Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is calling for a Constitutional Convention for the state of California, to help address the state's structural deficit problems.
Villaraigosa said in a speech on July 18 at the University of Southern California that "the problems that we have in Sacramento are more structural and are greater than many people believe," according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles-based Latino Voters League.
A Constitutional Convention is a gathering of delegates for the purpose of editing or rewriting the existing constitution. State legislators have yet to pass the proposed budget that was devised by the California Big Five in closed-door negotiations earlier this year and as a result the state has taken what some call extreme measures to balance its expenses.
California's budget deficit currently sits at $26.3 billion and to compensate the state has reopened the possibility of off shore drilling to its central coast. Perhaps the most dramatic is the talk of legalizing marijuana in order for the state to gain an estimated $1 billion from the drug's taxation. California lawmakers will also soon vote on a budget-balancing initiative that will cut inmates' time in prison and release 27,000 prisoners simply because the state cannot afford to pay for them.
The Bay Area Council was the first to call the state to a Constitutional Convention in August of 2008. The BAC cited the required two-thirds legislative voting as a main reason that California has failed to pass a budget on time.
Advocates are looking to get the proposal on the November 2010 ballot.
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