October 29th, 2004

Focused

Ballot Proposition Summary

Notes on my biases regarding propositions:

By default, unless I can see a really good argument in favor of a proposition, I vote NO. I don't like cluttering up the CA Constitution with silly things, and in an ideal world this kind of stuff ought to be done by our legislature (though I recognize that in many cases, they're terrified of taking strong stands for fear of coming out on the wrong side of public opinion and losing their jobs; easier to just let it go on the ballot and test public opinion directly).

I don't like earmarks, in which a tax is permanently designated for a particular purpose; these taxes are often volatile, which is bad in years where the tax generates a lot of money because it prevents the legislature from shifting the income to other purposes, and potentially even worse in years where the tax under-produces because it becomes politically difficult to move money in from the general fund, because "we already funded it under Prop XYZ". Earmarks are marginally less evil if the funding source is directly tied to the thing being funded.

Lastly, I generally think a bond issue ought to provide the state some kind of benefit. Otherwise, it's like taking out a mortgage to buy somebody else a house -- a nice gesture, but not terribly wise.

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That's all, folks. I'm voting Democratic across the board for the federal and state-leg positions. I haven't had time to make up my mind on the judicial position, the school board, or the local measures -- locals who have opinions on those are welcome to comment.

Friends posting on these matters (let me know if you want to be added): jrtom.
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