Friday, November 02, 2012

10 Cali Ballot Propositions This Election And A Lot Of Just Vote NO

Well, now that there is less than five days until election day in California we get our suspense whether or not our ballot propositions we are for or against get voted the way we want it to be.
Sure, the Worthless Leader, President Obama, should take California, but by a substantially reduced majority. Sen. Dianne Feinstein will probably get about 65% to 70% of the vote against her little-known Republican opponent, Elizabeth Emken. And there will be Democrat majorities in the congressional delegation and the state legislature.
So, it comes down to the ballot props that get us going. And there are 10 measures being put up on the General Election ballot come this Tuesday.
The measures are actually mostly left-leaning but there is at least one that could change the game in Sacramento and even the playing field against the vise-grip of the public employee unions.
So, here they are in order, with a recommendation from your humble blogger. The synopsis are direct from the California Secretary of State website.

Proposition 30

Increases taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and sales taxes by ¼ cent for four years, to fund schools. Guarantees public safety realignment funding. Fiscal Impact: Increased state tax revenues through 2018–19, averaging about $6 billion annually over the next few years. Revenues available for funding state budget. In 2012–13, planned spending reductions, primarily to education programs, would not occur.

It is a tax hike, pure and simple. But note that while the proponents such as Gov. Jerry Moonbeam Brown are touting this as a way to save public education from any budget cuts, the taxes that will be raised do not have to go to school funding. Key line is this, "Revenues available for funding state budget.". So, this is very broad language with no guarantee that school funding will or will not be cut. And of course there is always the canard that these taxes are "temporary"-until the next time.

RVFTLC Recommendation

Proposition 31

Establishes 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. Fiscal Impact: Decreased state sales tax revenues of $200 million annually, with corresponding increases of funding to local governments. Other, potentially more significant changes in state and local budgets, depending on future decisions by public officials.

This sounds good in the way that it is written, per se. But I think that in the end it will create more budget and fiscal confusion. There is also the potential that this will weaken the hand of localities in dealing with their own budgetary priorities.

RVFTLC Recommendation NO

Proposition 32

Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees. Fiscal Impact: Increased costs to state and local government, potentially exceeding $1 million annually, to implement and enforce the measure’s requirements.

OK, one knows that this is something that if it upsets the public employee unions, make sure that the California Teachers Association is out in front spending millions of dollars, bankrolled from their partial confiscation of their members money to defeat this measure. Even the proponents admit it is not perfect but a start to end the stranglehold of big unions and big business on the pols in Sacramento.

RVFTLC Recommendation

Proposition 33

Changes current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company. Allows proportional discount for drivers with some prior coverage. Allows increased cost for drivers without history of continuous coverage. Fiscal Impact: Probably no significant fiscal effect on state insurance premium tax revenues

I admit, even after reading and rereading this, I am not sure how I will vote on it. I need to read more on it. So on this one, I chicken out.

RVFTLC Recommendation

Proposition 34

Repeals death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Applies retroactively to existing death sentences. Directs $100 million to law enforcement agencies for investigations of homicide and rape cases. Fiscal Impact: Ongoing state and county criminal justice savings of about $130 million annually within a few years, which could vary by tens of millions of dollars. One-time state costs of $100 million for local law enforcement grants.

It is the most possible closest opponents of the death penalty may come to abolishing it in California. And the argument that they are using is the cost of the whole appeals process when so few have been executed in California since the state voters approved resintituting the death penalty. What the proponents do not tell is how much it will cost to house these prisoners for life with supposedly no chance for parole. In the end, the cost argument could be a wash. And the fiscal argument in these tough economic time could work. But I do not think that is any reason to abolish the death penalty. In fact, what should be done is to put a cap on the appeal process and begin any way to speed up the execution process in San Quintin.

