Direct Democracy

Aside from voting for “Congress critters,” Americans in many states today have a chance to directly control government fiscal policy.

They will be voting on whether to approve $80 billlion in government bonds in states and cities across the country, including a huge bond package in California endorsed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Voters usually approve about two-thirds of proposed bonds, but hopefully they will be more skeptical this year given their generally foul mood toward politicians and government. 

In addition, voters have a chance to approve new budget limits on spendthrift politicians in Maine, Nebraska, and Oregon. Most states already have detailed restrictions on their budgets such as balanced budget requirements. This year’s proposals would impose limits on annual increases in taxes and spending, similar to the successful TABOR limit in Colorado. Such limits recognize the fact that politicians love to spend, but they often lack the discipline to make the needed tough trade-offs in budgeting priorities. 

Here [.pdf] is a useful summary of ballot measures across the country, both fiscal and nonfiscal.