To continue our theme from eariler this week, the topic of balancing the budget, many students failed to do so successfully without some raising of taxes. Governor Brown promised in his campaign that he would not raise taxes without the voters approval. The California legislature must pass all taxes with a two-thirds majority. The Governor currently is proposing to have the state legislature vote to put a measure on the ballot this June that would extend taxes increased under Arnold Schwarzenegger that would otherwise expire in July. The Governor has a plan to cut spending even further (mainly in education) to balance the budget should these taxes not be extended. Click here to see what the results to budget would look like. Recently, a state senator was quoted as saying that Republicans will not vote to put the tax measure on the June ballot. Since Democrats are a majority of the legislature, they need only two or three Republican votes (depending on an upcoming special election) to pass the measure with two-thirds in the State Senate.
Since we are a representative democracy, our legislature is elected to vote on budgets, taxes, laws, etc. But we also have the inititative and referendum which allow California voters to directly pass laws, taxes, and other concerns affecting the state.
So here are the questions:
Should lawmakers directly vote on the taxes for us? (meaning have them vote yes or no) or is this a topic that citizens should get to decide? (whether or not you would vote for it) explain why
What influence do constituents have on their local state senators and assemblypersons that might impact the budget and/or this measure being placed on the ballot? (what could someone do, if anything)
If the measures are placed on the ballot in June, seeing what the consequences are (linked above), what are your thoughts? You may discuss how you might vote, but if that is private to you, then discuss the consequence of either the tax increase or the cut in spending or both.