Listening to the electorate…

The headlines say the Governor heard the voters “loud and clear.” But what did he hear? It’s hard to see the message that led to Governor’s stubborn cuts-only approach and amazingly reckless proposals to wholesale eliminate Healthy Families, Cal Grants, CalWORKS, state funding for parks, and other key programs.

After all, the voters didn’t just reject the propositions that would have made cuts to health and other vital services (Prop 1D for children’s services, Prop 1E for mental health), but those initiatives got the lowest vote totals of any of the measures.

There’s a poll out reported on by John Wildemuth of the San Francisco Chronicle and by David Greenwald at the California Progress Report suggests that it wasn’t anti-tax revolt that the Governor and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is pretending it is… if that wasn’t obvious from the record low turnout.

People voted against Proposition 1A for lots of reasons… while some voted against the spending cap, some voted against the taxes that were linked, and some voted against gimmicks and being asked to do the job of the Legislature, and against being offered such narrow options.

In the same poll by David Binder where voters reaffirm their opposition to Proposition 1A and the other measures on the ballot, they say they want to protect health and education and other key services, and they support a range of revenue options.

“The lesson coming away from this election is that Californians want real solutions that protect the services the state provides, and that Californians are willing to explore revenue options to pay for the services they want,” Binder said. “Voters are not against all tax increases; they did not oppose Prop. 1A because of taxes. They are looking for a balanced approach that shares the burden and moves the state forward.”

And again, let’s remember that Prop 1A was a sequel to Proposition 76, the “Live Within Our Means” Act in 2005, that got 36% of the vote. Proposition 1A got a similarly bad vote. So it is ironic that the Governor uses the “live within our means” rhetoric to justify proposals to cut coverage for 2 million Californians.

The message was to tell the policymakers to get back to work, protect key priorities, and come up with a balanced solution to the budget. The Governor’s proposal is completely contrary.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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