Prop Zero
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Democrats Could Give California a New Constitution

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    NEWSLETTERS

    All the talk about the likely Democratic supermajority has been about how they might use it for taxes.

    But the real potential for the supermajority isn't about taxes (since those options were limited by the passage of Prop 30). The potential lies with the state constitution.

    California's constitution is too long and too complicated. As a result, its governing system is broken and its budget can't be balanced.

    Democrats, with a supermajority, now have it in their power to fix this.

    Constitutional reform is much easier when one party has a 2/3 supermajority. Because writing a new constitution requires some two-thirds votes.

    Democrats have a choice. They could, with a two-thirds vote, asks the voters to call a constitutional convention. Or the legislature itself could draw up a new constitution, and with a 2/3 vote, submit it to the people.

    The Democrats should be pushed, and pushed again, until they do this. No more whining. We'll find out by how they respond whether the Democrats really want to fix California's broken governing system and make the state governable -- or whether they prefer to preside over the system we have now.

    Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

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