Proposition 34 to Repeal the Death Penalty is on the November ballot. This has been a long debate in our state. Both sides are passionate in their feelings regarding the death penalty.
Some on the side of repeal are the Los Angeles Times, The California Conference of Catholic Bishops, The American Civil Liberties Union and the Democratic Party.
On the side of keeping the death penalty are a number of police officer associations, deputy sheriff associations, district attorney prosecutors and the Republican Party.
Most of the money is being raised by the groups in favor of repeal. The SF Gate Blog reports the California Business Roundtable & Pepperdine School of Public Policy survey released August 2 that showed 35.9% of 811 likely California Voters approved of Prop. 34 and 52.2% oppose it. These numbers came after the
recent events in Colorado and the Sikh shooting in Wisconsin. The numbers change regularly depending on the news of the day.
I would like to look at something else apparently thrown in to bolster the idea of passing Prop 34. The proposition has a one time commitment of $100 million by the state to local police departments to help them solve more homicide and rape cases.
Where will we get the the $100 million to give law enforcement? I thought we were already going into debt to buy a high speed rail system between a couple communities in the San Joaquin Valley. I thought we were spending our
money to improve schools.
A quick review of this year’s budget process reveals several interesting facts. The legislature approved a $92.1 billion budget and Governor Jerry Brown vetoed about $353 million from that total and signed the budget. There was a gap in revenue of some $8 billion dollars which they hoped to make up with a tax increase on the November ballot. Through April the projected revenue was $10.1 billion below estimates.
The governor says there is $8.1 billion in our rainy day fund, but the state controller says there is actually $11.1 billion in the rainy day fund. Meanwhile, the State Parks administration found $54 million it didn’t know it had. What we have here is evidence the State has no idea how much money it has, but it is positive it needs more.
A quick review is in order. We have an acknowledged budget shortfall of $8 billion. Revenues are down about 10 percent from the projected receipts for this year. Another expected source of income was the taxes on the Facebook public offering. Only problem is this will actually result in about half of what had been expected. I mean, really, what could go wrong?
We can all agree the State of California is in financial crisis. We cannot afford the
government we have, let alone the government envisioned by our governor. So the people who are dealing with the death penalty question decide to stack the cards a little by throwing some money at law enforcement to show they are pro enforcement. I don’t think it matters which side of the death penalty issue you are on, we should all be able to agree we cannot afford $100 million here and there to help pass propositions. This is an egregious act and should elicit a vote against Prop 34.
If there is to be a resolution to the death penalty question, let’s make it based on a serious presentation to the people of California. There are strong arguments on both sides, but it should not be tied to another attempt to grow our already bloated budget and increase the size of government. Is it any wonder people are dissatisfied with the political system in California?
What do you think?