What’s Next for California?

In a post in the New York Times’ Room for Debate forum today, CBP Executive Director Jean Ross examines how Tuesday’s election outcomes will influence the state’s uniquely dysfunctional budget process.

On Tuesday, voters gave the thumbs up to Proposition 25, which reduces the votes needed to pass a state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority. At the same time, voters also reduced the flexibility the Legislature needs to achieve a balanced budget solution by passing Propositions 22 and 26. How is the Governor-elect going to close the current shortfall, currently at $10 billion and counting? As Jean writes, the answers won’t come easy. But voter education and engagement need to be part of the solution. Polls, including this recent one by the Pew Center on the States and the Public Policy Institute of California, show many voters’ perceptions of the budget and state spending don’t jive with reality. As Jean writes, “Voters need to understand that without additional revenues, schools and other public structures essential to healthy communities and a vibrant economy will deteriorate. With adequate investments, California’s best days are yet to come.”

Read the full text of the Room for Debate blog post here.

— Lisa Gardiner