Read a transcript of the program below.
00:00:01 JOHN MYERS
(MUSIC) From KQED, public radio, this is Forum. Good morning. I'm John Myers, sitting in for Dave Iverson from our studios in Sacramento. Three whole months have now come and gone since California had a spending plan in place. The state budget is now 93 days late, the latest in history. And backers of the measure on the November ballot say, you, the voter, can change that. That measure is Proposition 25, which would lower the vote threshold in each house of the legislature needed to pass a budget. But its opponents warn Prop 25 is riddled with loopholes. This hour on Forum, the pros and cons of Proposition 25, guests representing both viewpoints will make their case.
00:00:46 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
And you, the audience, will also get to chime in. That's coming up on Forum, after the news. Stay with us. (MUSIC)
00:01:00 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
From KQED, public radio, this is Forum. Good morning. I'm John Myers, sitting in for Dave Iverson this morning from our studio in Sacramento. Rhode Island, Arkansas, California. And that may seem like an odd grouping of states, with nothing in common, at least for us here in California. But these are the only three states in America that require a super majority vote in their respective legislatures to approve a state budget. The California super majority vote began through a 1933 ballot measure that only required the hurdle when spending grew by more than five percent.
00:01:28 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
In 1962, however, voters approved what was billed as a minor modification, giving that spending in the growing state routinely increased that much. Now, all budgets would have to be approved by a two-thirds super majority of the Assembly and Senate. Well, you know a lot of the rest of the story. Over the past two decades, the two-thirds vote in each chamber has been harder and harder to get. Budgets are late this year, as mentioned earlier. It's still in limbo. Demands are made by individual legislators as the price for their budget vote. And every year, the process receives at least some of the blame. Proposition 25 is not the first attempt to lower the budget vote. But it is nonetheless unique.
00:02:04 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
In addition to lowering the vote to enact a budget bill, it says that for every day a budget is not approved, legislators will forfeit their pay and not be paid back. It also explicitly says that while the budget bill can be passed by a simple majority, the two-thirds threshold for raising taxes will remain the same. As supporters say, it's time for the drama to come to an end. Opponents say it would trade one kind of budget high jinks for another. And so, you, the voters, are gonna have to sort all of this out on Election Day. This hour, though, we're gonna have a full discussion of Proposition 25. Talk about the pros and cons and what it means. Let me tell you who our guests are joining us here in studio.
00:02:38 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
First of all, we have, uh, Trudy Schafer from The League Of Women Voters of California, uh, representing the yes on Twenty-five side. Good morning, Trudy.
00:02:45 TRUDY SCHAFER
Good morning. Thanks for having me.
00:02:46 JOHN MYERS
Nice to have you here. And, uh, also with us in studio is Loren Kaye, who is the President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education, which is affiliated with the California Chamber Of Commerce and, uh, an opponent of Proposition 25. Loren, good morning.
00:02:59 LOREN KAYE
Good morning, John. Happy to be here.
00:03:00 JOHN MYERS
Thank you. And, uh, I'll have a couple of other guests joining us by phone in a moment, uh, weighing in on some of the pros and cons of Proposition 25. Um, in my experience, the two-thirds vote for a state budget really is one of the most talked about subjects on, uh, this program and by regular listeners of the program. So, before we delve into the specifics, I'd like to get both sides to, to answer a, a bit of a broad question. And that is, and Trudy Schafer, let me begin with you. Why should we make it easier to pass a state budget in Sacramento?
00:03:27 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, we are in a very dysfunctional system. And I don't think anyone who ever talks to, uh, you or to, uh, uh, anyone in the audience would, um, dispute that fact. And the problem is that this two-thirds vote requirement does, uh, make us continue and continue in the same rut, in the same problem that we have year after year. Basically, it allows a minority of the legislature, actually (STAMMERS) a minority of one house of the legislature, to stymie the budget process. It allows the majority to avoid compromise by pointing to what the ma, minority can do. And so, we really are never able to come to a point where the legislature passes a budget that really shows its priorities for the state of California. And that, after all, is what a budget is about.
00:04:14 JOHN MYERS
And Loren Kaye, let me go on the flip side of that and ask you, in, in general, why not make it easier for the legislature to pass a budget?
00:04:21 LOREN KAYE
Well, I'm not sure that making it easier to pass the budget would give you a better budget. Because after all, what we need in California are better budgets, balanced budgets. And, uh, budgets that get the job done. Um, and there's really no evidence that having a, uh, majority vote for the budget is gonna get the budget done on time. I think one of the key things is what you said in your introduction. For the past two decades, we've had late budgets. And I think that a lot has changed in the, in the last two decades. One thing that hasn't changed is the vote requirement. Let me, if I could, John...
00:04:57 JOHN MYERS
00:04:58 LOREN KAYE
Uh, just give you a couple of statistics. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, since 2002, nineteen states have started one or more fiscal years without a final budget. Seventeen of those states had a majority vote requirement. In, um, there are seven states that have, had late budgets since 2002, and have been identified by CNBC as having the worst budget shortfalls. Those seven states all have majority vote requirements. The majority vote is, is, an interesting, contentious issue. I don't think it's the key to getting budgets on time.
00:05:47 JOHN MYERS
So let me, let's now go to the specifics of Proposition 25. And usually what we do in a lot of these, uh, election programs is we give the, uh, the proponents, the yes side, the chance to make the case here first. So Trudy Schafer, with the League of, uh, Women Voters, um, Prop 25, at least appears to me on its face, relatively simple. What would it do?
00:06:03 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, in, you're right. It is very simple. It's common sense. It isn't going to solve everything that's dysfunctional about the state. But it is a real step in the right direction. It changes the, the req, vote requirement for passing a budget from the current two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature to a simple majority in each house. Um, what this will do is it will, uh, keep us from letting individual legislators and special interests game the system. It will cut down on legislative gridlock.
00:06:31 TRUDY SCHAFER (CONTINUED)
It, uh, and, of course, as we know, that gridlock is, uh, always, year after year, creating unnecessary costs for the state, as well as to local governments and to vendors, to schools who can't plan and can't rely on what they really will get, as, as the income for their, uh, budgets. And they, of course, have to go on as, uh, (STAMMERS) with their businesses. Schools have already started. They're in limbo, waiting to see what really happens with the budget. Um, this all consuming focus on passing the budget means that other important issues are given short scrip, shrift. We don't take care of things like health care, education, prisons, the water system. Uh, we just have more entrenched partisanship. As I say, this is only a first step, but it's a very important one.
