Spending Measures Could Face More Difficulty
State voters' rejection on Tuesday of initiatives to fund library construction projects and increase the state income tax on high income residents to fund universal preschool suggests steeper odds at passing bond measures and other initiatives dealing with state spending on the November ballot, some political consultants say, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The November statewide ballot will include bond measures totaling about $47 billion to fund state infrastructure projects (Mehta/Morain, Los Angeles Times, 6/8). In addition, supporters of an initiative to increase the state tobacco tax by $2.60 per pack of cigarettes to fund health programs have submitted an estimated 1.1 million signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. The tax, which would raise the combined per-pack tax to $3.47, is expected to generate about $2.1 billion annually (California Healthline, 5/5).
According to the Times, voters statewide rejected about half of about 60 local school bonds, and San Diego County voters approved one hospital bond but rejected another.
Low voter turnout could account for the defeat of the spending measures, some political experts say.
However, former Sen. Dede Alpert (D-San Diego) said, "It really may signal that for California voters, who have put up with lots of stuff being put on the ballot, maybe this really is a turning point."
Democratic consultant Roy Behr said, "Each time one [tax measure] passes, it makes it harder to pass the next one." He added, "There is a growing sense that we've gone too far with ballot-box budgeting" (Los Angeles Times, 6/8).