CA Elections and Budget Reform

The state of California has had a long-standing deficit, an intractable legislature-governor interaction, a static legislature, and a public trust problem. The Green Party of California invites and intends to participate in, and have formal input into, the efforts of state electoral, state constitution, and state budget reform bodies and organizations that further the cause of proportional representation, state taxation reform, and a state bank

Since the internet boom ended in the late 1990s, the credit rating of California has been very low. The Pew Center on the States has graded California's money management as D+, tied with Rhode Island. The only other states that use a 2/3rds Legislature majority to pass a budget are Rhode Island (D+ on the Pew Center of the States scale) and Arkansas (B-). Many believe that a minority party can obstruct the budget process to force compromises at the expense of timeliness, creating hardships for employees dependent on state monies. The 2/3rd Legislature process for the budget should be replaced by a simple majority vote.
Public trust has been drained partially due to the past history of racial discrimination in home sales before 1963 and the subsequent court battles on that topic. Trust also suffered from the property taxes during the Jerry Brown administration that begot Prop 13 in 1978 that then shrank local tax revenue and centralized authority in Sacramento. The 1988 corruption convictions for 14 lobbyists, staffers, and legislators eroded trust further to spawn term limits. The 1996 deregulation of electricity under the Wilson administration led to Gov. Davis's recall after the resultant profiteering of the energy supply companies in the face of Governor and Legislature impotence. The chronic late state Budgets are signs of a broken system that is not worthy of trust. It is time California's elected representatives and Governor worked for the good of California rather than for themselves, for the corporations, and for the preservation of the two party duopoly. GPCA proposes enlisting academic and financial expert help within state agencies. We should employ zero-based budgeting.
GPCA does not support borrowing against future California lottery money because that would transfer revenue away from public education. The lottery was originated in 1984 by a Proposition passed independent of the Legislature.
Government bonds are one of the key linchpins or siphons with which the wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations who invest in these bonds extract money from taxpayers. This perpetuates a hostile tax and economic system that punishes working people and poorer people. Since many bonds are paid over 30 to 40 years, the young pay a disproportionate amount of the bonds' total cost even though they have fewer assets and earning capacity than the older generations.
The influence of corporations in elections has subverted the democratic rights of the individual. We propose clean-money/fair-elections where state general election expenses for state candidates who have demonstrated a threshold of support equivalent to other states with clean money/fair elections rules are paid for by the state government.
The California Legislature has drawn its own election districts without public input or oversight since 2001 when the two-party duopoly conspired to minimize change to the 2001 electoral districts. In only 12 U.S. states is the legislature denied the ultimate power of its own redistricting. Just 6 states give congressional redistricting to another entity. Such an inflexible system in California has restricted grassroots democracy and weakened non-duopoly parties by discouraging voter participation at elections resulting in strengthened duopoly rule.
African Americans were first elected to the Legislature in the 1950s, with 4 Assembly Districts being represented through1974. In 1973, Republican Governor Ronald Reagan and the Democratic Party who controlled the Legislature could not agree on a political map that was required by law to be reconsidered every 10 years. Instead, the state Supreme Court appointed 3 retired judges to draw the district lines to increase Black and Latino representation in more districts.
Latino voters now constitute 19% of those registered to vote even though they will soon become the major ethnic group. The Legislature brazenly diluted the Latino vote in its 1981 redistricting, and a Supreme Court appointed panel of 3 judges in 1991 recommended changes that resulted in Latino representation increasing from 4 in 1990 to 17 in 2000. Latino representation in the State Senate also grew from 3 to 6 members in the same time frame, and their number in 2008 was 10. History has shown that the Legislature protects its incumbents' districts, whereas independent judge panels boost minority representation in the Legislature. Prop 11, which passed in November 2008, prescribed a team of 14 appointed individuals of all political stripes to draft a redistricting strategy. The 2010 passage of Prop 14 that created a "top two" runoff to the detriment of independent parties should be partially rectified by one election operated by instant runoff voting (IRV) necessitating no runoff, if multimember districts with proportional representation voting is not possible.
The Green Party of California invites and intends to participate in, and have formal input into, the efforts of state electoral, state constitution, and state budget reform bodies and organizations that further the cause of proportional representation, state taxation reform, and a state bank.
The Green Party proposes:
A simple majority decision-making threshold in budget matters (50% of the legislators plus one, voting for approval) rather than the current 2/3rds majority. Lowering the threshold may end budget obstruction by the minority party.
When Budget disagreement occurs, the previous year's Budget should be extended until agreement is reached --but not to exceed a maximum period of 6 months.
Regular examination of spending programs by the State Treasurer to determine whether they should be revised, reduced, or discontinued. Embedded financial experts experienced in budget matters and economics in each state agency need to monitor how taxpayer money is spent.
Regular review for potential tax loopholes.
Formulation of five-year, three-year, and one-year state and state-agency budgets to expedite planning, prioritization, and budget adjustments before deficits occur. Zero-based budgeting should be encouraged.
No borrowing against future lottery receipts
Raising the money to pay for needed infrastructure and other programs on a predominantly "pay-as-we go" basis to remove the extra costs to taxpayers of issuing new state bonds
Formation of a state bank.
Electioneering for all state candidates who demonstrate in general elections a threshold of support equivalent to that in other states with clean-money/fair-elections rules, be paid for by the state of California.
Redistricting state and California congressional electoral districts using a system of multi-member districts and proportional representation. Until such policies are implemented, converting to Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) in state elections would eliminate the need for costly election runoffs and partially redress the adverse effects of Proposition 14.
Duopoly: The Democratic and Republican Parties-so named since they conspire to rule together, exclude other political parties, and accept contributions from often the same corporations and see to the interests of the latter
Pay-as-we-go: Live within one's means with no borrowing outside the state, which mortgages the finances of future generations
Zero-based budgeting: Prioritizing what services the government will continue to operate, retain, and maintain if the budget is set at zero.
Independent Parties: Political parties not beholden to, or funded by, corporations.