Part of the Bay Area News Group

Two-thirds voting initiative hits the streets

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 3:28 pm in 2010 election, ballot measures.

UC Berkeley cognitive linguistics professor George Lakoff’s ballot initiative calling for the reversal of the two-thirds voting requirement for a state budget and tax increases has been cleared for the signature-gathering process.

Lakoff describes the initiative as the restoration of democracy in California, a return to majority rule and end to tyranny of the minority.

According to the Secretary of State, Lakoff will need 695,000 signatures ofregistered voters in order to qualify the initiative for the November 2010 ballot.

Read on for the full press release.

SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Debra Bowen today announced that the proponent of a new initiative may begin collecting petition signatures for his measure.

The Attorney General prepares the legal title and summary that is required to appear on initiative petitions.  When the official language is complete, the Attorney General forwards it to the proponent and to the Secretary of State.  The Secretary of State then provides calendar deadlines to the proponent and to county elections officials, and the initiative may be circulated for signatures.  The Attorney General’s official title and summary for the measure is as follows:

CHANGES LEGISLATIVE VOTE REQUIREMENT TO PASS A BUDGET OR RAISE TAXES FROM TWO-THIRDS TO A SIMPLE MAJORITY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget, and to raise taxes, from two-thirds to a simple majority.  Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government:  Unknown state fiscal impacts from lowering the legislative vote requirement for spending and tax increases.  In some cases, the content of the annual state budget could change and/or state tax revenues could increase.  Fiscal impact would depend on the composition and actions of future Legislatures. (09-0037.)

The Secretary of State’s tracking number for this measure is 1386 and the Attorney General’s tracking number is 09-0037.

The proponent for this measure, George Lakoff, must collect signatures of 694,354 registered voters – the number equal to 8% of the total votes cast for governor in the 2006 gubernatorial election – in order to qualify it for the ballot.  The proponent has 150 days to circulate petitions for this measure, meaning the signatures must be collected by April 12, 2010.

To view this and other Secretary of State press releases, go to www.sos.ca.gov/admin/news-releases.htm.

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  • Common Tater

    Do you really want to make it easier to raise taxes?

    Thank God for the “tyranny of the minority.”

  • Lars Ulno

    Complete hypocrisy by Daily Kos writer George Lakoff. In his Daily Kos article from April 15, 2005, “Social Justice Sunday”, he defends the need for super majorities. Now, when his beloved Democrats take power, he attacks the same with this proposition.

    His goal, and that of this proposition, is not to restore democracy. It is to enable uncontrolled spending, taxing, and regulation by his Democrat Party.

  • Lars Ulno

    A much better state initiative is the one by Citizen Power (http://www.unplugthepoliticalmachine.org)

    This ballot initiative will create a constitutional amendment making it illegal for the State of California to forcibly extract monies from public employees to give to unions for political activities.

  • WL

    Making it easier for Sacramento politicians to raise taxes is like making it easier for drunks to get the keys to your liquor cabinet – nothing good will come of it!

  • Mark

    Spelling – Berkeley

  • http://www.predatorwild.com Heath

    It’s insane anyone would sign a petition allowing our corrupt elected officials to raise taxes with a simple majority vote. How are they selling this garbage to get the signatures for the petitions?

  • http://www.wclp.org Mike Herald

    The current two-thirds system gives the minority party power over all budget, policy and tax matters. The two-thirds vote actually results in tax cuts, new tax loopholes and gifts of public funds to wealthy well heeled corporations and individuals. With a majority vote for taxes and fair voting districts the people can finally get their democracy back.

  • Bob Loblaw

    the 2/3 vote for a taxes is stupid and the 2/3 vote for a budget is unadulterated lunacy.

    Nobody owns our budget in the Capitol and when it goes tits up as it usually does there is nobody to blame or hold accountable…not the dems or the reps. Thats not how representative government is supposed to work. People and parties are supposed to be accountable for their policies, their successes and their failures and we judge them on their performance on election day.

    In California we have gridlock, disfunction, and guaranteed failure. If the dems go crazy with the check book, guess what happens? they get voted out next time. The current situation guarantess the political status quo and permanent minority status for the GOP. Ask Tom McClintock what he thinks about the 2/3 vote.

