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Proposition 31 Could Mean A Shift From State To County For Spending, Oversight

Aired 10/30/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST

Thad Kousser, political science professor, UC San Diego

Transcript

There is so much going on in Proposition 31, a measure that would change the state constitution, some might find it hard to have strong feelings for or against it.

But one group, California Forward, does not fall into that category. It sponsored the ballot measure and is working to get it passed.

The non-parisan group funded by nonprofit organizations has put measures on the ballot before, including the citizens' redistricting commission, said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at UC San Diego.

"They've taken the incremental approach, let's not burn our Constitution and re-write it, let's fix it one little step at a time," he said. "So this set of six steps is their next step toward reforming California government by piecemeal process."

Here are the major provisions of Proposition 31, according to California's non-partisian Legislative Analysts office:

Changes To Local Government Oversight

Proposition 31 would authorize and fund local government plans in place of state programs to oversee public programs such as economic development, education, social services, public safety and public health.

Local governments could choose how to spend property tax revenues with a two-thirds majority vote of its governing board. This would replace the current system in which the state allocates property tax dollars to counties and determines how they are spent.

Changes To State Legislative Process

State legislators would not be able pass some bills that increase the state’s budget by more than $25 million without identifying a funding source.

If the state is in a fiscal emergency and the legislature fails to act within 45 days, the Governor could act unilaterally to cut the state’s general fund.

The state budget would be set for two years rather than annually beginning in 2015. During the second year of the state budget process, the legislature would be tasked with evaluating state-run programs. During this time, the state legislature would be restricted from passing most legislation.

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