Thursday, November 19, 2009

Larger Spending Initiatives Politico's Fault?

The Oakland Tribune reminds us that the vast majority of spending measures placed on the ballot over the years were put on the ballot by the state legislature, not individuals or "special interests". While I get the feeling the gist of story might have been to shed more dirt on the legislature, I don't feel that case can really be made. I'm not saying the legislature shouldn't be blamed but the voters passed those measures so they share at least equal blame.

Besides, might it make sense if you're proposing spending a bunch of money to pass it by the people who will be spending the money, never mind it being a good way to spread the blame around if the measure gets passed?

The story also includes changes to the initiative system some in the legislature are recommending. I don't have a problem taking a look at all of them, even that one where the citizen generated initiative gets run through the legislature before it can make it on the ballot. Of course, that almost seems a case of having the fox being put in charge of guarding the hen house, doesn't it?

One reform I'd like to make, both to the initiative system and the legislature in general, would be to make it so any initiative- or law- proposed, be able to fit on to a single 8 1/2 x 14" legal size piece of paper and still have room for signatures ( in the case of ballot initiatives). Seems to me if the text of an initiative takes up more space than that, it probably shouldn't be made into law in the first place. I doubt any of the powers- that- be would be interested in pursuing a reform like that, would they?

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