Deja vu all over again…

It’s still worth sharing more tidbits from the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, chaired by Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, (D) earlier this week. Though the hearing was scheduled to last three hours, it ended up being twice that long — such was the passion of the stakeholders and the complexity of the fiscal topic.

A few of the governor’s proposals were raked over the coals, in some cases because the math didn’t add up to equal the level of hardship the administration would impose by cutting crucial programs. Other proposals, glimpsed through the lens of recent history, seemingly deflated on the basis of that historical fact alone.

Consider the governor’s persistence on the matters of zapping Proposition 10 and Proposition 63. Remember, these were two propositions placed before the voters in the true Democratic tradition of a) allowing folks to vote yea or nay, and b) tallying up the results and c) committing the results to official record.

Proposition 10, otherwise colloquially known for creating the First Five Commission, established programs that Californians believed were needed to help our kids get the leg-up on a world, not to mention a nation, that has been swiftly overtaking us in educating our next generations. California voters first approved it in 1998, rejected overturning it in 2000, and then later once again reiterated their approval of the program to begin nurturing and schooling children ages birth through age 5 in preparation for a robust education.

Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, was approved by the voters and, then again, last May, was also protected when voters rejected the budget initiative to raid the mental health fund to help cover the general fund deficit.

Certainly, in Yogi Berra’s terms, as someone pointed out in committee testimony, the governor’s proposals are looking like “deja vu all over again.”

County spokespeople testified it cost them $68.1 million to put the budget initiatives on the ballot last May — only to see voters reaffirm what they said they wanted in the first place. Lo and behold, that $68.1 million has yet to trickle down to the counties as reimbursement from the state for holding the May 2009 special election, though one county spokeswoman testified hopefully, “It’s in the governor’s budget now. . . for that we are grateful.”

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