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One of the most harmful impacts of Proposition 13, originally passed in 1978, (California_Proposition) has been the requirement that 2/3 of the state legislature must agree to pass a state budget or increase taxes—unlike most normal laws that require only a simple majority. This means that a small number of the legislators can ‘hold the budget hostage’ by refusing to support it even if the majority has agreed to pass it. During a period of growing wealth disparity between the very rich and the rest of us, and a period where public services are less available to those who need them most, this ‘supermajority rule’ leads the small minority to win huge giveaways, whether or not the majority of legislators believe those are the correct decisions for the state as a whole. Desperate legislative leaders must give in to the hostage takers or risk government shutdown or state bankruptcy.
In 2010 CAUSE joined with the California Calls and its coalition partners to support Proposition 25, which sought to change the law so that state budgets could be passed with a simple majority. Working toward that end, in a six-month period CAUSE outreach workers contacted over 23,000 voters in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, to explain Proposition 25 and encourage them to vote in the 2010 General Election. Proposition 25 passed by 300 votes in Ventura County, by almost 9,000 votes in Santa Barbara and passed statewide with over 55% of the vote.
Learn more about upcoming tax reform ballot measures coming up in 2012 and how you can get involved in CAUSE Civic Engagement Project.