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The Propositions Demystified
November 1, 2012 - Compiled by Flavia Potenza and Annemarie Donkin
PROPOSITIONS 30 AND 38
Although Propositions 30 and 38 address education, there is no point in voting YES on both because this is a simple majority vote, i.e., the proposition with the most votes wins. If Prop. 30 is rejected, the $6 billion in automatic trigger cuts will go into effect, thereby dramatically reducing school funding for 2012-13.
Proposition 30: Temporary taxes to fund education, guaranteed local public safety funding. Initiative. Constitutional Amendment. YES
Even though this is a Constitutional Amendment, something we would normally not recommend, the time limits set for tax increases make it more acceptable. In addition, the new revenues will be immediately available to fund programs in the state budget. The operative word here is temporary taxation.
Increases sales taxes by a quarter cent for four years.
Increases state income taxes for seven years (through FY 2018-19) on those who earn more than $250,000 to fund schools, including higher education. Taxes will apply retroactively to January 2012.
These additional revenues would also guarantee public safety realignment funding and help balance the state budget. It would increase K-12 class days to 180 from 175.
Estimates of the revenue increases over the next seven fiscal years vary from $6.8 billion to $9 billion for 2012-13 and from $5.4 billion to $7.6 billion, on average, in the following five fiscal years, with lesser amounts in 2018-19.
Endorsements: Prop. 30 is backed by former President Bill Clinton, every major educational association in California and every major California newspaper including the Los Angeles Times. Prop. 30 is supported by hundreds of business, education and public safety organizations, including the California State Sheriffs Organization, the California League of Women Voters, California Library Association and the California National Organization for Women. For a full list of endorsements, go to www.yesonprop30.com
NO Vote: If Prop. 30 is defeated, the State Legislative Analysts office reports it will leave a nearly $6-billion gap in the budget and, according to state law, calls for $4.8 billion in automatic trigger cuts to public schools, more than $1 billion in cuts to higher education budgets and $100 million in assorted other reductions. The cuts would also reduce three weeks worth of classes by 15 days, to 160 from 175.
Opposition: The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association opposes 30.
Proposition 38:Tax to fund education and early childhood programs. Initiative Statute.NO
A YES vote on Prop. 38 would increase personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7,316 using a sliding scale from four percent for lowest individual earners to 2.2 percent for individuals earning more than $2.5 million, for 12 years.
Additional revenues would be used for schools, childcare, preschool, and state debt payments, but not for teachers salaries. Estimates of the revenue increases vary from $10 to $11 billion per fiscal year beginning in 2013-14, tending to increase over time. The 2012-13 revenue increase would be about half this amount. Until the end of 2016-17, 60 percent of revenues would be dedicated to K-12 education and 10 percent would be provided to early care and education program allocations that would supplement existing funding for these programs.
In 2017-18 and subsequent years, 85 percent would be provided to K-12 education and 15 percent to early care and education, including Head Start.
The vast majority of the money raised would come from the top five percent of the state's earners those making more than $200,000 whose rates would increase from 1.8 to 2.2 percentage points.
Endorsements: Prop. 38 is sponsored by civil-rights attorney Molly Munger. The California PTA supports 38.
A NO vote on this measure means that state personal income tax rates would remain at their current levels.
Proposition 31 establishes a two-year state budget. Sets rules for offsetting new expenditures and Governor budget cuts in fiscal emergencies. Local governments can alter application of laws governing state-funded programs. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.NO
This is a complex, badly written bill that needs deep study. Even the Los Angeles Times asked for help from readers in one of their early Opinion L.A editorials. Also, the most far-reaching changes such as local governments preempting state laws with their own rules, or giving the governor unilateral authority to cut state spending in a fiscal emergency would be written into the State Constitution making it difficult to alter in the future. It could end up in the courts for years if passed.
You might recognize the part about expanding the governors power as a rehash of Gov. Schwarzeneggers ballot in 2005 that shifted power to the governor to limit state spending with no legal checks or balances. It lost.
Marty Hittleman, former president of the California Federation of Teachers, says Prop. 31 will lock California into permanent underfunding of education, health and other vital services.
Political contributions by payroll deduction. Contributions to candidates. Initiative Statute. NO
This is deceptive and not the first attack on labors (unions) ability to participate in elections. In 2005, Prop. 75 was on the ballot and in 1998, Prop. 226 sought to enact paycheck protection.
If approved, it would ban contributions to state and local candidates, as well as automatic deductions from employee wages by corporations, unions and government. The problem is that corporations donate individually to campaigns and candidates. Unlike corporations, the unions found that the most effective way to combine the voice of the many is through payroll deduction.
