A Prediction Fulfilled

February 20, 2010 at 10:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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I frequently make predictions about the future. This is a no-fee activity, aimed primarily at my long-suffering spouse. “Keith, mark my words,” I announce. “One of these days…”

One such prediction of the future occurred during our extended stay in California. Non-Californians may not grasp that the initiative system there makes public life extremely challenging, not to say impossible. Groups of citizens funded by God knows who can, by collecting a certain number of signatures, place an initiative on the ballot. And if this initiative is  passed, it becomes law and can be reversed only by another initiative. Doing so takes mucho time and money.

One such initiative was Prop 13. Passed in 1978, it reduced property taxes by 57% and put rigid limits on future property tax increases except when properties change hands. The California public school system (a significant part of which was supported by property taxes) was third in the nation in 1978. Now it’s forty-seventh.

One day I was looking out the window at the street on which we lived in Berkeley and thinking about Prop 13 and general attitudes toward taxes in California. “Keith,” I said, “At the rate things are going, there will be a pothole in the street in front of this house, and the good people of California will say ‘That’s your pothole. You fix it.'”

Well, it’s happened. More or less; we no longer live in California, and the fulfillment of my prediction occurred in yet another state, but these are mere details. Thanks to a Colorado law that requires any tax in any municipality to be approved by voters, the good citizens of Colorado Springs have of late been rejecting the taxes  proposed by city leaders  to remedy looming budget deficits. The result: massive cuts in public services. This includes a zero budget allotment to the agency that maintains and repairs streets.  

My advice to you, dear reader, is to get yourself a shovel and start  stockpiling  asphalt. The Tea Party loons are massing even as we speak. The pothole you fall into may be your own.  (Thanks, Flannery.)

Tomorrow: a prediction about the Vatican and those in “persistent vegetative states.”

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