Prop 31 is a collection of budgetary and open government measures proposed by the reform group California Forward.
It would require all bills be made public at least three days prior to being voted on in the legislature, lengthen the state’s budgeting cycle from one to two years and mandate the identification of funding sources for all new programs costing over $25 million before they can be approved. It would also empower the governor to declare a “fiscal emergency” and then make cuts at will if the legislature fails to act.
Proponents insist these reforms are necessary to fix California’s infamously dysfunctional state government, whereas critics worry the new collaborative powers given to local governments would allow them to skirt environmental regulations. Additionally, opponents argue that approving all new large-scale projects under a pay-as-you-go system would further exacerbate Prop 13’s hobbling of the legislature’s ability to creatively adapt to California’s ever-changing needs.