Special Election Campaign More Low-Key Than Past Ballot Fights
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is travelling around California raising money and campaigning for measures on the May 19 special election ballot that he says are needed to address the state budget deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Some of the ballot measures would implement a state spending cap, borrow against future lottery revenue and two of the six measures deal specifically with health care (Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times, 4/13).
Proposition 1D would shift funds from First 5, which was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
In fiscal year 2009-2010, the measure would shift as much as $608 million in Proposition 10 revenue to the state general fund for other state health and human services programs for children who are not older than age five.Â The measure would shift as much as $268 million to the state general fund in each of the next four fiscal years.
Proposition 1E would shift $226.7 million from mental health care programs that Proposition 63 funds to the existing Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program for low-income children for two years.Â
In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which increased the state income tax on high-income Californians to fund mental health services (California Healthline, 4/9).
To date, about $7.9 million has been raised by all groups planning to campaign for or against the measures, according to disclosure forms filed with the state.Â
Campaigns opposing Propositions 1D and 1E account for a small percentage of the total (Wisckol, "Total Buzz," Orange County Register, 4/10).
The governor and his advisers are working to raise $15 million for the campaign.
According to the Times, major donations to campaigns opposing the ballot measures "could prove insurmountable," but thus far a well-funded opposition has not emerged (Los Angeles Times, 4/13).
On Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appeared with Gov. Schwarzenegger and announced his support for the full slate of ballot measures.
Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce also announced their support for the measures on Friday (Goldmacher, "CapitolAlert," Sacramento Bee, 4/10).
In addition, the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board recommended that voters approve all of the measures (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/13).
- Tom Campbell, Los Angeles Times: California is facing a budget deficit today in part because of major increases in health care spending since 1999, former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) and a potential candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010, writes in an opinion piece.Â Referring to Propositions 1D and 1E, he argues that "voters should be allowed to redirect those funds if they wish" but notes that the measures will yield only about $1 billion over two fiscal years (Campbell, Los Angeles Times, 4/12).
- George Skelton, Los Angeles Times: The battle over Propositions 1D and 1E "illustrates the problem with ballot box budgeting," Skelton writes in his "Capitol Journal" column.Â "There are many casualties on the budget battlefield," he writes, concluding, "Unfortunately, they should probably be joined by mental health and children's programs.Â Shared sacrifice." (Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 4/13).
- Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee: "The big unknown" in the special election is whether opponents of the ballot measures will raise enough money to "counter Schwarzenegger's campaign" and whether Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman -- potential candidates for the Republican gubernatorial nomination -- will finance opposition campaigns, Walters writes in his column.Â If the measures fail, Walters writes that Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders might have few options to balance the state budget aside from deeper cuts to health care and other programs (Walters, Sacramento Bee, 4/12).