00:07:21 JOHN MYERS
And so, so the (STAMMERS) parts of Prop 25 are, uh, a ss, a majority vote in each house to pass the budget.
00:07:27 TRUDY SCHAFER
(OVERLAPPING) That's right. And then, the second part is that it holds legislators accountable because it denies their pay and their reimbursement, their per diem, of expense, their reimbursement of expenses, if, uh, the budget is late. Um, for every day that it's late, they have to go without those, uh, payments. And they don't get them back. Under the current system, if we don't have a budget on July first, they don't get paid. But, when a budget is finally enacted, the, the payments come in. This would ss, uh, mean that that, they, uh, that payment never comes to them.
00:07:57 JOHN MYERS
Let me just ask you and, and I'll go to, uh, to Mister Kaye in a moment, but, um, you know, one of the things that you hear about what the voters want. Um, there's a lot of discussion about the budget, and the budget process. But one of the things that the voters, that we hear, at least in polls and other places, me as a reporter, and others would hear, is that the voters want, uh, the two sides to work together here in Sacramento. They want bi-partisanship. They want people to reach across the aisle. Doesn't the two-thirds force consensus in some way? Rather than one side, uh, calling all the shots?
00:08:27 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, in theory that might be a great idea. And maybe back when we were much, much less partisan, that might have worked. But nowadays, it really doesn't. And you can go back as far as, um, ten or twelve years ago, when the California Citizens Budget Commission stated that, that two-thirds requirement defended as a restraint on spending. There's no clear evidence that the super majority requirement does, in fact, have that effect. Legislators can as easily withhold votes to secure increases in spending for their favorite programs, as they can in ss, uh, uh, securing spending reductions. And what we see, year after year, in fact, we always say, (LAUGH) this is a budget that no one will like.
00:09:04 TRUDY SCHAFER (CONTINUED)
Um, and the people of California are tired of that. What they're tired of is that, in fact, instead of coming to consensus, what we have are deals that are made. And that deal, the kind of deal can include spending for your pet project, but it, uh, just is, is, uh, as just as likely to include some major tax reduction for some favored special interest. Or, it can include, um, a deal that has come out through (STAMMERS) these negotiations that is completely unrelated to the budget. But it is the price of getting someone's vote. And so, that's what we see. We don't see two-thirds leading to consensus.
00:09:39 JOHN MYERS
Trudy Schafer from The League of, uh, Women Voters of California. Loren Kaye, of, of The California Foundation for Commerce and Education, what's the argument against Prop 25?
00:09:47 LOREN KAYE
Well, (CLEARS THROAT) excuse me. There, there is both, uh, this, this measure has both more than meets the eye and less than meets the eye. Uh, I'd like to talk about one of the, uh, points that, that proponents, uh, tout in this measure. And that is that it would, uh, cut legislative pay if the budget is late, and they'd never get it back. Well, that's really not the whole story. Uh, the story is that, uh, if you actually read the language of the measure, their pay is cut if they don't pass a budget. It says nothing about whether the budget is balanced. It says nothing about whether the budget is even signed. Uh, once they pass a budget, any old budget, any old bill that they call a budget, their pay starts rolling back in.
00:10:32 LOREN KAYE (CONTINUED)
That budget doesn't have to solve the problem. I think this part of the bill, part of the measure, is like a shiny object that's being waved in front of the voters to get them to vote for the, uh, vote, vote for the initiative. It's absolutely not gonna produce better budgets. (BACKGROUND NOISE) Now, as far as more than meets the eye, there are a couple of provisions in this, uh, proposition that, uh, the people, um, need to know about because it hasn't been advertised. One, and I think this is probably the most insidious feature of the measure, is that it would take away the people's right to a referendum. That's one of the three great reforms that were, uh, put into the Constitution by Governor Hiram Johnson back in 1911.
00:11:20 LOREN KAYE (CONTINUED)
And it gives people the right to vote on measures that were passed by the legislature and decide whether to approve or reject them. This measure says that for bills that were adopted as part of the budget, they are not eligible for referendum. That's a huge change. And one that, uh, is essential to this measure. Another, uh, part of this measure, which is a matter of some controversy, but we strongly believe that this will allow the legislature to raise taxes with less than the two-thirds vote. And that's a huge change, uh, to the fiscal policy of the State of California.
00:12:03 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) And you, you believe that that's because of some of the language inside it? Even though, and I want to go back to the yes side in a moment, even though Prop 25 says, in great big bold print, it does not lower the two-thirds threshold for raising taxes that's already in the Constitution?
00:12:16 LOREN KAYE
The great big bold print in Prop 25 that says (LAUGH) we're not gonna lower the vote requirement is in the part of the measure that has no force of law. It's like the, uh, policeman giving you a warning. Uh, it has no force of law. Uh, the part of the measure that has force of law says, and I quote, notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution. And that basically says, you can ignore other parts of the Constitution if you wanna vote on a measure related to the budget. Notwithstanding any other part of this Constitution, you can vote on a substantive measure with a majority vote. That substantive measure could be a tax increase.
00:13:01 JOHN MYERS
And we're gonna have to de, to peel into several layers of this in a moment. (WORD?), and, and we've got a couple of the folks who are gonna join us in a moment. But Trudy Schafer, uh, on the, on the yes side of Prop 25, let me go back to something Loren Kaye mentioned at the beginning here. Because one of the things that will catch voters' eyes, I'm quite certain of it, is this, and you mentioned it at the top of, talking about what's in the measure, no legislative pay if they don't pass a budget. Mister Kaye says all they have to do is pass a budget, no matter whether it's a, a realistic one or not, to keep getting their pay. Doesn't have to be signed, or vetoed. There's no provision of anything other than just pass a budget, and we keep getting paid.
00:13:35 TRUDY SCHAFER
I can understand why people are skeptical of any reform. And it's partly for this reason that I'm emphasizing that we don't believe this is going to solve the world's problems. But the fact is, what we have is legislators who are put into a bad system. And if we take steps like Prop 25 to improve the system, we let people act as they would normally like to act, with honesty and with the public's good in mind. And so, I think that we can raise scare tactic ideas about things like passing just any old bill to get out of, out of the building and, uh, get their money. But I don't think that's what going to happen. I think that we have a system of government where people who are elected to represent the people do try their best to serve the real public good.
