1
The Effect of System Flexibility on Fiscal Initiative
Frequency
John A. McNerney and Timothy R. Snowball
University of C...
2
Table of Contents
1. Research Overview Page 3
2. Methodology Page 6
3. Presentation of Findings and Analysis Page 11
4. ...
3
Research Overview
California’s system of direct democracy is the most inflexible in the United States.1
The
California l...
4
We will then construct a methodology for the purposes of measuring the effect of initiative
system flexibility on fiscal...
5
greatest impact on the everyday lives of citizens.9
Given the prevalence of initiatives, the
question then becomes wheth...
6
direct limited resources.17
Proposition 13 made it impossible for local governments to finance
economic development from...
7
criteria by which we characterize each category of flexibility include: the types of initiative
processes offered, pre-c...
8
Table A: Criteria for Flexibility25
Initiative
Processes
Pre-circulation
Review
Title and
Summary
Expedited
Judicial Rev...
9
California: Inflexible
California allows for no indirect approval of either statutory or constitutional initiatives,
and...
10
analysis by comparing the data spatially as well as employing numerical comparisons across
states. We believe our resea...
11
Presentation of Findings and Analysis
When considering the data contained in Graph A, which represents data across our
...
12
Graph B displays the total fiscal initiatives qualified in each of the four states across our
continuum with the additi...
13
Graph C reveals important distinctions in the specific categories of initiatives qualified by
each state. When consider...
14
The data in Graph D represents an overall comparison of each state’s ratio of variance in
tax measures qualified compar...
15
difference, while more flexible states show a greater degree of difference. We believe this
correlation is directly rel...
16
When considering the data contained in Graph E for Oregon, tax initiatives, which spike
in the year 2001, also comprise...
17
When considering the data contained in Graph F for Colorado, again we find tax
initiatives comprise the largest share o...
18
When considering the data contained in Graph G for California, we find a greater
frequency and distribution of fiscal i...
19
Analysis Summary
We submit that our data clearly demonstrates that the flexibility of initiative systems have
an effect...
20
with certainty. In Table B we take account of these possible variables which could have an effect
upon the initiative s...
21
qualification requirements and Oregon’s provision for unlimited circulation of proposed
initiatives.
Summary and Sugges...
22
power in the operation of the state government. But no one benefits if the very policies passed
via initiative are the ...
23
attempting to measure as well as our conclusion. Isolating these potential confounds would
greatly increase both the in...
24
APPENDIX: DATA
California Tax Spending Bond Budget Other Annual Total
1962 2.00 2.00
1963 0.00
1964 1.00 3.00 4.00
1965...
25
1999 0.00
2000 3.00 2.00 1.00 2.00 4.00 12.00
2001 0.00
2002 2.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 5.00
2003 1.00 1.00
2004 4.00 2.00 3.0...
26
Colorado Tax Spending Bonds Budget Other
Annual
Total
1962 2.00 2.00
1963 0.00
1964 0.00
1965 0.00
1966 1.00 2.00 3.00
...
27
2000 1.00 1.00 3.00 5.00
2001 1.00 1.00
2002 5.00 5.00
2003 1.00 1.00 2.00
2004 1.00 3.00 4.00
2005 0.00
2006 7.00 7.00...
28
Oregon Tax Spending Bonds Budget Other
Annual
Total
1962 2.00 2.00
1963 0.00
1964 2.00 2.00
1965 0.00
1966 0.00
1967 0....
29
2000 2.00 5.00 2.00 3.00 12.00
2001 0.00
2002 1.00 6.00 7.00
2003 0.00
2004 2.00 3.00 5.00
2005 0.00
2006 1.00 1.00 8.0...
30
Washington Tax Spending Bonds Budget Other
Annual
Total
1962 1.00 1.00
1963 0.00
1964 1.00 1.00
1965 0.00
1966 1.00 2.0...
31
2000 1.00 2.00 4.00 7.00
2001 2.00 1.00 3.00
2002 1.00 1.00 2.00
2003 1.00 1.00
2004 1.00 3.00 4.00
2005 1.00 1.00 3.00...
32
Works Cited
"About the Political Reform Act." California Fair Political Practices Commission. N.p.. Web. 2
Apr 2013. <h...
33
Matsusaka, John. "Direct Democracy Works." American Economic Association. Volume 19.
(Spring 2005): 185-206. Web. 22 Ma...
