Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Two years ago, Democratic politicians and their union allies placed a measure on the ballot to eliminate California’s requirement of a two-thirds legislative vote for state budgets – but that’s not what they told voters.

The campaign for the measure, Proposition 25, focused instead on the palpable – albeit overwrought – public anger over the Legislature’s bad habit of producing budgets weeks or even months after the constitutional deadline.

In effect, Democratic legislators were exploiting their own unpopularity by including a provision that lawmakers would lose their salaries if they failed to meet the deadline.

Proposition 25’s opponents – conservative, anti-tax groups mostly – said it was a sham argument. But it worked. Proposition 25 passed.

Months later, when the salary-loss provision was invoked by state Controller John Chiang, the Legislature’s Democratic leaders responded with cries of outrage and a lawsuit, culminating in a judge’s ruling that only legislators themselves could decide whether their budgets met constitutional criteria.

A sham, indeed.

This morsel of political history is offered because of what’s happening this year vis-à-vis Proposition 32, which reverses the political sides.

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