00:14:19 TRUDY SCHAFER (CONTINUED)
And they will be able to do that with Prop 25. The majority party will be on the hook. They will be able to pass a budget that shows what their priorities are. But they will know that the voters will be watching them. And so, the voters, if they see this kind of shenanigan happening, they, they'll take that out on, on the majority party in the next elections.
00:14:40 JOHN MYERS
We're, uh, speaking this hour about Proposition 25, which, if passed, uh, would allow a budget to be approved by a majority vote in each house of the legislature. Uh, two guests here with us, representing the yes and no sides. Uh, Trudy Schafer, from The League of, uh, Women Voters. Jah, uh, Loren Kaye from The, The California, uh, Foundation For Commerce and Education. And I wanna, a couple of, of other folks that are gonna join us quickly. And then, of course, your calls will come in the second half hour of this. First of all, um, and these are folks who have, uh, particular opinions, yes and no on this.
00:15:08 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Um, first of all, I'm gonna go the phones and, and invite in, uh, John Kabateck, who is the, uh, California Executive Director for The National, uh, Federation Of Independent Businesses. Mister Kabateck, good morning.
00:15:18 JOHN KABATECK
Good morning. Good to be here. Thank you.
00:15:19 JOHN MYERS
Thank you. Uh, I wanted to have you just, uh, just, uh, weigh in quickly here for a moment. Uh, Miss, Miss Schafer was talking about that, for the first time, Prop 25 would allow someone to be on the hook for the budget. I mean, that's one of the things that I often hear as a reporter, is that there's no accountability in Sacramento anymore. The, you know, the accountability of who's to blame for a ninety-three day impasse as we're sitting here now. It's hard to point a finger, because everybody plays, uh, a million different side games about the budget. And here, you could hold one party responsible. What do you say to that?
00:15:49 JOHN KABATECK
Well, I think it's important to first point out that, you know, small business, as with, uh, all Californians, we do want an on-time balanced budget. We wanna make sure that gut, that government is on the hook for passing a budget that makes sense, that's balanced, that helps all Californians. Uh, but unfortunately, um, what Proposition 25 does, and why we oppose it, is it really doesn't let, uh, give that accountability, uh, much credence. Uh, it really gives politicians, in short, the authority, or at least paves the way to hit Californians with new costs. Small businesses, uh, working families and others every time, uh, they need to pay for their reckless spending. Every time our politicians...
00:16:26 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) What kinds of costs...I'm sorry. What kinds of costs are you talking about, Mister Kabateck?
00:16:29 JOHN KABATECK
Well, I think the concerns we hear from small business owners is, uh, John, it paves, paves the way for new fees, uh, new tec, new, certainly new costs of any sort. Uh, and I think, again, ultimately, taxes could ultimately be the case. And that's the concerns small businesses have right now. Is they're finding they have less and less in the till to work with. And our politicians keep wanting small businesses and Californians to foot the bill. The first thing we need to do to get out of the hole is to stop digging.
00:16:56 JOHN KABATECK (CONTINUED)
But what Prop 25 does is really, um, you know, frankly, it's some deception there in terms of really showing that it's actually an on-time budget. But there's clearly the opportunity there for, down the road, for, uh, the things to be, uh, to pave, at least pave the way for new costs that would hurt Main Street, hurt working Californians, and absolutely wo, uh, hurt California's number one job creator, small business.
00:17:19 JOHN MYERS
And let me ask you, quickly, if I could, (CLEARS THROAT) something that may be patently obvious here, but let me ask the question anyway. Do you believe the current system has produced good budgets?
00:17:29 JOHN KABATECK
I think that the challenge we found is, you know, clearly, everybody wants an on-time budget. I think the system these days, um, there is not a good system all around. I think everybody would like to see reform. Um, I will have to say that one of the things small business has, uh, real concerns about are, frankly, any new costs. Any new taxes. And they're sayin' enough is enough. Is the system correct? Is the system working fluidly? No.
00:17:54 JOHN KABATECK (CONTINUED)
But is Prop 25 the answer to that? Absolutely not. Um, you know, I think the, the state, much like a small business, needs to work with what it has, rather than constantly overspend and ask for more. Prop 25 doesn't help that system. Doesn't help fix a, a system that needs to be improved, uh, by paving the way for more costs. Small businesses need help. They do not need more costs when two point two million Californians are out of work.
00:18:20 JOHN MYERS
John Kabateck is, uh, the California Executive Director of The National Federation of Independent Business. Uh, Mister Kabateck, thanks for your time this morning. Appreciate it.
00:18:27 JOHN KABATECK
Thanks so much for having me.
00:18:28 JOHN MYERS
Yes. And let me also go to the phones quickly to bring in, uh, on, on the opposite side, on the, a supporter of Proposition 25, that's, uh, Josh Pechthalt, who's the Vice President of United Teachers Los Angeles. And, uh, Mister Pechthalt, good morning.
00:18:40 JOSH PECHTHALT
Good morning. Nice to be here.
00:18:42 JOHN MYERS
Thank you. And, uh, so tell me, uh, you, you might have heard some of this discussion. Given those concerns that have been raised, you know, that, uh, you know, an easier way to just increase spending with money that we don't have in California. What do you say to that about Prop 25?
00:18:54 JOSH PECHTHALT
Well, it's, uh, it's incredible. The fear mongering on the part of the, uh, no on Twenty-five, uh, folks, um, what Prop 25 does is it creates a mechanism that allows for majority rule in California. Uh, California voters vote for a majority party, uh, whether it's a Democratic party, a Republican party, or another party. And that party should be able to adopt the budget with majority rule. It's simple as that. And the notion that Prop 25 will somehow, uh, lead to increased taxes, or all this other stuff, is just not the case. If California's voters decide to do that, they'll do that separately. Um, and so, what we currently have is a situation where a minority party can hold the budget hostage and, as we all know, uh, what?
