Among the measures that recently qualified for the November ballot was the governor’s tax hike initiative. The governor is relying on this tax increase to address the state’s deficit and the revenues from the measure have already been included as a way to patch up the state budget that lawmakers approved last month. So how is the governor trying to entice voters to approve his measure in this economic climate?
A threat is one way to describe it, as it has been noted that if voters fail to pass the measure, then trigger cuts will be imposed and education will face reductions. A new poll from Field Poll shows that statewide 72% oppose these cuts and just 19% of voters are in favor. While voters clearly don’t like the trigger cuts that could be enacted, that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be willing to support the governor’s tax initiative. Notably, opposition to the automatic spending cuts provision in the state budget crosses party lines, with 79% of Democrats, 65% of Republicans and 68% of independents against the idea.
Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo commented the following on the threat of harsh trigger cuts: “It’s not something that voters think is a great way to do public policy. It’s almost like holding a gun to their heads. If there is a shortage, they would prefer (lawmakers) come back after the election and deal with it.”
The Press Enterprise points out that “If voters reject the initiative, the budget calls for almost $6 billion in automatic cuts to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Schools and community colleges are in line for about $5.4 billion in reductions. The University of California and California State University systems would each be cut by $250 million.”
Joel Fox over at Fox & Hounds questions whether voters dislike the cuts or they dislike the threat built into the governor’s initiative. Fox writes that “The question is how do voters react to threats? The poll indicates they don’t like the situation. Most voters probably don’t like the idea of cutting schools or the idea that they have been given this choice in such a cutthroat manner. Look back at the Proposition 13 campaign of 1978 if you think the voters respond well to threats.”
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