of 33

Political Science 171-Research Project

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Political Science 171-Research Project

  • 1. 1 The Effect of System Flexibility on Fiscal Initiative Frequency John A. McNerney and Timothy R. Snowball University of California, Berkeley April 2013
  • 2. 2 Table of Contents 1. Research Overview Page 3 2. Methodology Page 6 3. Presentation of Findings and Analysis Page 11 4. Summary and Suggestions for Future Research Page 21 5. APPENDIX: DATA Page 24 6. Works Cited Page 32
  • 3. 3 Research Overview California’s system of direct democracy is the most inflexible in the United States.1 The California legislature and other institutions do not share in the participation or oversight functions granted to many other state governments.2 Once approved by the voters, initiatives in California can only be undone or modified by an additional popular vote.3 This inflexible process leads to a crisis of accountability that restricts the ability of the state government to meet new demands and execute effective governance.4 Approved fiscal initiatives have had a particularly detrimental impact on California’s finances. A salient example is Proposition 13. Approved in 1978, Prop 13 slashed property taxes as a major source of local state revenue, harming the ability of local governments to provide essential social services. As long as California’s initiative system remains inflexible and unreformed at the structural level,5 detrimental fiscal policies will continue to be instituted through direct democracy. In this paper, we will analyze the effect of varying degrees of state initiative flexibility on the frequency of fiscal initiative qualification. Our theoretical assumption is that states with more flexible initiative systems will be less likely to qualify fiscal initiatives. Flexible initiative systems allow more participation in the process by elected officials. As a result, many fiscal initiatives never reach the ballot, as they are replaced by policies passed through the traditional legislative process. We will begin by considering the previous research pertaining to initiative systems, including work related both to the aggregate United States and the specific system in California. 1 Joe Matthews and Mark Paul. California Crackup How reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It. 171. 2 Ibid. 3 Matthews and Paul 170-171. 4 Matthews and Paul 170. 5 Matthews and Paul 173.
  • 4. 4 We will then construct a methodology for the purposes of measuring the effect of initiative system flexibility on fiscal initiative frequency. We will categorize California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington on a continuum of flexibility. These state initiative systems represent varying degrees of flexibility, and were recommended to us directly by Joe Matthews, co-author of the book “California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It.” We will then code all qualified fiscal initiatives from 1962-2012, construct a quantitative data- set, and conduct a cross-state analysis. With this data we hope to access the inflexible nature of the initiative system in California and gauge the possible utility of proposed reforms. Literature Review There has been a wide array of scholarly research performed on the various systems of direct democracy in the United States. Principle among such research is the work of John G. Matsusaka and David B. Magleby. Regarding the specific system in California, the work of Roger L. Kemp and Nick Brestoff provide valuable insights. We begin with John G. Matsusaka. Matsusaka is the professor of American Enterprise in the Marshall School of Business, Gould School of Law, and Department of Political Science at the University of Southern California.6 In “Direct Democracy Works,” he considers the implications of statewide initiatives and direct democracy by testing whether they make state governments more or less effective. He argues that the majority of policy innovations in the last several decades have been fueled directly by state initiatives.7 These include a variety of issues including term limits on legislators, euthanasia, gambling, medical marijuana, capital punishment, and taxes.8 Matsusaka submits that it is state initiatives, not laws passed by state or the federal government, which have the 6 "John G. Matsusaka." University of Southern California. 7 John Matsusaka. "Direct Democracy Works." American Economic Association. 185. 8 Matsusaka 185.
  • 5. 5 greatest impact on the everyday lives of citizens.9 Given the prevalence of initiatives, the question then becomes whether citizens are capable of proposing beneficial public policies. David B. Magleby, professor of political science at Brigham Young University and an expert on direct democracy, argues that many initiative systems do not allow the same compromise and consensus building as that fostered by a bicameral legislature.10 According to Magleby, initiative processes depart largely from the republican form of government provided for and mandated to the states by the U.S Constitution.11 Furthermore, he explains that the average citizen lacks the interest, time, inclination, or expertise to act as an effective lawmaker.12 According to Magleby, the ability for voters to cope with direct legislation is directly correlated with levels of education and interest, and consequently many voters remain marginalized or disenfranchised by the process.13 He notes that direct legislation, often designed to resolve an issue, merely exacerbates it.14 Roger L. Kemp, a public servant with over 30 years of experience in both local and state government, authored a fiscal assessment of the implications for local governments in California by the passage of Proposition 13 in 197815 . Kemp’s study explicates the reality of Proposition 13’s effect on local government revenue, which resulted in a net reduction of 7 billion dollars statewide.16 According to Kemp, local governments in California lost 57% of expected property tax revenues after Proposition 13’s passage, forcing them to reassess critical programs and re- 9 Matsusaka 185. 10 "CSED Senior Research Fellow David B. Magleby." Brigham Young University, Center for the Studies of Elections and Democracy, and David Magleby. "Let the Voters Decide - An Assessment of the Initiative and Referendum Process Governing by Initiative." 18. 11 Magleby 18. 12 Magleby 19. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid. 15 Roger Kemp. "California's Proposition 13: A One-Year Assessment.". 44 16 Kemp 44
  • 6. 6 direct limited resources.17 Proposition 13 made it impossible for local governments to finance economic development from general revenue sources, discouraging them from this pursuing this policy.18 Kemp argues that the loss of significant property tax revenue through Proposition 13 promulgated legislative difficulties for the future viability of local government and the state writ large.19 Nick Brestoff, a prominent Los Angeles attorney and graduate of UCLA Law School,20 argues that in California a poor law may be enacted through an initiative that given the lack of review by the state government, abuses of the signature-gathering process, and misleading advertising campaigns, obfuscates complex issues.21 He proposes that the “quality value” of debate must be added to a proposed initiative process to aid in the deliberation of the citizenry.22 Possessing no review process for the drafting of initiative proposals, California citizens are often under informed or misled by both the proposers of the initiative and powerful special interests.23 The California initiative process is even more costly in political terms because there is no amendments process in place to change initiatives once they have been approved for the ballot or passed by the voters.24 Methodology Conceptual Definitions For the purposes of our research, we define “flexibility” as the degree to which a state allows legislative or other institutional participation and oversight of the initiative process. The 17 Kemp 46 18 Ibid 19 Ibid. 20 Linked In." Nick Brestoff, Overview. N.p.. Web. 10 April 2013. 21 Nick Brestoff. "The California Initiative Process: A Suggestion for Reform." 927. 22 Brestoff 953. 23 Brestoff 934-935. 24 Brestoff 958.