00:19:41 JOSH PECHTHALT (CONTINUED)
We're three months into, um, into, into this session without a, an adopted budget. And that's not good for anybody. I'm, I'm a teacher and I, uh, and our, and our students, uh, and our schools need those resources. And three months into, um, a budget cycle without an adopted budget is not good for Californians. And so, uh, we need to join the rest of the nation. We're one of, uh, three states in the country that doesn't have a majority vote of the legislature to adopt the budget. We need to get with it. So the, the anti-Twenty-five folks not only are fear mongering, they're suggesting that, uh, uh, you know, uh, essentially they want the status quo. And as, uh, I think, most of us can see, the status quo is, uh, is a real problem.
00:20:26 JOHN MYERS
Let me ask you a question quickly, which is this. Which is that, because, uh, you and other backers of Proposition 25, uh, continue to point out that, that, um, that it says it will not raise, uh, it will not make it easier to raise taxes. And it's been pointed out here earlier, uh, that's referred to in, in the introductory statements to Proposition 25. We'll have a longer discussion here in a moment on this program about, uh, is there a back door way? I know you would, you, you say there's not, and Miss Schafer says there's not.
00:20:54 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
But let me just ask a broader question. Which is that, if you get this, and you get the ability to pass a budget with a majority vote, and you get in a crisis like we're in right now, where we don't have enough money to fund all the programs, you still aren't gonna get a budget in easier because you would need new revenue. I mean, that's part of the fight we're having here ninety-three days into this fiscal year, is about finding some kind of new revenue. So, this doesn't really get you, um, uh, a fix of a systemic problem if you've got to raise revenue, does it?
00:21:21 JOSH PECHTHALT
No. It doesn't deal with the revenue. And I agree with you. It's, uh, it's not, uh, it's not an answer to the fiscal crisis of the state. Um, but it does change the, uh, the way our legislature operates and I think it's a, it's an important step forward. Uh, the issue of, uh, revenue and, and how we're going to prioritize our state budget, uh, is a separate issue. And it needs to be dealt with, but, um, uh, the current structure in Sacramento makes it very, very difficult. What we've seen over the last many years is, um, the minority, uh, party has held, held the budget hostage and extracted rr, some damaging concessions. Um, concessions that hurt the environment, that hurt worker rights. Um, uh, and that's, uh, that really is unacceptable.
00:22:10 JOSH PECHTHALT (CONTINUED)
The majority, the majority, uh, party, uh, should have the right to adopt the budget. If the Governor decides to veto it, that's his right. We have a, a system of checks and balances. And currently, we have a minority party. Um, you know, it, it really is the tail that's wagging the dog, and that's not good for California voters.
00:22:30 JOHN MYERS
Okay. Josh Pechthalt, uh, Vice President of United Teachers Los Angeles. Thanks for your time this morning.
00:22:34 JOSH PECHTHALT
Thank you very much.
00:22:35 JOHN MYERS
And we were also joined a moment ago by John Kabateck of The National Federation Of Independent Business. We're talking about Proposition 25, which would, uh, uh, allow a budget to be passed in the legislature by a simple majority vote. We're gonna take your calls and e-mails in the second half hour. We'll stay with our first two guests here as we come back. Trudy Schafer from The League Of Women Voters of California, in favor of Prop 25. Loren Kaye of The California Foundation For Commerce And Education, in opposition to Proposition 25. If you'd like to join in the conversation, here's how you can do so. Toll free, you can reach us at eight six six, seven three three, six seven eight six.
00:23:09 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Once again, that's eight six six, seven three three, six seven eight six. Or you can e-mail us, with the e-mail address is email@example.com. That's firstname.lastname@example.org. (MUSIC) This is a conversation, the topic that comes up a lot here when we talk about the state budget in Sacramento. Whether or not it should be easier to approve a state budget, whether it should be done by a majority vote. And, uh, we are here ninety-three days into this new fiscal year without a budget.
00:23:33 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
So it's an interesting (INTERVIEWER LAUGHS) time to be talking about it. And an interesting time for voters to be considering Prop 25 on the ballot. So let us know what you think, and your, your questions for our guests. Again, the pros and cons of Proposition 25. (MUSIC) I'm John Myers in for, uh, Dave Iverson. You're listening to Forum. You're on KQED public radio.
00:24:00 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
And this is Forum on KQED public radio. I'm John Myers, in for Dave Iverson this morning. And our studio's in Sacramento, across the street from the State Capitol, where we've been watching and waiting for a new state budget now for, uh, three months. And that's why here we are talking about a measure on the ballot that, uh, supporters say could change that. Proposition 25, which would allow a budget to be approved by a majority of each house of the legislature instead of the, uh, long-standing two-thirds vote on each side. Got a lot of callers who are weighing in here. And I wanna get to them in a moment. But, uh, uh, Trudy Schafer from The League Of Women Voters, uh, you're in support of Prop 25.
00:24:34 TRUDY SCHAFER
00:24:34 JOHN MYERS
And someone e-mailed in during the first half hour something that I was gonna ask about anyway. And this is, um, something that I was gonna ask about because I remember during the budget impasse of 2009, there was a discussion in the middle of the night, as a lot of these budgets are crafted, about a no pay if the budget isn't done on time provision at that point. And it didn't happen for one reason or the other. It was part of that ebb and flow and horse trading of getting the votes for a budget. But I specifically remember that, uh, at some point in the night, uh, several, uh, staffers came back and said, the lawyers have looked at this, and it's unconstitutional.
00:25:07 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
There's no way to deny members of the legislature their pay forever if they don't get a budget passed in time. And so, this, uh, person wrote me from San Mateo asked the same thing. Is the clause for no pay even legal? And I have been told that it may not stand up in court, in which case, that's one of the things that the voters would maybe like if they voted for Prop 25. And, and there are people who say, you can't enforce that. Well, (STAMMERS) what would you say about the, about whether or not it is, in fact, legal to withhold their pay? Do we know anything about that?
00:25:37 TRUDY SCHAFER
That isn't a question that I've heard before. So I'm speculating, but the fact is, this is a Constitutional amendment. So if we're putting it into, into the Constitution, we don't have the state Constitution as a reason why we can't do it. And for that reason, my, um, assumption would be that, that, that legality is there.
00:25:53 JOHN MYERS
Um, let me get Scott from San Rafael on the phone here, uh, who asked a question that I think will go a little bit to not only what's, uh, in Prop 25, but not in it. Scott, good morning.
