Why the Green Party Opposes Proposition 2

from the Green Party of Alameda County Voter Guide:

This proposition has significant implications for future state budgets; the recent discussion/ debate in the state legislature on restoring cuts prefigures other political conflicts not simply amongst legislators, but more importantly, with significant working class constituencies and their organizations as to resources.
The background to this proposed amendment to the state constitution was the passage of Prop 58 in 2004, which established a new reserve fund (BSA - Budget Stabilization Account) which requires the governor annually to consider putting up to 3% of the General Fund revenues in this reserve. This is considered the basic amount and is currently at $3 billion; the measure called for a maximum of $8 billion. Money can be removed from the BSA by a majority vote of the legislature and there is no limit on the amount.
Prop 2 would significantly alter this in the following ways:

  a. it would require the state to pay down specified debts by a minimum amount of $800 million annually for at least 15 years.
  b. it would require the state to contribute a minimum of another $800 million annually to the BSA, up to $2 billion (depending on capital gains revenues).
  c. money could only be removed if the governor declared a "budget emergency" and it was approved by the legislature; the amount removed could be no more than half the BSA, based on the projection of the "budget emergency' (and with no "budget emergency" the previous year).
  d. money would go into a state reserve for public schools and community colleges, in years when capital gains income was strong; further, it would limit the reserves that school districts could hold.
What does this really mean?
Many people might be tempted to vote for this measure on the basis on "financial stability" and the impact of state debt. There are some positive features, connecting contributions to capital gains taxes (but no language to increase them), while the language about limiting school district reserves would be welcome, since they are often used as an excuse to avoid negotiating more funds for staff and programs (however, this could be done in a separate law).
In reality, this measure only demonstrates Jerry Brown's ongoing commitment to a neo-liberal agenda. Much as with the national debate, the emphasis is placed on bringing down the debt, versus meeting the needs of working Californians, especially the poorest sectors (often females and/or people of color). As mentioned this was already demonstrated in Sacramento during the most recent budget cycle, despite the added revenues with the passage of Prop 30. It gives whomever is governor much greater powers (declaring the "budget emergency") and for 15 years, block efforts to alter priorities.
This austerity proposition should be opposed and used as a basis to explain why such fiscal reactionary (not responsibility) policy would be disastrous for working people in California and why we must insist the answer is making the rich and corporations pay (including advocating debt cancellation).