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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Proposition 31 Rejected

Danny Lee |
November 7, 2012 | 2:26 a.m. PST

Senior Staff Reporter

California voters rejected Proposition 31 by a wide margin Tuesday night. (Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
California voters rejected Proposition 31 by a wide margin Tuesday night. (Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
California voters rejected a ballot measure whose supporters claim would bring more accountability and transparency to state government.

Proposition 31, which would have required a three-day review period for new legislation before lawmakers vote on it, fell at the ballot box by a 2-to-3 ratio Tuesday. California Forward, a bipartisan reform group that includes former Assembly speaker Robert Hertzberg, was responsible for placing the measure on the ballot.

Had it passed, Prop. 31 would have moved California's budget cycle from a one- to two-year period and allocated additional state sales tax revenues to local governments. It would have also reigned in spending by requiring the legislature to identify spending cuts and revenue sources to offset expenditures of more than $25 million.

Supporters have made the argument that failure to pass Prop. 31 means hundreds of millions of dollars will continue to be wasted to the detriment of schools and law enforcement.

But despite having wealthy backers on its side, the Prop. faced an uphill struggle to generate momentum. A Field poll released in October showed that opponents outnumbered supporters two to one, while roughly one-third of voters remained undecided.

Opponents of the measure cited the lack of checks and balances in an initiative that would allow the governor unilateral power to make cuts during a fiscal emergency.

As Heath Access of California Executive Director Anthony Wright put it in the Sacramento Bee, "For a measure that is supposed to be about accountability and transparency, Proposition 31 goes in the opposite direction."

Investor Nicolas Berggruen was Prop. 31's most influential financial backer, having donated more than $1.6 million to support the measure.

Prop. 31's opponents included the California League of Conservation Voters, California Federation of Teachers and the Peace Officers Research Association of California.



Prop 31: Can A Two-Year Budget Save California?


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of the California Propositions here.

Reach Senior Staff Reporter Danny Lee here; follow him here.



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