Proposition 31 would change state budget process

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Proposition 31 on today’s ballot would make major changes to the state budget process, including establishing a two-year budget cycle and prohibiting the Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified.

Proposition 31 would also permit the governor to cut the budget unilaterally during fiscal emergencies if the Legislature fails to act; require performance goals in state and local budgets; require publication of all bills at least three days before a legislative vote; and give counties the power to alter state laws or regulations related to spending unless the Legislature or state agency vetoes the changes within 60 days.

The measure would result in decreased state revenues and commensurate increased local revenues, probably in the range of about $200 million annually, beginning in the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to an estimate from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos.

There is also the potential of decreased state program costs or increased state revenues. There would be increased state and local costs of tens of millions of dollars annually to implement new budgeting practices, but over time, these costs would moderate and potentially be offset by savings from improved program efficiencies, according to the estimate.

“Proposition 31 will bring accountability and transparency to state government and shift more decision making to local governments,” said Garry Toebben, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Proposition 31 will make common sense changes in how decisions are made and money is appropriated in our state capitol.”

Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell called Proposition 31 “a poorly drafted, unworkable measure that will harm our ability to properly fund our schools.”

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