Proposition 28, Art & Music Funding: No
I am confident that people everywhere would be surprised that I oppose funding for art and education in our public schools.
Don’t be fooled. I don’t.
The contrary, the arts, including music, is an incredibly important part of a well-rounded education, and it should be well-funded for all of our public school students across the state. So why oppose this?
Ballot-box budgeting is one of the most nefarious methods to undermine actual budgeting. Over and over special interests have for years introduced budgeting by ballot box at all levels of government and it never, ever results in long-term effectiveness or responsible spending.
And yes, I’m aware that I just referred to California students as “special interests.” It is principle, not personal.
Editorials across the state have supported this initiative, saying things such as “arts and music programs are consistent casualties when school districts face budget cuts” and “California’s kids need and deserve a more robust commitment” and “This measure would put arts and music education on better financial footing for the benefit of students.”
All of this is true on its face. But it only puts a Band Aid on the problem and does not address the root cause of our arts and music programs being woefully underfunded: The people making and voting on the budgets.
And when you hamstring the people making the budgets by mandating budget specifics, other areas of our society are made to suffer. And we should not let others suffer in our ideals of doing good.
What we need to do is fix the roots causes of underfunded programs. That isn’t a feel-good patch initiative, but systemic revisions of how governments get funding and how much funding they get, and that starts by putting people in office on all levels who are not afraid to tackle this very issue.
We know that Republicans run on the single issue of “your taxes are too high,” which is code for “the taxes for me and my rich friends are too high.” The solution is to vote in Democrats so overwhelmingly that they never again fear that they might lost a seat to some random anti-tax fascist. Once we have that, we can weed out the bad and corrupt Democrats and get good governance in all levels across the state, implement a fair tax program, and have funding for not only arts and music programs in schools, but police, fire, parks, other school programs, and all sort of things that make our society a better place in which to live.
But we can’t do that when budgets are hamstrung by initiative. And that’s why you should always, always reject every form of ballot box budgeting. It’s why you should vote No on Prop. 28.