National Opinions

Porterville Recorder: Why two-thirds?

There's nothing sacrosanct about requiring a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to approve spending, or to impose taxes.

But there's nothing sacred about a 50-percent or 55-percent threshold either.

The fact that most states don't require two-thirds approval, as California's constitution does, is equally irrelevant. None of these standards is written in stone.

How then should we determine how easy -- or difficult -- to make it for the state Legislature to spend tax money, or to increase your tax burden?

At least two initiative efforts are under way, and perhaps more to come, that would reduce the California Legislature's two-thirds budget and taxing supermajority to 55 percent.

Considering how long and difficult the Legislature's recently concluded budget negotiations and razor-thin approval of tax increases were, should California's standard be lowered?

We have no trouble saying flatly, "No, the two-thirds requirements should not be lowered."

The appropriate threshold for empowering elected representatives to take and spend other people's money should be whatever limit is necessary to protect the people from their government.

The California Legislature's tax-and-spend propensity makes a two-thirds threshold a minimum standard, in our view.

(It's noteworthy that Arkansas requires three-fourths approval to pass appropriation bills.)

Some states may not require such a high bar to keep their legislators responsible and to prevent fleecing the public.

But California's elected leaders repeatedly have shown themselves to be irresponsible spendthrifts.

They will take as much as they can, and spend even more than they take.

Making it even easier to take and spend your money would make a bad situation even worse.