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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. … Continue reading »

A New Approach on Public Safety

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | October 20, 2009

Californians are beginning to appreciate that our prison system is deeply flawed and unsustainable.  But the prisons are only the center of a whole way of imagining public safety that has dominated California for nearly 40 years and which has left us badly positioned to confront the risks we face in this new century.  We … Continue reading »

A top ten list of what ails California with which almost everyone agrees

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | October 19, 2009

What ails California? Let me count the ways: 1. A two-thirds voting requirement for new taxes and for budgets, 2. Legislative districts that are apportioned so that they’re either Democratic or Republican – resulting in the extremes running against more moderates in primaries, and summoning enough votes to get in, 3. Initiatives that, over the … Continue reading »

Repeal or Re-write Prop 13

Richard Abrams, professor emeritus of history | October 17, 2009

California voters have a long history of shooting themselves in the foot.  Prop 13 is one calamity, especially the provision that requires a 2/3 legislative vote to pass a budget.  (The tax provisions are obscenely unfair, but that’s a different issue.)  Term limits is a second crippling measure.  What ails California?  In a nut-shell, lack … Continue reading »

The representation gap

Irene Bloemraad, professor of sociology | October 13, 2009

Californians will need to change the rules of the political game to get state politics back on track.  Allowing simple majority voting in the legislature on budgets and taxes is a good start.  Reforming the way we draw the lines around electoral districts could also help.  If political parties had fewer safe seats, they might move … Continue reading »

Let’s tax and spend smarter

Ben Hermalin, professor of economics and finance | October 10, 2009

The drop in state spending is exacerbating the recession. Beyond getting the states to spend more now, we need to think about how to make state spending more resilient to downturns going forward. A more sensible approach to taxes will help.