UC Law Constitutional Quarterly


This Article analyzes the phenomenon known as ballot box budgeting. This Article examines both legislative measures put to a vote of the people and initiative measures which affect California's budget. The Article concludes that ballot box budgeting have lead to the state's current fiscal crisis are overblown, but that ballot box budgeting has in part contributed to California's economic woes. The Article includes a number of recommendations for improving the process of ballot box budgeting. First, a system of "pay-go" is recommended, whereby measures that reduce revenue should identify which program(s) will be cut, and measures that call for the floating of bonds should identify any program(s) that will be cut or taxes that will be increased in order to pay for these bonds in the short term. Second, this Article, calls for reducing the requirement that twothirds of the members of both legislative houses pass a budget. In addition, this Article contains a number of recommendations for improving the initiative process, including instituting the indirect initiative, allowing post-qualification modification of proposed initiatives and post-enactment legislative changes to statutory initiatives, and increasing financial disclosure requirements.