This year, with the economy in chaos and the California budget crisis far from over, no one gets a free pass into the state's general fund.
But that is what Proposition 6 on the Nov. 4 ballot promises for law enforcement. As much as we all appreciate what police and sheriff's deputies do for us, we cannot afford to guarantee them a slice of the state budget. We urge voters to say no to Prop. 6.
Prop. 6 would set aside $965,000 from the state's general fund for law enforcement, probation programs and juvenile probation facilities. There is no revenue generating mechanism here, no way to put money back into the fund. This measure takes money from the budget pool that funds health care, education and other public safety services.
In addition, the measure makes revisions to California criminal law that will, in effect, create new crimes and additional penalties. According to the state Legislative Analyst, expanded criminal justice programs would add $500 million to the state budget.
We simply cannot afford Prop. 6.
Proposition 9, too, has the potential to add to the state budget, because it could restrict the early release of inmates to reduce jail overcrowding. But the main reason we recommend a no vote is that this measure is simply unnecessary.
Prop. 9 on the Nov. 4 ballot would take the Victims' Bill of Rights, approved by voters 26 years ago, and make it part of the state Constitution.
With few exceptions, the provisions of the measure, such as notification of victims and their families of sentencing and parole hearings, are already covered by the Victims' Bill of Rights and other state laws. Putting it into the Constitution places these provisions in a position where it would take a three-fourths vote of the Legislature or another ballot measure to make future changes.
Neither Prop. 6 nor Prop. 9 serves California well. We urge a no vote on both measures.