Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
The Los Angeles Times explains why ballot initiatives are to blame for California's serious budget problems:
SACRAMENTO -- -- The state is about to pump half a billion dollars into teaching children to roll sushi, juggle pins and master new dance forms, even as spending cuts threaten to erode instruction in reading, math and other fundamentals.
That's because the sum scheduled to be spent on such after-school enrichment next year is off-limits for anything else. State law dictates that cooking classes continue even if some calculus courses could be canceled.
In good economic times, voters have passed ballot initiatives that devoted billions of dollars to novel social and recreational programs, such as the after-school initiative championed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2002, before he was governor. It is intended to keep youths off the streets by offering them extracurricular activity -- like cooking, juggling and dance -- as well as tutoring and volunteer opportunities.
(Hat tip: Election Law Blog)
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