SAN FRANCISCO — Voters have not warmed to most of California’s May 19 special election ballot measures, according to a poll released this week, a distaste that threatens to blow an even larger hole in the state government’s already stressed budget.
Six measures were placed on the special election ballot in connection with the Legislature’s February passage of a mid-year budget package to close what was then seen as a $42 billion deficit in the combined fiscal 2009 and 2010 budgets.
The measure that fared the worst in this week’s Public Policy Institute of California survey is the one that would blow the biggest hole in the budget were it to fail.
That is Proposition 1C, which would “modernize” the California Lottery and authorize the state to borrow $5 billion during fiscal 2010 by issuing bonds backed by future lottery revenue.
That measure was opposed by 50% of the likely voters surveyed in the poll, while 37% said they would vote yes, with the rest undecided.
“Californians are clear that the budget situation is serious, but most disapprove of the leadership in Sacramento — the people who are providing the solutions,” the survey director, PPIC president Mark Baldassare, said in a news release. “These leaders have their work cut out for them if they want to persuade voters that the ballot measures are necessary to address the problem.”
Only one of the six measures received majority support: Proposition 1F, which prohibits pay raises for lawmakers and the governor in years when the state runs a deficit.
Also trailing was Proposition 1A, the budget reform measure championed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. That would create a spending limit linked to past revenue trends and increase the state’s rainy-day fund. It would also extend the temporary tax increases approved in the February budget agreement.
That measure was supported by 39% of those surveyed, with 46% opposed.
The other three measures, requiring some revenue shifts that would have a much smaller impact on the budget than the lottery measure, were ahead in the survey, but short of the better than 50% needed to pass.
The state budget adopted in February depended on $5 billion from lottery bond proceeds during fiscal 2010 to remain in balance.
Since then, the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office has estimated that the weakening economy will reduce general fund revenues by $8 billion in fiscal 2010. If voters reject the lottery proposal in May, that budget gap will swell to $13 billion.