Okay. Good morning. Thank you for taking my call. Um, my, my question, I, I'm in favor of the, the majority, uh, votes for this. Uh, my question is, by exempting, uh, raising taxes, uh, making that the super majority, it seems like you're kind of, uh, limiting half of the equation. And it seems like it would be, you know, equally absurd if you said, we're gonna make it a majority to do a budget, but you need a super majority to cut any social programs. And, it seems like you're just choosing one half of the equation to, to carve out of this. And I, I don't understand why.
00:26:36 JOHN MYERS
Okay. Scott. Trudy Schafer, why, why, uh, why does it include, uh, making it easier to raise taxes?
00:26:41 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, we have to talk about reality, and we have to talk about increm, uh, reform happening incrementally. We've seen over the past year a lot of proposals for re, reform of the California government. And some have gone forward. We've been very proud of some of them, such as our, our redistricting reform. Others are, are just getting nowhere. And what we have to do is take on what we can at the time that we can take it on. And also, look at what it does for the benefit of government and of people's opinion about government. What we will, (CLEARS THROAT) I believe we will see, is, with the passage of Prop 25, that there will be an increase in the trust of people for their legislature. And that we, we can build on to do, go forward with whatever, whatever other reforms are needed.
00:27:24 JOHN MYERS
Uh, I wanna bring up a couple of things that came up in the first half hour. Um, uh, about Proposition 25, because this is a lot of what the, the, the opposition campaign is talking about. And, and Loren Kaye, you're, you're an opponent of Prop 25. You've laid some of these out. But let me, let me get Miss Schafer to respond to some, and then you can weigh back in here. The first one that came up is, is that, uh, that (STAMMERS) it short circuits, or it limits the power of referendum. Because as it is been described, as Mister Kaye described it, uh, bills that are passed, uh, by a majority vote can be put on the ballot as a referendum. The voters can turn them over. That's a power that exists.
00:28:00 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
But, but they claim that the wording in Prop 25 would make, uh, more things bulletproof to that referendum power than currently exist now. And this is a, a, a bit of a technical thing in the language, but they say that, that, that it's limiting the power of the voters if you do this.
00:28:16 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, it isn't limiting the power of the voters. The rea, the fact is that what we have in California is referendum on bills that are passed, but there are exceptions. And those are the common sense exceptions. Things that take pla, um, effect immediately can't be referended. Um, or we (LAUGH) would, they couldn't take effect immediately.
00:28:32 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) (ALL TALKING AT ONCE) And the budget, the budget is one of those.
00:28:32 TRUDY SCHAFER
And the current budget is one...thank you. Exactly. The current budget takes effect immediately. It is one of those things that cannot be referended. So, in fact, Prop 25, and if you look at the other exceptions, uh, Prop 25 doesn't change. Um, either the budget or the, uh, accompanying trailer bills that could take effect immediately, um, that has always been the case. If you're going to let something be what they call an urgency bill, and take effect immediately, you can't have a referendum on it. Now, what Twenty-five does do is it says you can pass those things, the appropriations in the budget, and the appropriations in trailer bills, with a simple majority. And that's (LAUGH) exactly what Twenty-five is for.
00:29:11 JOHN MYERS
Uh, uh, Loren Kaye?
00:29:13 LOREN KAYE
No one's talking about doing a referendum on the budget. What we're concerned about is permitting a wide swath of substantive legislation that otherwise could pass by majority vote, but be subject to a referendum, all of a sudden, uh, be changed to pass by a majority vote, but not be subject to a referendum. And I, I think that, that, that we're looking at this too narrowly.
00:29:41 LOREN KAYE (CONTINUED)
Uh, the legislature will, uh, take advantage of loopholes where they can. They've, they've done it for years, and they'll, they'll do it again. And if the loophole says, all you have to do is put an appropriation in a bill, say that it's related to the budget, and then it no longer is subject to a referendum. Whether or not it's truly related to the budget, whether or not the appropriation is just window dressing, you could have all manner of, uh, contentious legislation that would otherwise be legitimately subject to a referendum, therefore, exempted.
00:30:16 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) I guess my, my question to you would be as that, I mean, this would clearly go to the courts, if that happened, I would think. Someone would challenge that. And that gets to the second point you raised, if I could just for a moment. And that was the notion that, um, there is a back door way, as, as I know, uh, opponents of Prop 25 believe, to raise taxes on a majority vote, by putting that tax increase in one of these bills attached to the budget. We call them trailer bills, at the State Capitol. By putting that tax increase in one of those bills, which only has to be passed by a majority vote, ergo ipso facto, you get a, you get a tax increase. And that would clearly be taken to court immediately.
00:30:53 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Now, we had a, a bit of a, and (STAMMERS) I beg the audience's indulgence for a moment. We had a bit of a legal dispute about this before the election, about the language of the measure, and went to court, um, you'd almost would call it a split decision. One judge said, uh, this may be doable. The Appellate Court overruled that judge. But it seems like that, that the Appellate Court is, is currently the, the standing thought on this. In which case, it would seem to be impossible for, for, for that kind of tax increase to hold muster in court, would it not?
00:31:24 LOREN KAYE
Well, two, two points there, John. First of all, the Appellate Court made a decision on the language of the title in summary of the ballot. They did not make a substantive ruling on whether or not, uh, they didn't have a case before them that said, uh, well, we've got a tax increase here that was passed by a majority vote. They ruled on whether the Attorney General could say what he said. Um, secondly, the ruling hasn't been published. And so, it has no force and effect, as of, uh, as of today. So, I think that the, uh, you, you had some judges that've, uh, that've, that've, uh, considered the matter. Uh, but they haven't ruled directly on the point. And the ruling that they did make, uh, wasn't published. So we take no comfort in that.
00:32:10 LOREN KAYE (CONTINUED)
And we think that a simple reading of the language would, uh, a common sense reading of the language. It basically says, ignore the Constitution. Whatever the Constitution says about vote requirements, when, when they're related to the budget, ignore it. It's a majority vote. That's what the language says.
00:32:27 JOHN MYERS
Trudy Schafer on the yes on Twenty-five side, (CLEARS THROAT) uh, what do you say to this, uh, back door way to raise taxes easier?
00:32:33 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, I obviously disagree, um, on many pa, aspects of what Mister Kaye has said. And I'm sorry, but I'm going to try to tick them off as quickly as I can. One of them is, um, the actual language within Prop 25 says, uh, the budget bill and other bills providing for appropriations related to the budget bill may be passed in each house by roll call vote and so forth, a majority of the membership of each house. So, that's in the first place, there's the fact that the, the bills re, being referred to in Prop 25 are the ones that provide for appropriations. These so-called trailer bills that relate to appropriations, and they have to be identified in the budget bill.
00:33:10 TRUDY SCHAFER (CONTINUED)
So it's very hard to picture how that will be done, um, in a stealthy way. But then, in addition, um, when the courts ruled, it isn't so that they only spoke to the question of title and summary. The, uh, the Appellate Courts decision included the, their opinions says, by definition, appropriations are not taxes. We find nothing in the substantive provisions of Proposition 25 that would give a green light to the legislature to circumvent the addition, the existing constitals, excuse me. (LAUGH) The existing Constitutional requirement of a two-thirds vote to raise taxes. And in another place, they say, in our view, Prop 25 cannot be interpreted to operate as an end run around the two-thirds vote requirement for raising taxes.
00:33:52 JOHN MYERS
But as Mister Kaye says, that's not a published opinion.
00:33:54 TRUDY SCHAFER
(OVERLAPPING) That's not. And that's true. It is not a published opinion. However, the Supreme Court has before it, re, requests from three parties to publish it. The Court themselves, the, uh, Court of Appeal, the proponents of Prop 25, as you could imagine, we would like to have it published, so that it would hold sway. But also, opponents, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, has also requested publishing of that opinion. So if they thought that that opinion could be easily overturned, why in the world would they be asking for it to be published?
00:34:22 JOHN MYERS
Well, let me get some of the calls in here, and then, we'll go back to some of this discussion, 'cause obviously, we're, we're digging deep, but the voters need to know deeply into Prop 25, how it works. And, uh, let me go first to the phones. Uh, Bill, who I, I guess is listening to, on-line, or by satellite from Chicago. Good morning, Bill.
And good afternoon. Um, the reason I was calling is, I was kinda curious. With the hyper partisanship the way it is now, if it goes to a simple majority, why would the minority party have any impetus whatsoever to even participate in the budget process if they knew that everything that was brought to the table, could just be overruled by that majority? Because it would seem that at that point, the minority party, whichever party it is, could just choose to go home and put the entire blame for the budget and any subsequent failures on the majority party. And I'll take my answer off the air. Thank you.
00:35:04 JOHN MYERS
Well, thank you, Bill. And, uh, Trudy Schafer, uh, what, what do you say to that?
00:35:06 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, I'd comment that we've watched the budget process, uh, for a number of years. Good years and bad years. And, in fact, when you really come down to it, there are some issues that are priorities for all Californians. Education, of course, being the, probably the mace, the major one. Public safety. Health care, as I've mentioned. And water issues, and so forth. And, in, whether it's a good year or a bad year, at this point, the minority really doesn't have to come out and talk about their priorities.
00:35:33 TRUDY SCHAFER (CONTINUED)
But when we push them, they may not come out with an actual budget proposal. But they will have to admit that they don't want to see cuts in things like education. So I think that will be to their best interest, as they represent their constituents. And they know that. So they will participate in the discussion.
00:35:49 JOHN MYERS
Let me, uh, take another call here. Uh, Max in San Francisco is, uh, on the line. Max, good morning.
Good morning. Uh, yeah, uh, my argument is that, uh, during the good years, the two thirds requirement actually increases spending rather dramatically. The, for exactly the point that the previous caller made, which is that, in order to pass the budget, that we often have to make deals for more spending. And, in addition, tax cuts, but tax cuts which, during the bad years, accelerate the deficit. And in fact, I, I would argue that there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that states with two, there are no states with two-thirds requirements other than the two others that were mentioned.
00:36:28 MAX (CONTINUED)
And in the states that do not have the two-thirds requirement, as they often they have lower spending levels, and indeed, uh, have no, no higher tax burdens, and perhaps lower tax burdens. There's no relationship between this other than to create ridicule and create chaos and stalemate in, in Sacramento. Uh, and, of course, all that smoke we're hearing from these folks who are opposed to Proposition 25, (WORD?) simply because they like the status quo. And they like stalemate. And they like to see, uh, the, the legislature, uh, ridiculed.
00:36:59 JOHN MYERS
Uh, Max, thank you for that. And, uh, Loren Kaye, I mean, that, one of the points that I think that, that Max is raising here is that, um, they're a million side deals get cut in budgets to get that two-thirds vote. I mean, you know, we had a billion and a half dollars in, in business tax breaks that I'm not sure the Democratic party would have agreed to in 2009, had they not had Republican votes. We're talkin' about more, uh, uh, uh, tax credits that apparently are rumored in the budget deal now. That, that's not to say whether you think those are good and bad.
00:37:24 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
You (INTERVIEWER LAUGHS) probably have opinions on those. But, but the nature of side deals have become, um, uh, somewhat tangential to an actual spending plan. Isn't that, uh, partly what we get here every year when we'd have to do this?
00:37:35 LOREN KAYE
If anybody thinks that the, (CLEARS THROAT) excuse me. If anybody thinks that the phenomenon of side deals will magically evaporate because you have a majority vote budget, is, um, way ahead of the game on Prop 19. Uh, the, the fact is, is that side deals, back scratching, log rolling is the currency of the legislature. And it's not a bite nec, exclusively a bi-partisan game. It happens within each of the caucuses. So, I think that, uh, you, the, the, the side deals and the, uh, the, the, the vote, uh, the ways that the leadership will get votes won't change. The, the fact is, is that we have, uh, we need much more, uh, in the way of budget reform to justify having a majority vote budget.
00:38:31 LOREN KAYE (CONTINUED)
A majority vote budget may, may be part of a large, um, some kind of a large budget reform deal. But putting it out there on its own squanders the opportunity to, I think, The League Of Women Voters and many others, uh, would like to see happen. But the people with, uh, California Forward, folks who think that you need comprehensive budget reform, uh, uh, a lot of them believe that putting the majority vote out there, uh, squanders the opportunity to get, uh, a spending cap, pay-as-you-go, performance budgeting, uh, uh, strong oversight.
