You might be sorely afraid of the cutbacks that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators warn they will have to impose if the budget-related propositions on this ballot do not pass. For that matter, the latest estimate of state revenues indicates more cuts will come this summer even if all the measures do pass.
For sure, if most of the proposition package goes down, draconian slashes will be almost sure to follow. The only way to avoid them would be by imposing more new taxes or fees, and if Proposition 1A loses, that would send a pretty strong message from voters who don't want any of that and would be sure to nix any further tax propositions submitted to them in some future special election. Plus, the few Republicans who voted for this package against their party's wishes have made it known those votes were it, basta, no more, no mas; any further budget problems would have to be solved with reduced spending.
What programs might be lopped if most of what's on this ballot loses? Expect some state parks to close, at least temporarily. Expect a further suspension of the program allowing elderly homeowners to postpone paying property taxes until their places are sold. Expect Medi-Cal cuts, even to the extent of denying vaccinations to poor children. Expect longer waits for court cases to be heard as funding for the legal system will drop. Expect fewer firefighters to respond to wildfires this summer and fall, with additional billions of dollars in property damages the consequence. Expect shorter hours at Department of Motor Vehicles offices.
And that's just for starters. Sure, there's waste in government. This column last winter documented at least $200 million in pure waste by the state prison system and the people running the prisons still have made no changes.
But finding $15 billion worth of waste is a whole other question.
This all explains why voters should not be treating the special election like they do most off-year votes. So much is at stake here for so many Californians that if voters stay away from the polls this time, plenty of those who don't vote will suffer unpleasant consequences
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