This article was originally published in Partisan issue no. 27, printed April 2009.

May 19, 2009 Special Election
California Nurses Association Voter Guide
Nurses Say NO to Arnold's Takeaways!

The California budget shortfall and subsequent impasse ended in a budget deal that included six propositions to be voted on May 19, 2009 in a Special Election.

The six propositions would lock into place the ability of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make major cuts in vital healthcare services while failing to secure stable revenue increases from corporate interests in California. Further, the closed door process that led to this deal, in which a small minority of the legislature was able to force huge cuts while writing in permanent new corporate tax loopholes, demonstrates that real changes are needed to the outmoded budget process in California, not gimmicks or cuts that disproportionately affect our most vulnerable state residents.

For these reasons, the California Nurses Association opposes all the measures on May Special Election ballot on policy and process. Join us in saying NO to Arnold and protecting Californians.

Proposition 1A - Spending Cap: Oppose.
Would require the state to make annual contributions to a budget reserve until the balance in the reserve reaches 12.5 percent of General Fund revenues. Prop 1A is touted by its proponents as the way to bring stability to the state budget process. However, it would actually make enacting budgets that meet California's needs and address state priorities more difficult. It would amend the state Constitution to dictate restrictions on the use of funds put into the reserve and limit how unanticipated revenues can be used in good years. It could lock in a reduced level of public services by not taking proper account of the states changing demographics and actual growth in costs. Prop 1A would also give the governor new power to make budget cuts without legislative oversight. Prop 1A came from a deeply flawed process that as a result Prop A was written in quickly and without public input or analysis. Prop 1A would make permanent changes to the states Constitution and would have major implications for future budgeting. A good analysis is available from the California Budget Project,

Proposition 1B - Prop 98 Payment: Oppose.
Contingent on Prop 1A passing. Would take effect only if Prop 1A is also passed. This measure requires the state to make $9.3 billion in supplemental payments to K-14 education over five to six years beginning in 2011-12, ostensibly to address uncertainty about Prop. 98 school funding guarantees. CNA supports full funding of public education and supports restoring the devastating cuts of recent years. But CNA does not support Prop 1B in lieu of proper payment under the Prop 98 guarantee. The legislature has the power to make education funding a priority and not tie funding to a spending cap as proposed with Prop 1A.

Proposition 1C - Lottery Securitization: Oppose.
A borrowing gimmick. Prop 1C makes major changes to the 1984 California Lottery initiative that would permit the state to borrow $5 billion in the 2009-10 fiscal year from future lottery profits and more from lottery profits in future years. The lottery would no longer be a source of revenue for education, and the state General Fund would be required to make up for the loss to education of lottery funds. Under Prop. 1C, lottery profits now dedicated to schools and colleges would be used to pay back the borrowing. The nonpartisan Legislative Analysts Office warns that long term, lottery profits probably would not cover the higher payments to education required by Prop 1C, making this initiative a very risky gamble for students and Californians.

Proposition 1D - Redirection of Prop 10 Funds: Oppose.
Shifts money from Prop. 10, the 1998 voter approved initiative to tax tobacco for early childhood education programs, to the state General Fund. Under Prop 1D, $608 million would be diverted in 2009-10 and $268 million a year for the following four years, creating the illusion that more revenues are available. In reality, Prop 1D raids these funds in the short term in order to pay for some services, while taking funding away from other services. This measure is shortsighted and harmful for our children.

Proposition 1E - Redirection of Prop 63 Funds: Oppose.
Shifts money Prop. 63, the 2004 voter approved mental health services initiative, to the state General Fund. For the next two years, Prop. 1E would redirect about $230 million a year from the Mental Health Services Act to the state General Fund to replace state funding for an existing screening, diagnosis and treatment program. As with Prop 1D, it raids existing programs to create temporary savings, but makes less money available for some essential services and could result in the loss of federal matching funds. Like Prop. 1D, this measure is shortsighted and harmful for our most vulnerable population.

Proposition 1F - Legislative Pay: Oppose.
Would prohibit the California Compensation Commission from increasing the salaries of elected officials during budget deficit years. This punitive initiative was the ransom for one legislators vote for the entire defective budget deal, and does not reflect a serious effort to fix a broken system. CNA is opposed to this measure on principal that the entire May 2009 Special Election is flawed and the incorrect way to budget for California's needs.

Reprinted by permission from the website of California Nurses Association

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