  • 7. 7 criteria by which we characterize each category of flexibility include: the types of initiative processes offered, pre-circulation state review, the authorship of the title and summary, the possibility of state judicial review, subject limitations, and legislative oversight. In Table A, we include the criteria we employed to categorize the flexibility of the initiative systems in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Washington: Flexible Washington restricts initiatives to include only statutes, as well as offering initiative proponents the option of indirect approval. In this system, the proposed initiative is first considered by the state’s legislature before being placed on the ballot. Washington also requires mandatory review of the proposed initiative. The state attorney general has the sole discretion of choosing the title and summary of the initiative. This state also provides for expedited judicial review of this title and summary, while instituting subject limitations to restrict initiatives to single subjects and legislative matters only. It further empowers the state legislature to repeal or amend an approved initiative at any time. Oregon and Colorado: Slightly Flexible and Slightly Inflexible Oregon and Colorado share many system attributes, but vary in several key factors which enables us to tentatively define them. Oregon requires the mandatory pre-circulation review of proposed initiatives by the state attorney general, while Colorado relegates this task to a legislative council. Oregon also places the sole discretion of deciding the title and summary of proposed initiatives in the hands of the attorney general, while Colorado employs a Drafting Board in the context of public hearings. And while Colorado utilizes a single subject rule, Oregon goes a step further by also restricting initiatives to purely legislative matters.
  • 8. 8 Table A: Criteria for Flexibility25 Initiative Processes Pre-circulation Review Title and Summary Expedited Judicial Review Subject Limitations Legislative Oversight Washington Statutes Only: Direct and Indirect Mandatory review by Code Reviser Mandatory review by Code Reviser Superior Court Single Subject and Legislative Matters Only Can repeal or amend by a 2/3 vote of each house during the first two years of enactment, majority vote thereafter Oregon Statutes and Amendments: Direct and Indirect Mandatory review for single subject by Attorney General Attorney General drafts preliminary caption and summary, receives public comments and writes final version. State Supreme Court Single Subject and Legislative Matter Only Can repeal and amend at any time Colorado Statutes and Amendments: Direct and Indirect Mandatory content review by Legislative Council Drafting board prepares caption and summary in conduct of public hearings State Supreme Court Single Subject Only Can repeal and amend California Statutes and Amendments: Direct and Indirect Optional Assistance from Legislative Council Attorney General writes caption and summary N/A Single Subject Only Cannot repeal or amend unless permitted by the initiative 25 "Comparison of Statewide Initiative Processes." Initiative & Referendum Institute. 1-29. Web. 6 Apr. 2013.
  • 9. 9 California: Inflexible California allows for no indirect approval of either statutory or constitutional initiatives, and does not allow any legislative or judicial review. Most importantly, it allows no modification or repeal of an approved initiative by the state government at any time. While California allows for the review of the title and summary of proposed initiatives by the state attorney general, and restricts proposed initiatives to single-subjects, the criteria by which it differs from the other states more than warrants its defined place on the continuum. Operational Definitions To construct variables for our measurement, we will code categories of fiscal initiatives. We define fiscal initiatives as those which affect taxation, spending, bond measures, or the state budget. The properties by which we define each variable are as follows: 1) Those initiatives which seek to raise or lower taxes will be coded as taxation oriented initiatives. 2) Those which seek to increase or decrease spending will be coded as spending oriented initiatives. 3) Those which seek to enact, modify, or repeal bond measures will be coded as bond oriented initiatives. 4) Those which seek to affect the budget, in any terms which seek to replace the status quo, will be coded as budget oriented initiatives. The primary source for our data will be the National Conference on State Legislatures Initiative and Referendum Database,26 a comprehensive record of all state initiatives and referendum measures since the introduction of direct democracy in the United States. We will construct a nominal time series data set of all qualified initiatives for California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington over a fifty year period from 1962 to 2012. We will execute our 26 "Initiative & Referendum Legislation Database." National Conference of State Legislatures. N.p.. Web. 4 Apr 2013.
