It's my familiar refrain: What the hell is a California voter to do? Why the hell do we have all these Propositii and Measures on the ballots?
How do the masses decide these things? Shit, this pro-proletarian is scared, since NPR recently broadcast some random interviews with residents of Washington D.C. about the population of the USA and people gave answers like "2 million" and "15 million". I hate to sound all uppity and snobbish about this, but how the hell do we expect these same kinds of people to make fiscal and legal decisions? Holy crap.
I mean, look at all this:
- 1A: Transportation Funding Protection. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.
- 1B: Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Bond Act of 2006.
- 1C: Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006.
- 1D: Kindergarten–University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2006.
- 1E: Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006.
- 83: Sex Offenders. Sexually Violent Predators. Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring. Initiative Statute.
- 84: Water Quality, Safety and Supply. Flood Control. Natural Resource Protection. Park Improvements. Bonds. Initiative Statute.
- 85: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
- 86: Tax on Cigarettes. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
- 87: Alternative Energy. Research, Production, Incentives. Tax on California Oil Producers. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
- 88: Education Funding. Real Property Parcel Tax. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
- 89: Political Campaigns. Public Financing. Corporate Tax Increase. Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Limits. Initiative Statute.
- 90: Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Good thing I don't have cable TV: thus, I can spend my evenings kicked back with a cup of Darjeeling, reading my hefty "Voter Guide" instead of watching Nip/Tuck or Project Runway (damn, is the season over!?).
My biggest dilemmas are the bond acts. Bonds, Bonds, Bonds.
Public Education Facilities? Flood Prevention? Emergency Shelters? Who can vote against those! I guess it just worries me that it seems like interest payments on these bonds will only dig the state into a deeper and deeper budget crisis. How much interest is assessed on almost $40-billion of bonds over thirty years? Do we just assume the state economy will grow at a pace that will more than allow payment of all this interest?
Am I just plain thinking too hard? Will I hold my nose, check all the bond "YES" boxes on my absentee ballot, and let some future wonks worry about the fiscal impact? Probably.
Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times recently wrote a great column describing all the federal income tax sucked out of California, but not returned via federal funding. Apparently, the disparity between our tax contribution and federal funds returned has gotten worse over the last ten years. Obviously, I realize there are reasons why a "rich" state often subsidizes poorer ones (I'm usually all about the wealth redistribution), but Lopez makes some good points about whether California is getting the federal shaft in some ways, especially when we're floating all these bond acts.
In the end, if I vote for all this, I figure it's just someone else's future I'm mortgaging. Fuck the voter guide. Pass the Netflix.