Thumbs down: No on Prop. 70

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Proposition 70 is one of those ballot measures that leave people scratching their heads. If voters approve Prop. 70, state lawmakers would be required to approve a spending plan for revenue from the state’s greenhouse gas reduction program by a two-thirds majority. But just once. Six years from now. Until 2024, and after the lone supermajority vote, the money can be appropriated by a simple majority. Huh?

This convoluted mechanism was a concession offered last year by Gov. Jerry Brown to secure Republican votes needed for an extension of the state’s cap-and-trade program, under which oil companies and other air polluters must pay a fee, with the revenue used for programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change. Most of the state’s major business and industry groups supported Brown on the cap-and-trade extension, but most Republicans in the Legislature were opposed.

A quarter of the cap-and-trade revenue is presently earmarked for the bullet train, and some critics see the 2024 vote as an opportunity to derail the project. High-speed rail ought to be reconsidered, but why wait until 2024? We’re not sure what Prop. 70 is, but we’re sure it isn’t responsible budgeting. The Press Democrat recommends a no vote.

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