about how this bond measure would be different and better, with no scandals, no money wasted? Isn’t this whacking my property taxes? And didn’t the Weekly endorse the last umpteen number of these bonds? When does it stop? Am I really awake?
This bond measure would generate $3.87 billion, much of which could be matched dollar for dollar with state funds. And it would cost you as much as $60 per year for every $100,000 of your property’s assessed value. That’s on top of what you’re already paying for the last few school bonds.
And yes, we’re endorsing this one, too. Granted, the school district still has a knack for squandering money, but it’s also getting better at actually building schools, and these schools are rising in neighborhoods all over town. Also, more of the older schools are looking less dreary — a little more like we actually care about the children inside them. If these bond measures don’t keep passing, schools will remain overcrowded, with shortened school years. And there’ll also be some holes in the ground and half-finished buildings that could have been schools.
So vote yes. Then try to get some rest.
More endorsements: Our choices for the Democratic presidential nominee, Los Angeles County District Attorney and judgeships.