  • 10. 10 analysis by comparing the data spatially as well as employing numerical comparisons across states. We believe our research will be sufficient to establish the necessary criteria for causation, though the case of spurious variables may pose major internal and external validity threats. We believe our measure to be both reliable and valid, but are concerned over possible sensitivity. In terms of reliability, our measure is based upon historical data on proposed initiatives, and we therefore predict a negligible amount of variation. To ensure reliability, we employed an inter-coder reliability assessment by checking and correcting each other’s coding of the fiscal initiatives for each of the four states. For the purposes of validity, we are confident that our measure is correspondent with the concept of flexibility, and hope to demonstrate such in our analysis. We utilized a face validation test by consulting with several of our colleagues in assessing both the validity of our measure and our case assignments. We do hold several concerns regarding the degree of sensitivity of our measure, in that we cannot absolutely guarantee that our variables are entirely mutually exclusive or exhaustive. In many cases we were forced to make a determination based upon which variable present in a coded initiative represented the greater effect on fiscal policy. The following graphs contained in our analysis are constructed through our data-set, included in the Appendix beginning on page 24.
  • 11. 11 Presentation of Findings and Analysis When considering the data contained in Graph A, which represents data across our continuum of flexibility, the sheer number of fiscal initiatives qualified in California is striking. Comparing the data across the states we find a deviation of 83 initiatives between the extremes of California (Inflexible) and Washington (Flexible) over the fifty year period we considered. California exceeds all three states by an average of 82 initiatives. The greatest deviation between scores is between California (Inflexible) and Colorado (Slightly Inflexible), by a margin of 89 initiatives. This somewhat departs from our theoretical assumptions. There must be a specific characteristic or possible confounding variable affecting the initiative frequency in Colorado, which we will consider later. Oregon (Slightly Flexible) exceeds Colorado by a margin of 15 initiatives, while Washington (Flexible) comes in last with only 40 total fiscal initiatives. Over all, we observe a clear negative correlation between flexibility and fiscal initiative frequency in this data. As systems become more flexible, the frequency of fiscal initiatives decreases. 123 34 49 40 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 California Colorado Oregon Washington Graph A: Total Qualified Fiscal Initatives 1962-2012 Totals
  • 12. 12 Graph B displays the total fiscal initiatives qualified in each of the four states across our continuum with the addition of non-fiscal initiatives, for an over-all initiative total. California again dwarfs the comparison states. In California we observe that fiscal initiatives comprise 56% of total initiatives. In Colorado and Oregon, fiscal initiatives comprised only 31 and 32%, respectively. 36% of initiatives in Washington were fiscally based, for a total average deviation of 20% from California. According to this data, California ranks as the highest state for both fiscal and non-fiscal qualified initiatives, exceeding the other states by an average total of 95. Overall, Oregon has the greatest number of non-fiscal initiatives with a total of 105, exceeding California by a margin of 9, and Colorado and Washington by 29 and 33. In this data, we observe the same negative correlation for overall initiative qualifications as we noted above regarding the data in Graph A. Initiative system flexibility seems to have an effect on both fiscal and non-fiscal initiative frequency. 123 34 49 40 96 76 105 72 0 50 100 150 200 250 California Colorado Oregon Washington Graph B: Total Qualified Initatives 1962-2012 Non-Fiscal Initatives Fiscal Initiatives
  • 13. 13 Graph C reveals important distinctions in the specific categories of initiatives qualified by each state. When considering the averages of this margin, we find that California exceeds the other states by a margin of 19.6 for tax initiatives, 28.3 for spending initiatives, 15 for bond initiatives, and 18.6 for budget initiatives. Overall, this amounts to a total average variance of 20.3 initiatives. We observe that tax initiatives are by far the most frequent form of fiscal initiative across all four states, followed next by spending, both showing evidence of a negative association as the initiative process becomes more flexible. Colorado is again marked as an outlier, registering the least number of initiatives for each category. Interestingly, California is the only state which we recorded as having more than one budget initiative, surpassing all three other states by a margin of 15. California exceeds all other comparable in the continuum by sizable margins for each initiative category, and therefore confirms the correlation we observed in the data contained in both Graphs A and B. 45 24 26 26 37 4 11 11 16 1 1 1 25 5 12 2 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 California Colorado Oregon Washington Graph C: Fiscal Initiatives by Category 1962- 2012 Tax Spending Bonds Budget
  • 14. 14 The data in Graph D represents an overall comparison of each state’s ratio of variance in tax measures qualified compared to spending measures qualified, and provides additional evidence of the correlation of the flexibility of a state’s initiative system and fiscal policy frequency. According to this data, states that have less flexible systems see a close congruence between qualified tax and spending initiatives. Colorado qualifies far more tax measures (24) than spending measures (4), while Oregon’s tax-to-spending ratio is more than double (26 to 11). Washington also qualifies far more tax measures (26) than spending measures (11), mirroring Oregon. Finally, California qualifies slightly more tax measures (45) than spending measures (37). Interestingly, the numeric difference between each state’s qualified tax measures in comparison to spending measures represents a measure of flexibility within that state’s initiative system. The flexibility of an initiative system is directly correlated with the tax-to-spend ratio of difference in a state. Our data shows that inflexible systems manifest a smaller degree of 45 24 26 26 37 4 11 118 20 15 15 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 California Colorado Oregon Washington INITIATIVES Graph D: Tax and Spending Variance Model Tax Spending Difference