00:39:07 LOREN KAYE (CONTINUED)
Those are the things that the states that have got good budget, uh, behavior, that have got small deficits that have on-time budgets, those are the features of those budgets that work for those states. It's not just having a majority, uh, vote budget.
00:39:23 JOHN MYERS
It's Loren Kaye with The, uh, California Foundation for Commerce and Education, who's, uh, an opponent of Prop 25. Trudy Schafer with the yes on Twenty-five side of The League Of Women Voters joining us here. I wanna thank, uh, Max for the call. And, uh, let's, uh, get on, uh, another, another caller here, Terry is joining us here this morning. Good morning. Good morning, Terry.
Yes. Good morn...
00:39:42 JOHN MYERS
Yes. Go ahead.
Good morning. Yes, I, I was calling in. I've been listening to the program. It's very good. But I do have a question. In recent memory, I don't remember the last Republican majority in the, uh, in that process. So I'm wondering if the callers could tell me, as a Republican, why would I vote for something that would practically, uh, give that process complete control over to the Democrats? Now, politics aside, um, you know, one party having that level of control for any length of time concerns me. So could he, could the guest talk about that for a minute?
00:40:16 JOHN MYERS
Okay. Terry, thanks. And, and I mean, I think for, historically, the, the, uh, the last Republican majority in either house was in 1994, when they won the Assembly. But through some clever moves of, (INTERVIEWER LAUGHS) uh, then Assembly Speaker Willy Brown. He pretty much con, contained, uh, kept control. But Trudy Schafer, (STAMMERS) if, Terry's a Republican. Why would he vote for this? Because he says it'll just completely eliminate his voice.
00:40:37 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, I don't think that it does eliminate the voice of the minority when we go to what is really democracy. The representational demi, uh, of government that we have is based on majority rule. And as I've said, we do have the fact that the majority rule will be more obvious here. There will be more transparency because people will be able to hold the people who vote for a budget, accountable. As it is now, these votes come in late at night, uh, after, in this case, months and months. And there have been so many back-of-the-room deals, some of which everyone knows about, some of which no one knows about, practically.
00:41:10 TRUDY SCHAFER (CONTINUED)
And it's very hard for voters to really know what it means. In this case, we have the fact that the majority may be able to, to pass a budget. I think a number of members of the minority party will work with them. And then we have elections.
00:41:24 JOHN MYERS
Let me, uh, on, on this same point, uh, read a few of the e-mails that have come in. And again, let me remind you, we're talking about Proposition 25. You can, uh, participate by calling us toll free at eight six six, seven three three, six seven eight six. Or you can e-mail us at email@example.com. Uh, David e-mailed in to say, on the same point, why don't the Republicans realize that Prop 25 is the only way they will ever get a majority in California? If taxation is so terrible, give the Democrats enough rope to hang themselves. And the Republicans will win the next election.
00:41:52 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Uh, also on the, uh, e-mails, um, uh, uh, Shankar, hope I'm pronouncing that correctly, e-mailed in to say, it's very obvious what's going on here. The Chamber Of Commerce and business representatives have no solutions to offer, but are merely making partisan arguments so they can preserve the ability for the minority Republican party to hold the state hostage. Let's stop the specious arguments and fear mongering. Think that might go into your neck of the woods, Loren Kaye, uh, with your, uh, position with The California Foundation for Commerce and Education. What, what do you say to, to that listener?
00:42:23 LOREN KAYE
Well, uh, first John, I'd like to, uh, talk about this ho, holding accountable, um, uh, theme that, that we've heard. Uh, this notion that, oh, if you have a majority vote, then, uh, if a single party, uh, has total accountability, then the voters will hold them accountable. I'm, I don't know where these, uh, callers and proponents have been living for the last, uh, couple of decades, but, uh, this legislature has been anything but accountable. They have a reelection rate that beats the old, uh, Supreme Soviet. Uh, the, uh, and I, I give The League Of Women Voters and others, uh, credit for, uh, joining with, uh, the Chamber Of Commerce and Governor Schwarzenegger in, uh, promoting successfully reapportionment reform and, uh, uh, the top two primary.
00:43:16 LOREN KAYE (CONTINUED)
But those haven't taken effect yet. And we don't know what sort of effect they're gonna have. The problem with the budget is not the rules. It's the people who are working on the budget. And if you wanna change the outcome of the budget, you've gotta change the people. Not just, uh, not just the rules. And I think that, uh, that's where the focus and the attention, uh, has got to be.
00:43:38 JOHN MYERS
Um, let me, uh, take a call here from Hugh, who is in Oakland. Hugh, good morning.
Yes, good morning. Um, I, uh, believe in the majority, uh, vote. However, I'm concerned that the pay, uh, paying core constituencies of both parties won't change. And therefore, uh, the budget won't either. And on the Republican side, that's the upper income, highest income tier, and on the Democrat side, that's the, uh, state, um, state workers and unions who, even in the recession, never ever have to, uh, take a pay cut, like the rest of us. And in between, get squeezed, um, those who don't have, uh, a professional, uh, body, paying body to represent them. And that's the kids and education. Uh, we need a moderate party in the state and honest broker.
00:44:34 JOHN MYERS
Hugh, what I, uh, can I ask you a question quickly? Would you be, would it be fair to say you're somewhat skeptical of this, then?
Well, (STAMMERS) I'm leaning towards voting for it because it, it should be majority rules. (COUGH) Uh, in a, in a democracy, I believe I, I do agree with the e-mail poster who said, um, you know, let, let's see how the Democrats perform. And if they'll take enough rope to, to hang themselves. But I'm also sure of the skepticism of your opponent, uh, because, um, uh, of, of where, uh, you know, both parties have their, their paying interest. And, and the kids and education, you know, get squeezed in between.
00:45:16 HUGH (CONTINUED)
And, and I don't know that that's gonna change, and I think, I don't concern that the Democrats are hiding behind, uh, their two thirds, you know, the negotiations that the Republicans, uh, squeeze in the no new taxes in order to, to, um, to hold the kids hostage themselves. Uh, the example being that they've always chosen education to get, the Democrats have always chosen education will get, get cut first before the unions take any cuts.
