Governing by initiatives: very costly

February 22, 2012

California’s government is increasingly impacted by the whim of successful voter initiatives, which have multiplied like amoeba during a half century of public  availability.

Data provided by the California State Senate suggest there might be as many as 885 proposed initiatives by this end of this decade. [SanJoseMercuryNews]

By contrast, during the years 1960 to 1969, 47 such initiates were introduced. The numbers have nearly doubled annually. With a filing fee of only $200, the process attracts subject matter that is both serious and comical. And the exploitation of the initiative as a cheap advertising opportunity is not unheard of.

Those so-called “vanity” submissions are costly, too: Last fiscal year, state officials spend more than $500,000 to process 102 initiatives. Attempts to raise the filing fee have thus far failed.



  1. As the world turns says:

    California is one state which allows both initiatives and referendums so citizens can have direct lawmaking.

    Obviously, government officials and politicians are not doing their jobs if citizens are forced to work on initiatives (and referendums) to be involved in lawmaking.

    The government officials and politicians are responsible for the increased cost due to their inability to do their jobs.

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      “The government officials and politicians are responsible for the increased cost due to their inability to do their jobs.”

      I think you are on to something here. But why is this? Is it because they are trying to do too much? Are they trying to exercise too much control over the economy?

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  2. willieslo says:

    Initiatives may be more costley but more preferential by “the people” than “the politicians and special interest!”

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  3. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Governing by fiat money: even costlier.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
    • zaphod says:

      even gold is fiat.

      (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
      • The Gimlet Eye says:

        No it’s not. Fiat money is created OUT OF NOTHING, and is BACKED BY NOTHING.

        Unless you believe in the “Philosopher’s Stone,” they can’t create gold out of nothing.

        They CAN print endless amounts of fiat paper money. They can also create electronic money. Most of the money in this country is in the form of “loans,” promises to pay, mortgages, etc. This opens the door to all sorts of abuse of the monetary system by those in control of the money.

        That’s where we stand now.

        (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
      • willieslo says:

        Even better than paper, coin and gold, how about electronic or digital money!

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  4. pasojim says:

    Nothing is preventing the legislature from balancing the budget.

    As long as this current legislature is in place, we have NO chance of balancing the budget.

    (13) 17 Total Votes - 15 up - 2 down
  5. srichison says:

    This is what CCN considers “the high cost of initiatives?” Get real. The high cost of initiatives is the billions in spending burdens that prevent the legislature from being able to balance the budget. We all know the sucker public will vote for every feel good proposition that comes along – and, in the process, swallow whole when we are told “it will pay for itself (read: bonds).” As long as the current initiative process is in place, this state has no chance of balancing a budget, regardless of which party controls the legislature.

    (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down

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