  • 15. 15 difference, while more flexible states show a greater degree of difference. We believe this correlation is directly related to the tools available for states to act as a filtration mechanism in processing initiatives, again reaffirming our theoretical assumptions. More flexible initiative systems will be less likely to qualify fiscal initiatives, as they allow more oversight and participation in the initiative process. More Inflexible systems will be more likely to qualify fiscal policy, as per no oversight and government participation in the initiative process. When considering the data contained in Graph D for Washington, we can clearly observe that tax initiatives are by far the largest share (26) of fiscal initiatives qualified for the ballot during the period we analyzed. This is followed by spending initiatives (11), which spike in the early 90s and continue into the mid-2000s. Bond measures constitute a minimum share of the state’s fiscal initiative total (1), while budget initiatives (2) see a slight uptick in the period from 2007 to 2012. In all, tax initiatives comprised 65% of the states total fiscal initiatives, followed by spending at 27%, with bonds and budgets at 2%, and 5%. Tax 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1962 1970 1972 1975 1979 1982 1986 1991 1996 2000 2002 2005 2007 2009 2011 INITIATIVES YEARS Graph D: Washington (Flexible) Tax Spending Bonds Budget
  • 16. 16 When considering the data contained in Graph E for Oregon, tax initiatives, which spike in the year 2001, also comprise the largest share of total fiscal initiatives (26). Spending initiatives (11) see an increase beginning in the early 2000s which continues to the present. Bond initiatives again hold the smallest share (1), only seeing a small rise in the late 1960s. But in regards to budget initiatives, Oregon is second only to California (12), as it qualifies such initiatives consistently over the majority of the fifty year span we considered. We observe then that Oregon follows a comparable pattern to the distribution in found for Washington, but deviates in its large measure of budget based initiatives. In all, tax initiatives comprised 52% of the states total fiscal initiatives, spending 22%, bonds 1%, and budgets 24%. Tax 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 19621970197919811983 1986 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006 2010 INITIATIVES YEARS Graph E: Oregon (Slightly Flexible) Tax Spending Bonds Budget
  • 17. 17 When considering the data contained in Graph F for Colorado, again we find tax initiatives comprise the largest share of total fiscal initiatives (24), with a consistent distribution over the entire time period. When we consider spending initiatives in Colorado (4), we notice a decrease from its predecessor Oregon. With bond initiatives we find the familiar pattern seen in the other states (1), with such initiatives seeing a single instance in 2011. As for budget initiatives, Colorado shows an amount less than both California and Oregon, both of border it on our continuum of flexibility. In all, tax initiatives comprised 70% of total fiscal initiatives, spending 11%, bonds 2%, and budget initiatives 14%. As noted above, Colorado represents a deviation from out theoretical predictions, in that it is a marked drop off from the states which precede it in the continuum in sheer number, percentage of the total, and distribution. Again, we surmise that there must be a specific characteristic or possible confounding variable affecting the initiative frequency in Colorado. Tax 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 196219721978 1984 1988 1992 1996 1998 2001 2004 2010 2012 INITIATIVES YEARS Graph F: Colorado (Slightly Inflexible) Tax Spending Bonds Budget
  • 18. 18 When considering the data contained in Graph G for California, we find a greater frequency and distribution of fiscal initiatives than any of the other comparable state. Tax initiatives are the largest share (45), with a marked increase throughout to the present period. Spending initiatives (37) increase from roughly 1970 and hit a high point in 1989. California has by far the largest number of bond initiatives of any of the states we choose to compare (16), with high point reached in 1990 and disbursed steadily throughout. Like all the other initiative categories, California exceeds the comparable states for budget measures (25), by an average of roughly 20 total initiatives. Overall, we find that tax initiatives comprised 36% of fiscal initiatives, spending 30%, bonds 13%, and budget initiatives 20%. California shows striking differences from the other states in our continuum in increasing order of flexibility. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 INITIATIVES YEARS Graph G: California (Inflexible) Tax Spending Bond Budget
  • 19. 19 Analysis Summary We submit that our data clearly demonstrates that the flexibility of initiative systems have an effect upon both the frequency and distribution of fiscal policies qualified via initiative. Over all, we observe a clear negative correlation between flexibility and fiscal initiative frequency in this data. As systems become more flexible, the frequency of fiscal initiatives decreases. We also find that this effect holds true across both fiscal and non-fiscal initiatives. Also, we identify a clear correlation between tax and spending initiative frequency and state system flexibility. When considering each state in isolation, an additional effect which confirms our theoretical predictions also materializes. We find not only that system flexibility has an effect on fiscal initiative frequency in the aggregate, but also upon the specific categories of fiscal initiatives qualified for the ballot in each state. California, the most inflexible, exceeds each state across the continuum. Colorado appears as an interesting outlier, and we can only assume that one or more possible spurious variables are having the effect we observe. These findings are sufficient to establish a relationship between initiative system flexibility corresponding to fiscal initiative qualification frequency. We do not identify reverse causation, because we do not recognize a possible mechanism by which the frequency and or type of fiscal initiative qualified would affect the structure of an initiative system. It is possible that non-fiscal initiatives designed to change or alter the initiative system might have an effect on the systems flexibility. But such a consideration is outside of the parameters of our data set or analysis. Furthermore, we rule out the possibility of our identified effect being the result of chance, as our cross-state comparison replicates the effect across several categories of consideration. Our only concerns regard possible spurious variables which we cannot rule out
