The Arc Says ‘No on Prop. 1A,’
Takes No Position on Other Ballot Measures

It’s not easy for The Arc of California to oppose on Proposition 1A on the May 19 special election ballot.

Without passage of Proposition 1A, the new temporary tax increases that the Legislature enacted this year will end one or two years earlier. So without Proposition 1A, the state budget will lose $16 billion more in 2010-13 – and we can expect that deficit to lead to still more cuts affecting people with developmental disabilities.

But with passage of Proposition 1A, the state will be saddled with a tight, permanent spending limit. While “spending limit” sounds good, we have seen what it means for our community – ever-decreasing supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Under Proposition 1A, it would be worse.

The Proposition 1A spending limit would be based on a revenue base even lower than Governor Schwarzenegger’s “baseline” spending forecast, a forecast that assumes all of the spending cuts that the Governor proposed at the beginning of this year would be permanent. In other words, the Proposition 1A spending limit would be based on a permanent $334 million cut in developmental disability community services (a much bigger cut than the $100 million that the Legislature actually approved) – and would not even allow enough revenue to pay for what’s left of the services after that much larger cut.

And it gets worse. Under Proposition 1A, the limit could only up enough to equal inflation plus population increase, regardless of increasing needs. Yet we know our state’s needs will continue to increase in coming years due to the aging population and the transition of students with Autism into adult services, if nothing else. With the Proposition 1A spending limit, we could not meet the increasing needs, and we would continue to slide farther behind. We could never restore the cuts, even in good years.

Furthermore, California already has a budget reserve fund for “rainy days” like this year. But under Proposition 1A, the state couldn’t spend the reserve fund on operating expenses such as developmental disability community services – no matter how much money is in the fund and how much it’s needed. On the contrary, Proposition 1A actually would require the state to cut money out of the budget and put it into the reserve fund even in bad years like this year. If Proposition 1A were in effect now, it likely would force even worse service cuts in the developmental disability system that we are actually facing.

Finally, Proposition 1A would give the Governor the unilateral power to cut spending if available resources decline or expenditures increase “substantially” mid-way through a budget year. Remember the $334 million cut in developmental disability community services that Governor Schwarzenegger proposed early this year? Under Proposition 1A, he could have imposed the cut on his own, with no chance for the Legislature to stop any of the cut.

Proposition 1A would do nothing to address California’s basic budget problem – a permanent imbalance between revenue and spending.

We believe that passing Proposition 1A, while avoiding some serious short-term pain for our community and the state, would lock us into permanent poverty.

For a much more detailed analysis of this complex proposition, see the California Budget Project’s report, “What Would Proposition 1A Means for California’s Future” at

Propositions 1B to 1F

For a simple explanation of all the propositions, see the League of Women Voters’ “Easy Voters Guide” at

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Visit the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities online