The election results will have a big impact on our health care, and on the California budget. On the propositions that impact the budget, there was a little good news, and some bas news.
The passage of Proposition 25 won’t fix all our budget problems, but it will improve the budget process. No longer will a small group of legislators be able to hold the entire budget hostage, making the budget late and health providers unpaid. No longer will a small group of legislators be able to demand corporate tax breaks, that drain our budget and force additional cuts to health and other vital services. And if there is a ridiculous tax giveaway or a major cut to health care, then it will be clear who is behind that proposal and legislators will be more accountable for their decisions–they will no longer be able to blame the 2/3 vote.
The very bad news is the projected (but not finalized) passage of Proposiiton 22 & 26, which blow billion-dollar holes in the current budget, and future budgets, making our budget crisis even worse–forcing even worse cuts to vital services. Prop 26 was the closest measure of the night, and was backed by oil, tobacco and other companies to protect themselves for paying for remediate the health and environmental harm they cause. If these polluters don’t pay, taxpayers will–either in reduced services or increased taxes. It’s very unfortunate that Prop 26 passed, and we may not know the full extent of the damage it causes to the state budget–there will likely be significant litigation about the full scope of Prop 26.
The budget landscape has certainly changed. We’ll see how these changes, along with a new Governor and many new Senators and Assemblymembers, impact the budget process and the final product.