As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prop 1A: Boxer Endorses, No Side Releases TV Ad

Barbara Boxer made it pretty clear in a news conference at the California Democratic Party convention that she and Dianne Feinstein would be studying the ballot measures and offering a joint statement on them in the near future. As it turns out, with a week to go, she broke with DiFi, who has made no public pronouncement, and quietly endorsed Props. 1A and 1B yesterday.

"California’s budget process is broken," Boxer announced. "It’s time for California to join the vast majority of states and reform the two-thirds requirement for adopting the budget.

"However, until we make this crucial reform, I will be supporting Propositions 1A and 1B on the May 19 ballot. These two measures will help get California back on track, while protecting our investment in education.”

I heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger misspelled "track" in the initial release for Boxer, and she had to re-release it.

The relative lack of fanfare around this announcement, and Boxer's unwillingness to make her opinion clear on any of the other measures, suggests that Boxer just wanted to fulfill her obligation to say something in the most silent way possible. She doesn't want to back the whole loser of the ballot and doesn't want to impinge upon her Democratic colleagues in the legislature who put together the deal. That's about it.

Meanwhile, No on 1A released a TV ad for the final week, and I'm a bit baffled by its middle-ground focus on "porkbarrel spending" that may result from the way the spending cap and reserve fund are structured. It's true that money in the reserve fund could only be used for one-time spending like infrastructure and debt service, and that does significantly change the model for how the state gets funded, with ongoing services getting sucked dry. I don't know if I would characterize that as "pork-barrel" spending, necessarily. The ad does hit the fact that 1A won't kick in on the revenue side for two years, so framing it as a response to the current crisis strains credulity. The larger frame here is of Prop. 1A as a complex proposal full of loopholes that will not meet its intended goals.

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