Auto Insurance companies. Prices based on drivers history of insurance coverage. Initiative Statute.NO
Voters rejected a similar continuous coverage proposal in 2010 with Prop. 17, sponsored by Mercury Insurance Co.
Under current law, insurers save money on marketing and administrative costs by offering loyalty discounts to existing customers. Prop 33 limits the discount to new customers who leave one company for another. This is another Mercury Insurance attempt to allow rate hikes on low-income drivers disguised as insurance companies ability to set rates based on a persons history of insurance coverage.
Death Penalty. Repeals death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without parole. Initiative Statute.YES
A YES vote means the death of the death penalty in California if it gets a majority yes-vote.
If the proposition succeeds, the law will go into effect the day after the election and the 725 people on death row would serve a life term without the possibility of parole.
Current and future inmates will work and their earnings will go to any victim restitution fines or orders against them, according to the official state summary.
A one-time $100-million fund will help law enforcement agencies solve more homicide and rape cases.
Endorsements: Jeanne Woodford, the former warden of San Quentin Prison, initiated the proposition. Her coalition, Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act,i.e., the SAFE California Act, includes Don Heller, who helped write the ballot initiative that reinstated California's death penalty back in 1978. I made a terrible mistake 33 years ago, Heller said on SAFE.org. Other endorsements include Ron Briggs, who worked on the 1978 proposition and former L.A. County District Attorney Gil Garcetti.
Opposition: The Peace Officers Research Association of California Political Issues Committee.
Human Trafficking. Penalties. Initiative Statute.NO
This sounds good at first but in reality this is a weak law that could have multiple unintended consequences down the road. State and federal laws define two types of human trafficking: Sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Under Prop 35, courts could fine anyone convicted of a human trafficking offense up to $1.5 million, which includes the spouses and children of workers in consensual sexual transactions.
Argument For: That fine money would have to be spent on victims' support services (70 percent) and on law enforcement activities related to human trafficking (30 percent). Prop 35 also expands the definition of human trafficking to include the production or distribution of child pornography.
Argument Against: Current law already addresses this issue. This measure actually threatens innocent people by broadening the definition of pimping: anyone receiving financial support from consensual prostitution among adults, including a sex worker's children or spouse, could be prosecuted as a human trafficker. If convicted, they would have to register as a sex offender for life. The measure could be challenged as unconstitutional for its vague definition of human trafficking that would include the intent to distribute obscene matter; possibly for cruel and unusual punishments, including excessive prison terms and fines; and for inhibiting a defendant's right to introduce evidence in defense trials.
It will cost the state even more through increased workloads in probation departments and also require new training for all police, sheriff's department and highway patrol officers.
Supporters: California Against Slavery and the Safer California Foundation, an organization created by former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, spearheaded prop 35. Major financial supporters of the measure include Chris Kelly and the Peace Officers Research Association of California
The maximum prison sentence for labor trafficking would increase from the current 5 or 8 years (depending on whether a minor is involved) to 12 years.
For sex trafficking, it would increase from five or eight years to a maximum of 20 years for adults or life in prison if a minor is involved.
If the victim suffered bodily injury, an additional 10 years could be added to the sentence, up from five years.
For each prior conviction, a defendant could also have an additional five years tacked on to the sentence.
Anyone convicted of human trafficking would now be required to register as a sex offender.
Prop 35 would require that all registered sex offenders provide information about their internet service provider and their online identities.
Voting YES means that you would like to increase the penalties for human trafficking and implement the other changes proposed under Prop 35.
Voting NO means that you want to keep California's existing laws regarding human trafficking, no change.
Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders. Penalties. Initiative Statute.YES
A YES vote on Prop 36 will enable approximately 3,000 convicted felons currently serving a life sentence under the Three Strikes Law to petition the court for a new, reduced sentence if their current offense was non-serious, non-violent and who have not committed specified current and prior offenses such as drug-, sex-, and gun-related felonies.
According to the state legislative analyst, reducing these sentences, and thus the prison population, could result in saving the state around $70 to $90 million a year. Savings would also be found in lower state parole costs.
However, the measure would result in a one-time cost to the state and counties related to the resentencing provisions that would increase court caseloads, resulting in added costs for district attorneys, public defenders and county sheriffs departments to manage the workload and staff the resentencing proceedings. In addition, counties would incur jail costs to house inmates during resentencing proceedings which could cost the state a few million dollars over a couple of years. Long-term costs, however, would not be significant.
Adding to costs, there is always the risk of recidivism and providing persons without private insurance coverage with government-paid health care. On the upside, there could be additional state and local revenue if offenders entered the workforce.
