28 September 2006

The People Have the Power

I didn't realize there was such an obvious example in Fairbanks right now of why ballot initiatives can be so dangerous:

Adding Proposition 3 and Proposition 4 equals a Catch-22. The City Council would essentially be forced to enact a sales tax at the same time it would be prohibited from doing so. And if the public refused to vote for a sales tax, the city would then be desperately short of revenue. Although there could be other options for taxes and fees, it would not be easy to close the revenue gap, and most would be even less popular than a sales tax.
Prop. 3, as I get it, would impose a severe cap on property taxes, thus forcing a sales tax. Prop. 4 would forbid a sales tax, thus leaving the city's revenue streams completely compromised.

I have no problem giving power to the people. I just hope that when we do so, the people look at the whole picture and not just at the small item up for consideration on the ballot. Go talk to California, where something like 80% of the state's budget is mandated by ballot initiatives. It kind of makes you wonder why they even bother to have a state legislature.

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