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Op-Ed: Proposition 31 Will Help California Revive Government

by Jim Mayer, published
credit: © Steven Pavlov /

Californians have lost confidence in state government. This year the Legislature allocated $130 billion via the state budget, but the public will never know where the money went and whether it did any good. While lawmakers spent months “working” on the budget, they did not systematically consider how they could spend those dollars to better educate children, improve public safety, and encourage job growth.

Proposition 31, the Government Performance and Accountability Act, would put in place common sense rules that have been proven to create stability and accountability for results in other states. In turn, such measures have restored public trust. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, a majority of Californians believe that government wastes a majority of their tax dollars. They are right, and these rules focus on that problem.

The measure would require the Governor and the Legislature to identify how they would fund new programs or tax cuts. It would require performance measures for every program -- and for lawmakers to review those programs to determine which ones are working.

The measure would allow the Governor to reduce spending if the Legislature fails to take any action during a fiscal emergency. Additionally, every bill (including the Budget Act) would have to be in print for three days before lawmakers can vote on it. This is a minimal standard for public transparency.

A recent poll shows that voters have confidence in their local governments; counties, cities and schools are doing more with less.  We know from years of experience that they save money and improve results when they work together. Proposition 31 provides voluntary authority and incentives to a county that is willing to work with its cities and schools to develop a strategic plan that addresses a common priority.

In short, Proposition 31 will help Californians reduce waste and improve results. It will change the course of California’s history and show elected officials that Californians are still in charge of their destiny, and that their dream is still alive.

Join me in voting YES on Proposition 31.


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