Prop Zero
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Al Capone, Jimmy Hoffa and the California Budget

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A very smart person who has worked in public service for years, Sunne Wright McPeak, sent an email out recently touting a complicated initiative that includes various budget and local government changes.

    It comes from the California Forward Action Fund, the affiliate of the foundation-funded reform group California Forward, and is endorsed by All Right-Thinking People in California.

    So why is she underselling the measure, known as the Government Performance and Accountability Act (GPAA)?

    From the email:

    "For every voter who wants a government that regularly measures and evaluates its programs for effectiveness, the GPAA is the answer.

    "For every voter who wants to hold lawmakers accountable as part of a more transparent government, the GPAA is the answer.

    "For every voter who wants to stabilize the state budget process, enabling better decisions about how precious dollars are spent, the GPAA is the answer."

    My reaction: why stop there?

    How about: For every voter who wants everything to be just ducky, the GPAA is the answer.

    Or: For every voter who wants deficit water to be turned into budget wine...

    Or: For every voter who wants to find Jimmy Hoffa's body and Al Capone's secret treasure, the GPAA is the answer.

    Now, yes, there are a few people out there who might say that the GPAA is being oversold here, maybe just a tad. They may suggest the GPAA is not an answer but a mystery.

    That it piles on a bunch of interesting changes to the budget onto an already broken and complicated budget process -- and that the result of these changes, however well-intended they are, are impossible to predict.

    Some might say this measure doubles down on the broken governing system, and could make things worse. And some even wonder why all these well-funded elites are spending time and money doing all these little things, when a big redesign of the system is necessary.

    But fear not. Because for those doubters out there, for those who think that structural reform of the system itself, not budget changes are necessary, for those who think big reform can't wait, well...

    for them, for this year, the GPAA is the answer.

    Even if that answer isn't exactly pleasant.

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