Perhaps because I only watch local television when I’m doing cardio at the gym, I have yet to see an ad urging California citizens to vote against the budget measures on next week’s state ballot. I have seen a plethora of publicity promoting the six propositions, including (snail) mailings I’ve received.
Despite all that, all but one of the propositions trails in the polls. And that proposition, 1-F, would “bar legislative and statewide constitutional officers from receiving pay raises when the state is running a budget deficit.” Despite the contentions of the Governor (who favors the measure) and his publicity team, the people know the remaining measures, if adopted, would not restore responsible budgeting in the Golden State, but would instead cede greater power to legislators and other officials in Sacramento.
Passage of these propositions, particularly Prop 1-A, given its confusing language, would likely mean further tax hikes in the Golden State, but without any significant budgetary restraint. Should these propositions fail, it would sign that the issues which motivated those of us who participated in the Tea Party protests resonate with voters.
As such, next Tuesday’s balloting will be the first real electoral test of the Tea Party Movement. This is the first time since people started rallying last February to protest the ever-increasing size of government that voters have a clear choice about bloated government budgets on the ballot.*
As Hugh puts it:
If the tax hikes are rejected by large margins next week, the country’s political elite ought to study that result closely. Despite huge spending margins and despite a thin veneer of bipartisanship, the tax hike gang is getting thumped because the electorate is saying –no, shouting– “Enough!” . . . .On social issues, the California [electorate] is evenly split, as the narrow victory for traditional marriage this past fall demonstrated.But there is a sizeable majority in favor of a radical change in the way government operates. The anger directed at Arnold and his tax-raising, free-spending pals is fueled by the genuine hardships brought about by the panic in the fall and the drop in home prices. Every business and almost all families have had to make painful cuts and downsize or postpone dreams.But not the state government. And that has ignited the voter revolt underway that will culminate next week.
Should these measures fail, as polls now indicate they will, we’ll have tangible evidence of that revolt, evidence that the issues which fueled the Tea Party protests over the past few months resonate with voters in one of the bluest states of the union.
They’ll have no choice but to hear us in Sacramento, but will they hear us in other state capitals and in Washington?
*Republican Jim Tedisco may well have lost the New York special election to replace Kristen Gillibrand in the House because he waffled on the President’s “stimulus.” Had he clearly come out against that spendthrift measure, he may have been better able to define the differences between himself and his eventually victorious opponent.