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Ballot measures

May 10, 2009|Eric Bailey and Evan Halper

Proposition 1A

Would limit the growth of government spending. Would require lawmakers and the governor to boost rainy-day reserves during boom times from 5% to 12.5% of the general fund and put new restrictions on tapping the reserves. Would allow the governor to cut up to 7% from many state operations and cost-of-living adjustments. Would trigger an extension for up to two additional years of billions of dollars in recent sales, income and vehicle tax hikes.

Proponents such as the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Sheriffs' Assn. and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger say the measure would force the state to be more responsible with future finances while generating sorely needed cash for state services in the short term.

Opponents, including taxpayer groups such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., say Californians are already taxed too much. Others, such as the Service Employees International Union and Health Access California, say the spending restraints would strangle government.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 52 words Type of Material: Correction
Mental health care: The voter guide in Sunday's California section stated that Proposition 1E, which would shift some funds away from mental health programs, is opposed by the National Assn. for the Mentally Ill. The organization no longer goes by that name and now is called the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, May 17, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
Voter Guide: In the May 10 California section, the ballot-measures portion of the Voter Guide mistakenly referred to the National Alliance on Mental Illness -- an opponent of Proposition 1E -- by its former name, the National Assn. for the Mentally Ill.

Proposition 1B

Would restore $9.3 billion to schools if Proposition 1A passes. Annual "supplemental" payments to kindergarten-through-12th grade schools and community colleges would begin in 2011 to make up for recent cuts. The state would have several years to get its books in order before starting the new payments, to be drawn from the bolstered rainy-day fund.

Proponents, such as the California Teachers Assn. and the Community College League of California, say the measure would help stabilize school spending.

Opponents, such as the California Nurses Assn. and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, are fighting the measure because it can be approved only if voters also sign off on Proposition 1A. The unions say Proposition 1A would force deep cuts in other government services.

Proposition 1C

Would authorize state officials to borrow $5 billion, to be repaid by profits from a revamped state lottery. Proposes to increase profits with better marketing and bigger prizes to attract more customers. Would guarantee that money provided to schools by the lottery -- typically less than 2% of the education budget -- would come instead from the state general fund. Among the six measures, represents the biggest new revenue source for next year's budget.

Proponents, including the California Alliance for Jobs and California Business Roundtable, say that if the measure doesn't pass, lawmakers and the governor would have to make an additional $5 billion in program cuts or raise taxes by that amount, or some combination of both.

Opponents, such as the California Federation of Teachers, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and other Republican lawmakers, assert that the measure would attempt to balance the budget by encouraging gambling and could ultimately cost education some lottery profits.

Proposition 1D

Would shift about $1.7 billion away from early-childhood development programs over the next five years, using the money to help balance the state budget. That's about 70% of revenue from California Children and Families Program, established by voters in 1998 and paid for by a cigarette tax. The money would go to the general fund for health and human services programs for young children.

Proponents include the California Small Business Action Committee and the California Teachers Assn., which say the temporary cuts would prevent deeper reductions in other services for children.

Opponents, such as the California State PTA and Children Now, say it would take services away from children in need.

Proposition 1E

Would divert about $460 million over the next two years away from a mental health program established by voters in 2004, paid for with a 1% tax on personal income above $1 million. That's roughly a quarter of the program's revenues during the two years. It would be shifted to fund screening, diagnosis and treatment services for Medi-Cal patients younger than 21, including those in need of mental health help. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office says the measure would temporarily reduce money available for mental health programs.

Proponents, such as the California Taxpayers' Assn. and the California Chamber of Commerce, say the measure would use funds that have been accumulating in a reserve to prevent cuts in other mental health programs.

Opponents, including the National Association for the Mentally Ill and the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies, counter that the proposal would do lasting damage to mental health programs that were approved by voters.

Proposition 1F

Would prevent pay raises for legislators and statewide officeholders in deficit years. Near the end of each fiscal year, the state finance director would determine whether the general fund is expected to run a deficit. Declaration of a deficit would bar the California Citizens Compensation Commission from raising the salaries of top elected leaders, which now range from $116,000 for legislators to $212,000 for the governor (Schwarzenegger does not take his salary).

Proponents, such as State Sen. Abel Maldonado (R- Santa Maria) and Schwarzenegger, argue that the proposal is a common-sense, good-government reform.

Opponents, including the California Federation of Teachers and the National Assn. of Social Workers, say it would do nothing to fix the state's chronic budget problems.


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