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Legislation Targets "Ballot Box Budgeting"

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The legislation would require ballot initiatives that cost money to specify a new funding source.  Exceptions would include initiatives involving bonds and those costing less than five million dollars.  Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto (got-oh) helped write the constitutional amendment.  He says it's designed to get rid of unfunded mandates created by the electorate:

"This measure would simply put in the constitution that there is no more such thing as an unfunded mandate put in place by a ballot measure that puts in place a program without identifying how it's going to pay for it."

Critics include taxpayer groups, who point out that lawmakers already have the ability to suspend many voter-approved initiatives.  Lew Uhler is with the National Tax Limitation Committee:

"We feel that this is truly an affront to the initiative process and the people's right to change government through the action and power of the people." 
The bill would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature and approval by voters.
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