00:45:47 JOHN MYERS
Okay, Hugh. Thanks. Thanks for the comment. Uh, uh, Trudy Schafer, let me, let me broaden out Hugh's, um, concerns to, to something that I, that I think has come up at least, or it's been in the, the undercurrent of this conversation in this hour. And that is that, um, it would seem as supporters of Prop 25, you, you have a narrow line to walk here in one way.
00:46:05 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
And that is, you don't want to overpromise that Prop 25 will solve the dysfunction here at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Yet, at the same time, the voters have to believe it's gonna do something. Because otherwise, if they vote yes for it, and we still have this systemic ongoing impasses and fights, it only further turns them off from that anything can be fixed. I mean, so, what do ya tell them? I mean, you, you tell them, don't expect too much, but expect something? I mean, how do you, how do you weigh that?
00:46:30 TRUDY SCHAFER
(LAUGH) Well, you, you have identified a problem. And I think, probably there are many people in the listening audience who, who understand that exactly. We hear both, the, the problem that people feel that, uh, we're overpromising. And we're trying very hard, and I, you've heard me say that we think this is one of many reforms that people want to see. And we don't believe that it'll solve everything. But we do think it's a step in the right direction. We certainly have heard from a lot of the public who would like to have seen it gone farther. I think probably many people in the listening audience would like to it, uh, there to have been a change in the tax, in the vote requirement for tax increases. But this is, we think, something that can be done.
00:47:06 TRUDY SCHAFER (CONTINUED)
I would comment on something that Mister Kaye said a little bit ago, in, in that, yes, there are other provisions that we would like to see. We've support, um, for example, performance based budgeting. And we would like to see stronger oversight. But this is a Constitutional of, uh, amendment. It's got to go before the people. And the time is now. So we must pass this one. And then we can move on.
00:47:26 JOHN MYERS
Trudy Schafer from The League Of Women Voters, in support of Proposition 25. Uh, and again, uh, we're havin' (STAMMERS) an interesting substantive discussion, I think. Uh, it's a complicated, uh, question about, uh, whether it'll do exactly, everybody what they wanted to do. Uh, a few more e-mails that have come in on this. And, um, uh, let me, uh, let me read a few of these here. Uh, one of them is from, uh, from Mohammed, who says, I, and personally neither for or against Prop 25. I’ll probably abstain from voting on it.
00:47:56 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
I'd like to ask the panelists to demonstrate that the root cause of failing to pass the budget, and this gets to what I'm talking about. Is the two-thirds majority rather than other things? Polarization caused by lack of open primaries, gerrymandering districts. Once these are resolved, he says, I think we'll have rational elected officials, and then we can figure out if the, uh, budget process gets easier. Is that, is it, and, and, and in which case, maybe we should wait. Trudy Schafer?
00:48:19 TRUDY SCHAFER
Well, and I think what I just said was we shouldn't wait. We do have the ability to make this change right now. A Constitutional amendment has to go before the voters. It's there. We should be voting for it. The jury's still out on some of the other reforms. I believe, uh, I've been watching and participating very strongly. And the, um, uh, setting up of and, uh, selecting of the Commission to do independent redistricting, for example. And I have great faith in that.
00:48:44 TRUDY SCHAFER (CONTINUED)
But, uh, for example, The League Of Women Voters would, did not ever, we've never studied the, uh, top two primary. We took no position on that. There are a number of things we can't wait for, um, every two years going (LAUGH) to the ballot with one small reform. We've got to vote on this now.
00:49:00 JOHN MYERS
Go ahead, Loren. Okay. Please. Yes.
00:49:00 LOREN KAYE
(OVERLAPPING) Okay. Uh, John, if I could just, um, on that, I think the proponents are leveraging a budget crisis to get a, uh, a major change to the Constitution. We have budget crises about every time we have, um, the, we have bubbles in, in revenues in the economy. Maybe even, even more frequently. Uh, and when we have budget crises, we have late budgets. Uh, the biggest cause of late budgets, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures, (BACKGROUND NOISE) is a, is a budget crisis. Legislators don't want to make the tough decisions, so they put it off and put it off and put it off.
00:49:41 LOREN KAYE (CONTINUED)
Uh, as I said, New York has gone twenty years without getting a budget on time. They have a majority vote, uh, requirement, and they have overwhelming, uh, uh, at least in their House, they have overwhelming, uh, by one party. Uh, (STAMMERS) the point is that this is not going to address, uh, a budget crisis. The budget crisis being used to push this measure forward and I'm skeptical as to the motivations, as I've said earlier.
00:50:11 JOHN MYERS
Okay. Uh, we've got to, just a very small amount of time, uh, so let me try to see, uh, if Helene from Oakland can make her point very quickly here. Helene, good morning. You've been waiting for a while.
Good, good morning. Thanks so much. I will, uh, speak quickly. Uh, I'm, uh, supporting Prop 25 particularly when I learned that last year, in the midst of this huge budget deficit, there were huge tax cuts that were given to corporations in order to get that one or two votes to, to make the two thirds. There were huge tax cuts given to corporations, and it only made the hole even deeper. So I'm pro, I'm voting for Prop 25. Majority rule just makes sense. It will not solve anything, everything, but it's one step, uh, toward the process.
00:50:52 JOHN MYERS
Okay, Helene. Thank you. And I know Loren Kaye talked about that before, and, and his skepticism that, that, that process would change if it was a majority vote budget. Um, and again, as we, uh, come (WORD?) here at the top of the hour, just a few, uh, other things from e-mail because of, uh, that's about all the time we've got. Uh, with folks, uh, one person, Eugene, write in and to say if you wanna run California, then become the majority, which I guess is a message to Republicans, uh, if, if a majority vote passes. And, uh, E.D., who said, I'm a fifty year-old native Californian. I'm sick of playtime politics, I guess in Sacramento. (MUSIC) Where are the adults? Is this the best we can do?
00:51:23 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
And maybe that frustration is what voters will (MUSIC) have to, uh, figure out what that means when they consider the pros and cons of Proposition 25. Let me thank our guests, Trudy Schafer from The League of, uh, Women Voters, Loren Kaye from The California Foundation for Commerce and Education. And again, I'm John Myers, and for Dave Iverson, you've been listening to Forum. You're on KQED, public radio.