Prop. 76 Would Revamp Strapped State Finances

Mayor Al Pinheiro says the measure will balance the
state budget
Gilroy – The League of California Cities has endorsed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s effort to take control of the state budget, but only after the governor made veiled threats that cities up and down the state will suffer most if voters don’t approve Proposition 76 on Nov. 8.

The league voted 135-124 to support the measure, which would give the governor the ability to unilaterally cut the state budget and make some school and community college funding now guaranteed by state law subject to annual review.

The vote came after Schwarzenegger warned municipal officials that budget decisions would be made at the expense of local governments if the measure doesn’t pass.

“I’ve already been informed in Sacramento that that’s the very money they’re going to after next year if they don’t have the money,” the governor said. “Remember, they can. The state can still borrow that money.”

The city of Gilroy has not taken an official position, but Mayor Al Pinheiro said Monday that he supports the measure because it would force the state legislature to balance the state budget.

“On a personal note, I endorse anything that will bring us in controlling expenditures versus revenues,” the mayor said. “The number on thing is to put the legislature in a position where they start minding what goes in and comes out.”

Before the league’s endorsement, the measure, which the governor has called the centerpiece of his “year of reform” agenda, had been criticized by the democratic mayors of Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco and is showing scant support among voters.

A poll released last month by the Public Policy Institute of California showed 63 percent of voters opposed the measure and just 26 percent supporting it.

The measure, dubbed the “Live Within Our Means Act” by supporters, would limit state spending to an average of the previous three years’ revenue.

Democrats and their allied labor unions have campaigned forcefully against Proposition 76, saying it would slash education funding to unacceptable levels and give the governor too much say over spending decisions.

“Our state can’t afford Prop. 76 because it makes a bad situation worse in Sacramento,” said Kathy Steinberg, director of education with the California PTA. “It does away with any incentives for the governor and the legislature to work together.”

Leave your comments