  • John W.

    Where do I sign? Two-thirds isn’t just a check and balance on the majority. It effectively means the minority decides these matters. How upside down is that? How democratic? Both chambers of the legislature (we only need one chamber) are elected on a one man, one vote basis. Two-thirds totally violates one man, one vote. To the extent historically discriminated against groups tend to vote for members of the majority party, two-thirds disenfranchises them. If this were to pass (no chance), the majority might act irresponsibly(count on it), in which case they would soon no longer be the majority. That’s democracy and accountability. I’m not a fan of the fact that, in the U.S. Senate, it has become routine to require 60 votes to pass anything. But it’s a different type of institution. Not one-man, one vote. Wyoming gets the same representation as California. I wonder how California’s two-thirds requirement would fare if challenged in the federal courts. If two-thirds and term limits are so wonderful, how come this state is in such great shape? Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan in the 1980 campaign, “Are we better off today than before we enacted this crap?” I posed that question to a nice Tea Party lady while waiting for the Government Reform town hall meeting in Danville last week. She didn’t know we already had term limits in the legislature. She thought we only had it for governor. When I filled her in and posed the question, she began to rethink her position.

  • Elwood

    “If the dems go crazy with the check book, guess what happens? they get voted out next time.”

    Maybe on your planet, but not on this one. The dimmiecrats never met a spending bill they didn’t like.

    The only restraint on them is the 2/3 requirement.

  • Common Tater

    If a piece of budget legislation is so bad that it can’t garner a 2/3 vote then it should not be made into law.

    I’ll go even farther: I’d like to see a requirement for ALL legislation to have a 2/3 majority. It would certainly cut down on ridiculous laws.

  • Common Tater

    Post script on the 3:24pm posting:

    Yes, this will almost bring the legislature to a stand-still. That’s exactly what we want!

  • Bob Loblaw

    No Ellwood, the ultimate restraint is getting voted out of the majority. Thats how its supposed to work. We have a $20 billion operating deficit in CA because democrats have used accounting tricks, gimmickry, and have “borrowed” money from cities and counties to balance the books for the last 15 years…usually relying on a termed out Republican (with some pork) to get a vote here or there to get these farcical budgets passed.

    We need to end this lunacy and lack of accountability. We have massive spending and debt and nobody to blame, how much worse can it be if we have massive spending and debt BUT have the guilty culprits in the dock on election day. Right now we have the worst of both worlds. You are delusional if you think the 2/3 requirement has stopped dems from spending money we don’t have. DELUSIONAL.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Oh yeah, in case anyone thinks this is a partisan issue think again. Back when we had fake budget surplusses because of the internet bubble and inflated property values there wasn’t a single republican in Sacramento yelling for a bigger reserve or a rainy day fund for the leaner days that everyone knew were coming. They threw money around like drunken sailors too building prisons and giving tax breaks to the rich.

    Both sides of this are equally guilty but we the voters have nobody to blame because nobody owns the budget.

  • Elwood

    “They threw money around like drunken sailors too building prisons and giving tax breaks to the rich.”

    Those prisons are now full to overflowing. Please provide examples of tax breaks to the rich.

    Also, please tell us when was the last time the Reeps were in charge of the leg. That was during the Pleistocenc epoch was it not?

  • LMonkey

    The creator of this bill believes the fundamental difference between left and right is that the right wants a strong paternalistic government and the left prefers a more open and nurturing government. Uh – OK _ good buddy ol’ pal – here’s the deal – the “right” doesn’t want any government except the one the provides for defense – PERIOD ! WE CERTAINLY DON’T WANT BIG DADDY – THAT’S YOUR DEPT – AKA OBAMA.
    Now as to your mob rule proposal – that is antithetical to the Founding Fathers principles as outlined in the Constitution. Hmm – let me see – a Berkeley linguistics professor who’s life has been spent parsing the meaning of what “is – is” or Thomas Jefferson – tough choice but I’ll go with the dead genius.

    P.S. It’s my money got it ! you want to donate yours – go ahead be my guest – how about building a website such as http://www.recovery.gov/ – 18 million for a $10,000 dollar website – as George Gershwin wrote “nice work if you can get it”
    Good luck – buh bye