(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign) Friday was the 30th anniversary of the passage of Prop. 13, the financial strangle-hold on our gov
June 8, 2008

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign)

Friday was the 30th anniversary of the passage of Prop. 13, the financial strangle-hold on our government that has fueled the budget crises we continually face in California.

Get this: California Republicans are actually upset that the Democrats refused to hear a resolution to "honor" the passage of Prop. 13. In Friday's Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert email, Republican Assemblyman Bob Huff said it was "crystal clear that Democrats in Sacramento do not wish to recognize the benefits and the legacy of [Prop 13]."

I know it is a little hard for Huff and his "Yacht Party" colleagues to understand, but Prop. 13 and its offspring are the primary reasons why we have a structural budget deficit and struggle to balance our budget even in non-recessionary periods.

Unfortunately, it will be a long-term endeavor to modify Prop. 13, which was passed in 1978 allegedly to protect homeowners from high taxes. A new Field Poll released yesterday shows that 57% of Californians approve of the measure, while just 23% oppose it. Clearly, changing public opinion on Prop 13 is not going to happen overnight. More from the Sacramento Bee's email:

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass told listeners on a recent conference call sponsored by the liberal Courage Campaign that the measure wouldn't be part of the immediate agenda for her new tax commission.

"The reason for that is that it is such a polarizing issue," Bass said.

On our Courage Campaign Conversation with them over a week ago, Speaker Karen Bass and Senator Darrell Steinberg went into much greater detail on Prop. 13 and their long and short-term goals for fixing the budget and our tax structure. The full audio recording is ">available for streaming here.

Speaker Bass and Senator Steinberg know that band-aids will not solve California's budget crisis long-term. But, to eventually achieve long-term structural change, these progressive leaders need support from grassroots and netroots activists to galvanize power from outside of Sacramento.

Fixing Prop. 13 so that it protects homeowners while assuring that business pays its fair share is one of the long-term goals of the Courage Campaign, as part of a larger movement to fix the fundamental reasons why California's government is dysfunctional. It will take a strong, independent movement to change the way people think about our state government.

We can build that people-powered movement from the bottom-up, and eventually repair the damage done by Prop 13 and the right-wing over the coming years. But, to sustain our momentum, we asked Courage Campaign members to make a recurring contribution of $13 a month. If you are interested, you can do so here.

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