“Brown, for his part, has made some promising suggestions. He supports Proposition 25, the ballot measure that would enable the Legislature to pass a budget with a majority — rather than the current two-thirds — vote. He wants to require initiatives to identify the funding sources that will pay for the programs they establish. He recently suggested, as a way to break budgetary impasses should Proposition 25 fail, putting the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ final budget plans before the voters — presumably, every year — and letting the voters pick one.
“These are creative ideas, but they amount to just a fraction of the reforms required to make California government work again. As Joe Mathews and Mark Paul have suggested in their important new book, ‘California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It,’ California needs to strengthen the power of its Legislature to legislate by requiring simple majorities for both budgets and tax increases. It needs to make its government less bewildering and more accountable by shifting to a unicameral legislature, centering executive power in the governor (partly by eliminating other elected statewide offices), and abolishing the thousands of boards and special districts that only serve to obfuscate policymaking in the state. It needs to make it harder to qualify initiatives (it’s easier here than in the other 49 states) and easier to amend them.”
Hiram Johnson and reforming California today, by Harold Meyerson, LA Times, September 26, 2010
“California Crack-up” is a very very good book.