Measures 1A-1F

Yes on 1A (extending tax increases).
Maybe on 1B (restoring school funding).
No on 1C (borrowing against future lottery revenues).
Yes on 1D and 1E (cancelling guaranteed funding streams for children’s programs and mental health).
No on 1F (a meaningless insult directed at the legislature.)

Friends are asking how I plan to vote on the California ballot measures tomorrow.

As far as I can tell, I doesn’t matter, since they’re all going down big except the meaningless 1F, which simply gives a symbolic middle-finger salute to the Legislature.

But 1A, which extends some tax increases for two years, at least has something to do with restoring the state’s fiscal balance, so I’m voting for it, despite the restrictions on spending. 1B, which restores some education funding, makes the fiscal picture worse; it’s a hard choice because California public education is so badly underfunded.

1C is essentially borrowing against furture lottery revenues and spending all the money this year, which digs the permanent hole even deeper. I’m agin’ it.

1D and 1E take money previously allocated for specific purposes — the tobacco settlement money for children’s programs and the millionaires’ income surtax for mental health. Those constitutional earmarks, passed by initiative, are part of what got the state into its current fiscal mess, so I’m inclined to vote to get rid of them.

To summarize:

1A Yes

1B ?

1C No

1D Yes

1E Yes

1F No

Once the measures fail, the only hope is that Barack Obama will come in and play the role of the IMF: “Here’s a bunch of Federal dollars you can have if and only if you change the two-thirds rule and eliminate the Prop. 13 rip-off for business.” It might even work.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: