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Vote NO on all initiatives

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | October 24, 2009

One of the biggest problems facing California today is the huge fraction of the state budget that is committed to funding or servicing the debt on initiatives passed by voters. While many of these are worthy when viewed in isolation, it’s a truly insane way to carve up what is a limited pot of money. The legislature – dysfunctional as it may sometimes be – needs to be able to craft a budget that represents the the true needs of the state and the spending priorities of its citizens, and not be held hostage to the free-spending whims of the electorate.

No matter how good an initiative may seem – to build schools, fund research into deadly diseases or preserve our parks – the best way to secure these things for the long haul is to vote no. So as a first step towards restoring budgetary sanity to California, I would like everyone in the state to join me in pledging to VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING.

Comments to “Vote NO on all initiatives

  1. professor eisen, i urge to read richard walker’s blog post on a “new New Deal,” which suggests that spending can actually increase market demand and health

  2. I agree with Ruchira. Vote no on everything? That doesn’t seem to be a good way to run such a big state. What needs to happen in California is what needs to happen in America: Some people need to figure out how we came into such a large amount of debt. It’s only the understanding of the deficit that can give us a clue as to how to get out from under it.

  3. You would think it would be safe to vote no on everything, but this is unfortunately not true. In 1999, the California state legislature passed, and Gov. Davis signed, AB 1309/SB 1237 “The Fair Insurance Responsibility Act”, allowing consumers to sue insurance companies that deny, delay, or “low-ball” insurance claims resulting from a collision. But the insurance industry got two propositions onto the March 7, 2000 ballot: Prop. 31, a referendum on this act, and Prop. 30, a watered-down version of the act that the insurance industry liked better. The descriptions of these propositions didn’t even get mailed out in the regular ballot pamphlet, but in a separate supplementary one. These propositions were so confusing that the voters rejected both of them–so the insurance industry succeeded in overturning regulation it didn’t like.

    I’m afraid that only a state constitutional convention will do. California needs a reboot.

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