  • 20. 20 with certainty. In Table B we take account of these possible variables which could have an effect upon the initiative systems we are considering. Table B: Other Factors27 Circulation Periods Deadlines for Submission Signature Requirements Population Estimates Washington Direct: 6 Months Indirect: 10 Months Direct: 4 Months Indirect: 10 Days prior to legislative session Amendments N/A Statutes 8% Amendments N/A Statutes 197, 588 Oregon Unlimited 4 Months prior to election Amendments 8% Statutes 6% Amendments 89, 048 Statutes 66,786 Colorado 6 Months 3 Months prior to election Amendments 5% Statutes 5% Amendments 80, 571 Statutes 80, 571 California 150 Days Determined by Secretary of State Amendments 8% Statutes 5% Amendments 670,816 Statutes 419, 094 These variables (and others) have the potential to affect the states and data we are considering. While we cannot rule out these effects entirely without controlling for each statistically in turn, we can be confident that the specific effect we hoped to analyze in our research was demonstrated with our analysis. When considering the above variables, we might also argue that from their sheer similarity, the effects they contain might be so minimal as to be irrelevant. The only variables for which this might not be true are California’s disproportionate 27 Comparison of Statewide Initiative Processes." Initiative & Referendum Institute. 1-29. Web. 6 Apr. 2013.
  • 21. 21 qualification requirements and Oregon’s provision for unlimited circulation of proposed initiatives. Summary and Suggestions for Future Research Summary In this paper we measured the effect of the flexibility of state initiative systems on the fiscal initiatives qualified in a state. We began first by considering the previous research pertaining to this question, including work related both to initiative systems in the aggregate and the specific system in California. We then constructed a methodology for the purposes of measuring this possible effect. We constructed a continuum of flexibility by which we categorized states representing varying degrees of initiative flexibility. We then coded and analyzed fifty years’ worth of data on qualified initiatives in each state. In our analysis, we considered the data spatially and numerically. First we analyzed the data across states, and then we considered each individual state in turn. We submit that our data is sufficient to demonstrate a clear negative correlation between flexibility and fiscal initiative frequency. As systems become more flexible, the frequency of fiscal initiatives decreases. Lastly, we briefly considered possible spurious variable with the potential to affect our findings. In conclusion, we submit that possible planned reforms to California’s initiative system which will move it towards a greater degree of flexibility will have several positive effects. As the legislature and other elected officials are given a greater say in the content and qualification of initiatives, we can reasonably expect a decrease in the overall frequency of fiscal initiatives specifically, and all initiatives generally. The result of this reform will be the qualification and approval of more fiscally sound initiatives through legislative expertise which will not put the further fiscal health of the state in jeopardy. Direct democracy was designed to grant the people
  • 22. 22 power in the operation of the state government. But no one benefits if the very policies passed via initiative are the cause for the further impotence of that government. It is in the best interest of both the government of California, as well as the people, to increase the flexibility of their system of direct democracy and bring fiscal responsibility back to the state. Suggestions for Future Research Future research on this subject could be modified or improved in many ways. An interesting modification would be to conduct a complete coding of all initiative categories across either the states we employed along our continuum of flexibility, or even all twenty four states with direct democracy systems in the United States. Such a study would provide not only valuable data on fiscal initiatives, but a comprehensive review of all possible initiative data. With such, it would be possible to conduct a study not only gauging the effect of system flexibility, but also factor in the effects of political geography, culture, and general priorities. As the non- fiscal initiatives we coded were primarily based upon special interest advocacy or social issues such as abortion, the separation of church and state, and homosexual marriage, this would provide essential additional context for comparison. Another interesting modification of our research would be to control for possible confounding variables and thus more definitely isolate the effect we were hoping to analyze. While we are confident in the reliability and validity of our case assignment and coding procedure, there are far too many differences between California and the states with which we compare it to approach absolute confidence with our conclusions, though this does not negate the value of our data and analysis. California is larger by far than all three of the other states, its economy is the 8th largest in the world, and it possesses a unique political culture. All of these factors, in addition to those noted in Table B, could have a possible impact on the effect we are
  • 23. 23 attempting to measure as well as our conclusion. Isolating these potential confounds would greatly increase both the internal and external validity of our research.
