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Reason Foundation

California's Propositions Fail

Tim Cavanaugh
May 20, 2009, 11:07am

Good news out of the Golden State. As expected, California voters rejected all but one of yesterday's referenda. The ballot initiatives, which would have raised some taxes, extended others, enabled substantial borrowing, and invited more bloat by committing money to various well funded fiefdoms, failed by even wider margins than the propositions in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's disastrous November 2005 Special Election. As Matt Welch noted yesterday, the results also make clear how rotten and out of touch most of the state's newspaper editorial boards are.

The one winner was a trick proposition that would deny pay cuts to politicians under certain very narrowly defined budget circumstances. I voted against that one both for a clean sweep of No's and because the proposition is insulting to the intelligence (though I guess having your intelligence insulted is part of the deal when you live in California). 

Don't believe post-election spin that argues California voters rejected the slate out of pique at having to vote so often. The sore-thumb victory of the salary cap Prop 1F indicates voters were sufficiently attentive to the import of these initiatives that they said yes to one and no to all the others. They may have resented the initiatives on the basis of fatigue (I've had to vote twice since the November presidential), but they rejected the measures on the basis of their content. 

Full results of my own ballot:

1A "Rainy Day" Budget Stabilization Fund
Yes: 1,327,400 34.1% No: 2,555,519 65.9% (Tim's vote: No)

1B Education Funding. Payment Plan.
Yes: 1,452,535 37.4% No: 2,421,906 62.6% (Tim's vote: No)

1C Lottery Modernization Act
Yes: 1,368,222 35.4% No: 2,493,770 64.6% (Tim's vote: No)

1D Children's Services Funding
Yes: 1,324,252 34.2% No: 2,536,657 65.8% (Tim's vote: No)

1E Mental Health Funding
Yes: 1,292,437 33.6% No: 2,549,361 66.4% (Tim's vote: No)

1F Elected Officials Salaries
Yes: 2,859,122 73.9% No: 1,010,457 26.1% (Tim's vote: No)

Originally Posted at Hit & Run

Tim Cavanaugh is Managing Editor,

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