stablishes two-year state budget cycle. Prohibits Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified. Permits Governor to cut budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies if Legislature fails to act. Requires performance reviews of all state programs. Requires performance goals in state and local budgets. Requires publication of all bills at least three days prior to legislative vote. Gives counties power to alter state statutes or regulations related to spending unless Legislature or state agency vetoes changes within 60 days. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government:
Decreased state revenues and commensurate increased local revenues, probably in the range of about $200 million annually, beginning in 2013-14. Potential decreased state program costs or increased state revenues resulting from changes in the fiscal authority of the Legislature and Governor. Increased state and local costs of tens of millions of dollars annually to implement new budgeting practices. Over time, these costs would moderate and potentially be offset by savings from improved program efficiencies. (11-0068)
Call it the ballot measure that does multiple things, all under the umbrella of “governance.”
Drafted by a think tank government reform group, and qualified for the ballot by signature gathering financed by a billionaire, Prop 31 would make changes to both government operations on the state level in Sacramento and in local governments across California.
In Sacramento, Prop 31 would require legislators to write two year budget plans, make sure bills are not drafted and approved in the dead of night, and expand the governor’s power to cut spending without legislative approval. On the local level, it would allow flexibility to spend tax dollars on local – not state—priorities.
That’s a lot in one measure, and polls show as many as a third of voters don’t know they feel about Prop 31. Some items – like more transparency in legislative bill writing – are universally praised. But items like expanded gubernatorial power (which was part of an initiative championed by Gov. Schwarzenegger and rejected in 2005) and exemption for locals from state regulations have drawn stiff opposition.
Prop 31 is also the longest of all the initiatives on the ballot, a testament to its many moving parts.