Paul Gann may have surpassed his previous pernicious capacity--including Proposition 13--for raining damage down on government in California when he concocted his latest initiative measure, the so-called California Fair Pay Amendment on the November ballot. The extent of potential harm is difficult to assess because, as is usual with Gann, the initiative is filled with ambiguities and conflicting language.
There is no doubt, however, that Proposition 61 would turn California into a second-class, or no-class, state when it comes to the public services that the people demand, expect and deserve.
Proposition 61 would put a constitutional limit of $80,000 a year on the governor's salary, $52,500 for other statewide officeholders and $64,000 for every other appointed public official in California. Elected officials' pay could be changed only by a vote of the people. For appointed state officials it would take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.
Extensive court action would be needed to sort out just what it would do. Gann, for example, would specifically limit "salaries" of the governor and other state officials but "compensation" for local officeholders and appointed state officials. Does compensation include health, retirement and other employment benefits? If so, the effective salary lid might be as low as the $40,000 range.