The findings of a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of Californai should put a chill through the heart of any Californian with a memory that extends more than, oh, about eight months.
The voters are back, and they want to make budget decisions again.
Hide the women and children. And the University of California while you're at it.
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I could tell you all about past ballot initiatives to mandate spending and limit taxes, about how voters themselves constructed the unworkable budget system via initiatives and constitutional amendments over the past three decades. But instead let me boil down the history of budget decisions made by California voters into one sentence:
When voters here make budget decisions, the budget gets worse.
For evidence of that, you need to go all the way back to the November 2010 elections. At the time, voters said they were worried about the budget. And they were so worried they went out and passed ballot propositions that added an estimated $2 billion to the budget deficit.
But, like vampires who have tasted blood but want more, they are back to feed on the financial future. Or would be -- if Gov. Brown and the legislature would let them.
Seventy-six percent of likely voters in the PPIC survey say that voters should make some of the decisions about taxing and spending; only 21 percent of likely voters want to leave those decisions to their elected representatives.
And 62 percent of likely voters want a special election on Brown's temporary tax extensions.
But even though they want the election, most voters don't support the piece of Brown's plan that would address the budget deficit -- the temporary taxes they would decide upon in a special election.