Californias budget has been on shaky ground for years, even before the recent recession. Various commissions, blue-ribbon panels and reform organizations have proposed ways to ease the states budget woes by relaxing some restrictions and imposing others, but consensus has been elusive.
California Forward a bipartisan group led by former lawmakers, business leaders, union heads and civic leaders has proposed Proposition 31 to make changes it believes will improve state governance and budgeting. Such ideas rarely reach the ballot without a devoted special- interest constituency due to lack of money. But California Forward received a significant last-minute boost from billionaire Nicolas Berggruen, who previously worked with a like-minded coalition on separate ideas.
The complex proposal mainly affects two areas: the state budget and local governance. The state fiscal ideas range from doubling the budget cycle from one to two years to limiting the extent of ongoing tax cuts or spending increases. The local governance proposal is intended to persuade local governments to coordinate their services, with the promise of additional state funding as an incentive.
Organized labor and environmental groups, facing a budgeting landscape that could reduce spending, are mounting an opposition campaign.
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