PHOTO BY CECILIE GARCIA
Isabella and Gabriel, youngsters who are passionate about their right to know where their food comes from, make signs in preparation for a student demonstration. While too young to cast a ballot on Nov. 6, they are exercising their right to demonstrate and urge a YES vote on Proposition 37. Children aged 5-16 years who feel similarly are invited to join these young demonstrators, along with approximately 40 more who are expected, on Monday, Nov. 4, from 4-6 p.m. at the corner of Topanga Canyon and Ventura Boulevard. If you wonder what all the noise was on Friday, Oct. 26 near the light at Pine Tree Circle, it was this group urging commuters to “do the right thing” at the polls with regards to the GMO labeling of foods.
A Yes vote on this initiative will require labeling on raw or processed food made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways; prohibit labeling or advertising such food or other processed food as natural.
There are a number of exemptions, such as foods that: are certified organic; are unintentionally produced or made from animals fed or injected with GE material, but not genetically engineered themselves; contain small amounts of GE ingredients; used for medical treatment; sold for immediate consumption (restaurants); or alchoholic beverages.
The Legislative Analyst writes: In 2011, 88 percent of all corn and 94 percent of all soybeans produced in the U.S. were grown from GE seeds. Some estimates say that 40 to 70 percent of food products sold in grocery stores in California contain some GE ingredients. Federal law does not specifically require regulation of GE foods.
The burden would fall on retailers to comply by ensuring their food products are correctly labeled. Farmers and food manufacturers must also be responsible for maintaining records for certification.
The fiscal effect would be costs ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million annually and potential litigation.
More than 40 countries require GE labeling. For more information: CARighttoKnow.org.
Its a start. Not perfect, but a start.
Opposing Prop. 37: Big food manufacturers (Agribusiness) and agrichemical companies; members of California Farm Bureau Federation; California Taxpayer Protection Committee; California Small Business Association.
Tax Treatment for Multistate Business. Clean energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.YES
This is a good initiative that evens the playing field for taxation purposes and provides money to a clean energy and jobs fund program for five years. Currently, multistate businesses have two options for calculating their tax liability in California, and they can choose whichever is cheaper. But the state is losing money by this method, up to $1 billion a year. Prop 39 would require them to use the single sales factor method, in which their liability is based solely on their amount of sales in the state.
In California, multistate businesses represent the third largest source of revenue for the states general fund $9.6 billion in 2010-11, according to the state legislative analyst.
The initiative mandates that half of the revenues raised by requiring the single sales factor, a maximum of $550 million a year, would go into a newly created fund to support projects that improve energy efficiency and expand the use of alternative energy.
The legislature would decide how to use that money, though it would be required to use it on cost-effective projects run by agencies with expertise in managing energy projects, according to the legislative analyst.
Under the fund guidelines, the money could be used to support energy efficiency retrofits and alternative energy projects in public schools, colleges, universities, and other public facilities, financial and technical assistance for energy retrofits, job training and workforce development programs.
Endorsement: Prop 39 is almost entirely financed by hedge fund manager Thomas F. Steyer, the co-chair of Californians for Clean Energy & Jobs.
Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum (Put on ballot by petition signatures)YES
This one is simple. Proposition 40 is a referendum on Californias recently redrawn state Senate districts. Members of the Republican Party initially challenged the new maps to gain a few districts more favorable to their party, but the original backers of Prop 40 abandoned their campaign efforts and are no longer seeking to get it passed after the State Supreme Court upheld the districts.
A YES vote confirms and upholds the State Senate Districts as drawn by the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission in 2011. Voting NO means that you want to redraw the maps. The California Secretary of State said that redrawing the districts would cost the state about $500,000 and counties would likely have to spend another $500,000 collectively to create new precinct maps. Regardless, the current district maps will apply to the Nov. 6 election to determine the State Senate races.
Measure A Advisory only. Do you support seeking to change the California Consitution and the Los Angeles County Charter to make the position of Los Angeles County Assessor an appointed position instead of an elected position? NO
Measure B Shall an ordinance be adopted requiring producers of adult films to obtain a County public health permit, to require adult film performers to use condoms while engaged in sex acts, to provide proof of blood-borne pathogen training course, to post permit and notices to performers, and make violations of the ordinance subject to civil fines and criminal charges? NO
Measure C Regarding L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Accelerating Traffic Relief, Job Creation.
To advance Los Angeles Countys traffic relief, economic/job growth by accelerating light rail/subway construction and airport connections within five years, not twenty; funding countywide freeway, bridge, safety and traffic flow improvements; fixing potholes; keeping senior, student, disabled fares low; shall Los Angeles Countys voter-approved one-half cent traffic relief sales tax continue without increase for another 30 years or until voters decide to end it with independent audits and keeping funds local? YES