Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and
He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to
Assembly Member Haynes
website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]
rid of the 2/3 supermajority and get ready for more taxes...
[Ray Haynes] 2/3/04
1 “Assemblyman Smith, vote for this budget,
and our union will write you a check for $15,000. Not to your
campaign – to you personally. Buy a new car, get your wife
a Louis Vuitton purse, get braces for your kids—we don’t
care. Just vote for this budget and the money is yours. I know
you don’t like the new taxes and spending, but I can make
it worth your while.”
2 “I don’t care if there are taxes in
this budget, we cannot afford to forfeit another month’s
paycheck! We’ve exhausted our savings and we’re not
going to be able to make our mortgage payment. We’ve got
a stack of credit card bills and utility payments due and no
money left to pay them. I know you don’t like the new taxes
and spending, but it’s not worth going bankrupt for!”
the difference between the two scenarios? In one scenario,
the personal financial
pressure to pass a bad budget comes from
a lobbyist. In the second, the financial pressure comes from
the legislator’s wife. In the first, the financial incentive
is illegal and the lobbyist could go to prison. Meanwhile, the
second scenario could be on the verge of being encouraged in
homes all over Sacramento.
Both scenarios include money being used as an incentive to
get a legislator to support a budget. Both scenarios result in
a legislator having to consider his own personal financial interests
over the interests of his district or even the whole State of
California. Both are wrong.
56 will appear on the statewide ballot in the March election.
important part of this initiative is the removal
of the 2/3 supermajority requirement to pass budgets and raise
taxes. This important protection for taxpayers was responsible
for preventing as much as $12 billion in increased taxes in last
year’s budget. Even though Republicans are greatly outnumbered
in the legislature, our unified opposition to new taxes prevented
the Democrats from getting their 2/3 vote and eventually they
had to abandon their efforts to raise your taxes. Without the
2/3 rule, we would not have been able to stop them.
employee unions know that, and that’s
why they have placed this initiative on the ballot. They also
know that if they told you this initiative was designed to make
it easier to raise your taxes, it would be defeated. That’s
why they added a provision that says if the budget isn’t
passed on time, legislators forfeit their pay—permanently.
This is what their advertising campaign will highlight, and it
polls very well among likely voters who like the idea of punishing
legislators for “not doing their job.”
I don’t believe it is my job to pass a bad budget on
time. My job is to get the citizens and taxpayers of my district
the best possible budget that I can negotiate—no matter
how long it takes. It doesn’t make sense to punish me for
trying to get a better budget for you.
Some legislators might be influenced to vote for higher taxes
and more spending because they cannot afford to forfeit their
paychecks. They could be forced to choose between standing on
principle or paying their mortgage.
told me before I was first elected that if I ever voted to
ban guns, kill
babies, or raise taxes, I’d have to sleep
on the couch, so I’m pretty sure I have the support of
my spouse in standing on principle and opposing taxes even at
the expense of my family’s own budget. Other members may
not be as lucky. If we would return to a true part-time legislature
as I have proposed in the past, this would be a moot point. We
would then all be forced to have real jobs that paid our bills
and perhaps even gave us some more grounding in the problems
facing people in the real world. But this initiative creates
a classic conflict of interest.
the government ethics and conflict of interest laws in this
state are designed
to keep public policy issues separate
from the politicians’ private economic interests. Nobody
would allow government employee unions to personally pay off
politicians in exchange for voting for higher taxes and spending.
Why would anyone think it was a good idea to take money away
from legislators personally when they won’t???
if Prop. 56 passes, it will probably be a moot issue, since
liberals will be able to pass
any budget they want, which will undoubtedly include billions
in new taxes. So in the end, while they are trying to sell this
initiative as a way to reduce politician’s paychecks, they
will be making it so easy to pass a budget on time that it won’t
be the politicians who lose money in the budget fight…it
will be California taxpayers who wind up paying for this bogus