California voters have crushed efforts by elected leaders to patch a gaping hole in the state budget with a package of ballot measures that included borrowing, extending $16 billion worth of taxes and promising to reform future budgets with a reserve fund and a spending cap.
With about a quarter of the state's precincts in as of 9:30 p.m., the Secretary of State's Office reported none of Propositions 1A through 1E were garnering more than 41 percent of the vote. Only Proposition F, which would freeze the salaries of state elected officials in bad budget years, was winning - and it was winning big.
"It appears this evening we can declare political victory," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which was part of a confederation of those who opposed the first five ballot measures. "The people have spoken. They don't like the status quo."
Proponents threw in the towel early, even echoing the opponents' assessment.
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"Clearly the voters have spoken," said Bill Hauck, president of the Business Roundtable, who was speaking for the consortium of groups and individuals who supported the measures. "The voters are angry, they're frustrated, and they've concluded the politicians in Sacramento are not getting the job done."
The drubbing appeared to be statewide in scope. In Sacramento County, where residents are closest to state government, none of the first five measures on the ballot were doing much better than they were statewide. In vote-rich Los Angeles County, Propositions 1A through 1E were struggling - and failing - to crack the 40-percent-yes barrier. Even liberal-leaning San Francisco County voters were barely approving the measures.
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