  • 24. 24 APPENDIX: DATA California Tax Spending Bond Budget Other Annual Total 1962 2.00 2.00 1963 0.00 1964 1.00 3.00 4.00 1965 0.00 1966 1.00 1.00 1967 0.00 1968 1.00 1.00 1969 0.00 1970 1.00 1.00 1971 0.00 1972 1.00 2.00 2.00 5.00 10.00 1973 1.00 1.00 1974 2.00 2.00 1975 0.00 1976 1.00 2.00 3.00 1977 0.00 1978 1.00 1.00 2.00 4.00 1979 1.00 1.00 1980 2.00 2.00 4.00 1981 0.00 1982 3.00 4.00 2.00 9.00 1983 0.00 1984 1.00 3.00 3.00 7.00 1985 0.00 1986 1.00 2.00 1.00 2.00 6.00 1987 0.00 1988 1.00 7.00 1.00 3.00 6.00 18.00 1989 0.00 1990 3.00 4.00 5.00 1.00 5.00 18.00 1991 0.00 1992 2.00 1.00 1.00 3.00 7.00 1993 1.00 1.00 1994 1.00 1.00 2.00 2.00 6.00 1995 0.00 1996 4.00 13.00 17.00 1997 0.00 1998 2.00 2.00 1.00 1.00 6.00 12.00
  • 25. 25 1999 0.00 2000 3.00 2.00 1.00 2.00 4.00 12.00 2001 0.00 2002 2.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 5.00 2003 1.00 1.00 2004 4.00 2.00 3.00 3.00 12.00 2005 1.00 7.00 8.00 2006 3.00 1.00 2.00 2.00 8.00 2007 0.00 2008 3.00 2.00 3.00 7.00 15.00 2009 0.00 2010 4.00 2.00 5.00 11.00 2011 0.00 2012 4.00 1.00 7.00 12.00 Annual Total 219.00 Total by (S) 45.00 37.00 16.00 25.00 96.00 Subject Total 219.00 (S) = Subject Total Initiatives Qualified Since 1962: Total 219.00 Total Qualified by Subject Since 1962: Tax 45.00 Spending 37.00 Bond 16.00 Budget 25.00 Other 96.00 Total 219.00 Total Fiscal Initiatives Since 1962 Total 123.00
  • 26. 26 Colorado Tax Spending Bonds Budget Other Annual Total 1962 2.00 2.00 1963 0.00 1964 0.00 1965 0.00 1966 1.00 2.00 3.00 1967 0.00 1968 0.00 1969 0.00 1970 0.00 1971 0.00 1972 2.00 1.00 3.00 6.00 1973 0.00 1974 4.00 4.00 1975 0.00 1976 2.00 4.00 6.00 1977 0.00 1978 1.00 1.00 1979 0.00 1980 4.00 4.00 1981 0.00 1982 1.00 2.00 3.00 1983 0.00 1984 1.00 2.00 3.00 1985 0.00 1986 1.00 1.00 1987 0.00 1988 1.00 1.00 2.00 4.00 1989 0.00 1990 1.00 2.00 3.00 1991 0.00 1992 2.00 1.00 6.00 9.00 1993 0.00 1994 1.00 1.00 6.00 8.00 1995 0.00 1996 1.00 6.00 7.00 1997 1.00 1.00 1998 1.00 7.00 8.00 1999 0.00
  • 27. 27 2000 1.00 1.00 3.00 5.00 2001 1.00 1.00 2002 5.00 5.00 2003 1.00 1.00 2.00 2004 1.00 3.00 4.00 2005 0.00 2006 7.00 7.00 2007 0.00 2008 3.00 1.00 6.00 10.00 2009 0.00 2010 2.00 1.00 3.00 6.00 2011 1.00 1.00 2012 2.00 2.00 Annual Total 110.00 Total by (S) 24.00 4.00 1.00 5.00 76.00 Subject Total 110.00 (S) = Subject Total Initiatives Qualified Since 1962 Total 110.00 Total Qualified by Subject Since 1962 Tax 24.00 Spending 4.00 Bond 1.00 Budget 5.00 Other 76.00 Total 110.00 Total Fiscal Initiative Since 1962 Total 34
  • 28. 28 Oregon Tax Spending Bonds Budget Other Annual Total 1962 2.00 2.00 1963 0.00 1964 2.00 2.00 1965 0.00 1966 0.00 1967 0.00 1968 1.00 1.00 2.00 1969 0.00 1970 1.00 2.00 3.00 1971 0.00 1972 0.00 1973 0.00 1974 1.00 1.00 1975 0.00 1976 4.00 4.00 1977 0.00 1978 1.00 1.00 5.00 7.00 1979 0.00 1980 1.00 2.00 3.00 1981 0.00 1982 1.00 3.00 4.00 1983 0.00 1984 2.00 1.00 5.00 8.00 1985 0.00 1986 4.00 1.00 7.00 12.00 1987 0.00 1988 1.00 4.00 5.00 1989 0.00 1990 2.00 6.00 8.00 1991 0.00 1992 1.00 6.00 7.00 1993 0.00 1994 2.00 2.00 11.00 15.00 1995 0.00 1996 3.00 2.00 9.00 14.00 1997 0.00 1998 1.00 8.00 9.00 1999 0.00
  • 29. 29 2000 2.00 5.00 2.00 3.00 12.00 2001 0.00 2002 1.00 6.00 7.00 2003 0.00 2004 2.00 3.00 5.00 2005 0.00 2006 1.00 1.00 8.00 10.00 2007 0.00 2008 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 5.00 2009 0.00 2010 1.00 3.00 4.00 2011 0.00 2012 2.00 1.00 3.00 6.00 Annual Total 155.00 Total by (S) 26.00 11.00 1.00 12.00 105.00 Subject Total 155.00 (S) = Subject Total Initiatives Qualified Since 1962 Total 155.00 Total Qualified by Subject Since 1962 Tax 26.00 Spending 11.00 Bond 1.00 Budget 12.00 Other 105.00 Total 155.00 Total Fiscal Initiatives Since 1962 Total 50.00
