Pixel Tracker

Friday, December 14 , 2018, 6:40 pm | Fair 58º


Voters Reject 5 of 6 Ballot Measures, Sending Clear Message to Legislators

Californians say no to cuts and new taxes, and the Santa Barbara City Council says no to local property taxes being moved for state use

After a slow day at the polls, Tuesday’s special election results confirmed that Californians are not willing to give Sacramento the cuts or new taxes it sought to close the budget gap. Five out of six items on the ballot failed — statewide and in Santa Barbara County — with the exception of a measure that would prevent elected legislators and officers, including the governor, from receiving pay raises while California is running a deficit.

Voters faced confusing language on the ballot and saw little advertising on the initiatives, sealing their fate. The first item on the ballot, Proposition 1A, was the biggest item legislators were hoping to pass. It would have increased the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which would have come from increases in sales and use taxes, vehicle license fees and personal income tax. The item failed by 65.9 percent statewide and 64.9 percent in the county.

Proposition 1B, which would have mandated $9.3 billion in payments to schools and community colleges by forgoing short-term increases, failed by 63.8 percent in the county and 62.6 percent in the state.

The measure that would have allowed the Legislature to borrow against future lottery taxes, Proposition 1C, also was shot down, losing by 68.5 percent in the county and 64.6 percent in the state. Cuts proposed to children’s “First Five” programs and mental health programs, Propositions 1D and 1E, were rejected, with 1D losing 71.5 percent of the votes in the county and 65.8 percent in the state, and 1E losing by 72 percent in the county and 66.4 percent in the state.

Proposition 1F, to prevent pay raises for elected officials in deficit years, won 74.7 percent of votes countywide and 73.9 percent statewide.

Santa Barbara County saw only about 20 percent turnout in eligible voters Tuesday, and poll workers at several precincts said turnout for the special election seemed exceptionally low.

After casting her ballot Tuesday afternoon, Gwat Bhattacharji said she has voted ever since she became a citizen and doesn’t miss an election. “It’s a privilege to vote,” she said, adding that she understood why turnout was low.

“People are very disillusioned,” she said. “It’s the national psyche to overspend.”

Billie Alvarez, chief deputy registrar of voters for Santa Barbara County, said, “It’s been very slow out at the polling places. She said across the state in other counties, turnout has hovered at about 35 percent.

While voters were trickling into the polls Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously passed a resolution expressing its disapproval with state talks to borrow from local governments. The state is allowed to borrow local property taxes in dire financial situations, but can borrow only 8 percent of those taxes and only for three years. The amount the state would like to borrow amounts to $2.3 million, which represents about 2 percent of the city’s $107 million General Fund.

Article Image
A resident submits his vote at the Earl Warren Showgrounds on Tuesday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

In solidarity with 120 other cities, Santa Barbara went on record agreeing with the League of California Cities, which has opposed local funds being moved for state use.

Unanimous discord was heard from all of the council members.

“Sacramento needs to wake up and do their job just like we do at the local level,” Councilman Grant House said. Borrowing without assurance of being paid back plus interest is not in the city’s best interest, he said.

Councilman Das Williams said Californians asking for no taxes and no cuts was not the answer. “We have to do one or the other,” said Williams, a 2010 Assembly candidate.

“They need to fix their own house,” Councilwoman Iya Falcone said in disagreement. “Balance your own budgets with your own money.” 

Now that the items have failed, California faces a $21 billion budget gap. If the measures had passed, the deficit would have closed slightly to $15 billion.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger already has been talking about myriad cuts to address the gap, including cuts to education, borrowing $2 billion from local governments, drilling for oil off the Santa Barbara coast and transferring state inmates to county prisons.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.