More Ballot Box Budgeting in California

Considering California already has a $14.5 billion deficit (and counting) now does not seem to be the time to tie up even larger portions of the state budget with constitutional guarantees. One of the state initiatives with the most significant impact on the state budget in California is proposition 93. If passed this proposition would create a mandatory funding minimum for California community colleges similar to the K12 mandatory funding– proposition 98. This is another example of ballot box budgeting where special interests lock in funding guaranteed by the state constitution. This is a trend that gives legislators less control over the state budget and contributes to future deficits as the legislature cannot reduce spending on constitutionally-guaranteed programs. The community college initiative would also limit the amount of fees that could be charged to community college students to $15 per unit (less than a new CD or DVD!) and limits future fee increases. California already charges some of the lowest fees in the nation for community college courses. To see our analysis of why proposition 98, which guarantees 40 percent of the budget to education, is a disaster go here.