  • 30. 30 Washington Tax Spending Bonds Budget Other Annual Total 1962 1.00 1.00 1963 0.00 1964 1.00 1.00 1965 0.00 1966 1.00 2.00 3.00 1967 0.00 1968 3.00 3.00 1969 0.00 1970 1.00 1.00 2.00 1971 0.00 1972 1.00 5.00 6.00 1973 1.00 1.00 1974 0.00 1975 1.00 1.00 2.00 1976 2.00 2.00 1977 2.00 2.00 4.00 1978 1.00 1.00 1979 2.00 2.00 1980 1.00 1.00 1981 1.00 1.00 2.00 1982 1.00 2.00 3.00 1983 0.00 1984 1.00 2.00 3.00 1985 0.00 1986 1.00 1.00 1987 1.00 1.00 1988 2.00 2.00 1989 1.00 1.00 1990 1.00 1.00 1991 1.00 3.00 4.00 1992 2.00 2.00 1993 1.00 1.00 1.00 3.00 1994 1.00 1.00 1995 2.00 2.00 1996 2.00 3.00 5.00 1997 5.00 5.00 1998 4.00 4.00 1999 1.00 1.00 2.00
  • 31. 31 2000 1.00 2.00 4.00 7.00 2001 2.00 1.00 3.00 2002 1.00 1.00 2.00 2003 1.00 1.00 2004 1.00 3.00 4.00 2005 1.00 1.00 3.00 5.00 2006 1.00 1.00 1.00 3.00 2007 1.00 1.00 2008 1.00 2.00 3.00 2009 1.00 1.00 2010 2.00 3.00 5.00 2011 1.00 2.00 3.00 2012 1.00 2.00 3.00 Annual Total 112.00 Total by (S) 26.00 11.00 1.00 2.00 72.00 Subject Total 112.00 (S) = Subject Total Initiatives Qualified Since 1962 Total Total Qualified by Subject Since 1962 Tax 26.00 Spending 11.00 Bond 1.00 Budget 2.00 Other 72.00 Total 112.00 Total Fiscal Initiatives Since 1962 Total 40.00
  • 32. 32 Works Cited "About the Political Reform Act." California Fair Political Practices Commission. N.p.. Web. 2 Apr 2013. <http://www.fppc.ca.gov/index.php?id=221>. Brestoff, Nick. "The California Initiative Process: A Suggestion for Reform ." Southern California Law Review. (1974-1975): 922-958. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. <http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/scal48&div=37&collection=journals&se t_as_cursor =0&men_tab=srchresults>. "Comparison of Statewide Initiative Processes." Initiative & Referendum Institute. 1-29. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. <http://www.iandrinstitute.org/New IRI Website Info/Drop Down Boxes/Requirements/A Comparison of Statewide I&R Processes.pdf>. "CSED Senior Research Fellow David B. Magleby." Brigham Young University, Center for the Studies of Elections and Democracy. N.p.. Web. 2 Apr 2013. <http://csed.byu.edu/About CSED/Magleby.dhtml>. "Initiative & Referendum Legislation Database." National Conference of State Legislatures. N.p.. Web. 4 Apr 2013. <http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/initiative-and- referendum-legislation-database.asp&xgt;> "John G. Matsusaka." University of Southern California. N.p.. Web. 2 Apr 2013. <http://www- bcf.usc.edu/~matsusak/>. Kemp, Roger. "California's Proposition 13: A One-Year Assessment." State and Local Government Review. (1976-2010): 44-47. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4354737?&Search=yes&searchText=Proposition&searchText=Cali fornia&searchText=13&list=hide&searchUri=/action/doBasicSearch?Query=California+Proposi tion+13&Search=Search&gw=jtx&prq=Ca+prop+13&hp=25&acc=on&aori=a&wc=on&fc=off &prevSearch=&item=6&ttl=61867&returnArticleService=showFullText>. Linked In." Nick Brestoff, Overview. N.p.. Web. 10 April 2013. <http://www.linkedin.com/in/nickbrestoff>. Magleby, David. "Let the Voters Decide - An Assessment of the Initiative and Referendum Process Governing by Initiative." University of Colorado Law Review. (1994-1995): 13-47. Web. 23 Mar. 2013. <http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/ucollr66&div=9&g_sent=1&collection=j ournals>. Mathews, Joe, and Mark Paul. California Crackup How reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2010. Print.
  • 33. 33 Matsusaka, John. "Direct Democracy Works." American Economic Association. Volume 19. (Spring 2005): 185-206. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4134943?seq=2>.

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