RVFTLC Recommendation

Proposition 35

Increases prison sentences and fines for human trafficking convictions. Requires convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders. Requires registered sex offenders to disclose Internet activities and identities. Fiscal Impact: Costs of a few million dollars annually to state and local governments for addressing human trafficking offenses. Potential increased annual fine revenue of a similar amount, dedicated primarily for human trafficking victims.

This is very specific as to what increasing the penalties for this kind of sex crime is. I think that the opponents are wrong about this being too broad.

RVFTLC Recommendation

Proposition 36

Revises law to impose life sentence only when new felony conviction is serious or violent. May authorize re-sentencing if third strike conviction was not serious or violent. Fiscal Impact: Ongoing state correctional savings of around $70 million annually, with even greater savings (up to $90 million) over the next couple of decades. These savings could vary significantly depending on future state actions

This is an attempt to weaken the three-strikes law here in California. The proponents cite that the three-strikes law was not intended to be so punitive as to send non-felons or serious or violent. The reason that the law is successful is that these criminals are in jail. It is much like trying to end the death penalty here. Using fiscal arguments when the reality is to end anything that is actually tough on crime.

RVFTLC Recommendation

Proposition 37

Requires labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits marketing such food, or other processed food, as “natural.” Provides exemptions. Fiscal Impact: Increased annual state costs from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million to regulate the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Additional, but likely not significant, governmental costs to address violations under the measure.

This would lead to requiring another layer of labeling on our food. Again, this is an issue where I am not sure that genetically manufactured food is all bad or all good. I think that this is some feel-good legislation that is more about lifestyle choices than anything else. Not needed at this time without further research into the pros and cons of genetically modified food.

RVFTLC Recommendation

Proposition 38

Increases taxes on earnings using sliding scale, for twelve years. Revenues go to K–12 schools and early childhood programs, and for four years to repaying state debt. Fiscal Impact: Increased state tax revenues for 12 years—roughly $10 billion annually in initial years, tending to grow over time. Funds used for schools, child care, and preschool, as well as providing savings on state debt payments.

At least this is a tax that is to be directed for education funding. But it is worse than Prop 30. It admits in it television ads that those making over $1,000,000 a year will pay an average tax of $76,000. Supposedly the average for the rest of us is is a $54 tax hike. Again, it is the multiple kind of taxes that Californians pay that makes this but another boondoggle. And, was not the California lottery the panacea for the cry of school funding in the 80s? This is a no-brainer.

RVFTLC Recomandation

Proposition 39

Requires multistate businesses to pay income taxes based on percentage of their sales in California. Dedicates revenues for five years to clean/efficient energy projects. Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues of $1 billion annually, with half of the revenues over the next five years spent on energy efficiency projects. Of the remaining revenues, a significant portion likely would be spent on schools.

Surprise! Another tax hike! And this is also to supposedly help school funding. Why, what will our schools do if they are to be so flush with all this money from all these taxes? This is another attempt to tax businesses that do business in other states and nations and on their sales in California. Once again, the left believes that government just does not have enough money and like the political crack-whores they are, look for it anywhere they can.

RVFTLC Recommendation

Proposition 40

A “Yes” vote approves, and a “No” vote rejects, new State Senate districts drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. If rejected, districts will be adjusted by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court. Fiscal Impact: Approving the referendum would have no fiscal impact on the state and local governments. Rejecting the referendum would result in a one-time cost of about $1 million to the state and counties.

This is one that should be a yes. Keep what has been decided about the California state senate district boundaries. The California GOP has a lot of work cut out for it and does not need to be in any more fighting over district lines based on the 2010 census.

RVFTLC Recommendation

This year the majority of measures on on the left and about taxes and criminal justice by and large. It is possible that the left could make a clean sweep and enact far-reaching insanity that will have to be dealt with, as usual, down the road and by someone else. Hopefully that does not happen.
One thing is to take this weekend to look at the link to the Cali SOS site and study the props for yourselves.
It is always important to be an informed electorate.

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