A couple of weeks ago, I reported in this space on some of the mail Gov. Jerry Brown received in 1978 after the passage of Prop 13. It turns out there was more where that came from. Since then I've been through another half-dozen boxes of Prop 13 mail in Gov. Brown's papers at USC.
One document in these boxes is particularly helpful. Brown's office in 1978 sampled 1,000 of the letters he received on Prop 13, and counted up how many times each idea for making up lost revenues were made among the 1,000-letter sample.
Here's the breakdown (each number shows the number of people out of 1000 to suggest the idea):
112 – cut or eliminate welfare
110 – legislators, state employees should take a salary cut
101 – use different tax base (income, sales, luxury).
94 – keep essential services no matter what cuts demanded by Prop 13 (school, fire, police)
88 – cut management administrators, waste in school system.
78 – eliminate fringe benefits for legislators and state employees (cars, houses, phones, etc.)
61 – legalize gambling (lottery, track)
61 – cut busing in schools
55 -- cut the frills, fat management, administrators, waste in government
37 -- eliminate or cut pensions, double-triple dipping
36 -- OK to use surplus (Editor's note: state then had a large budget surplus)
35 -- school pupils should bring own supplies, charge tuition in universities
32 -- not cutting enough, cut from the top
27 -- eliminate bilingual education
25 -- keep library funding
22 -- keep health servcies
15 -- take cuts in judicial system (trials, clerks, judges’ salaries)
12 -- keep California Arts council
7 -- split tax roll (that is, change Prop 13 by splitting the tax roll and giving Prop 13 benefits to homeowners, but not to commercial property tax owners).