On November 4, voters in the state of California will go to the polls not only to make their choice for President, but they will also be voting on numerous statewide and local propositions that will impact the state’s economy. And while some of the propositions might have garnered our support in better financial times, the national and state fiscal crisis, coupled with the inability of our state legislators and governor to make the hard choices and ask Californians to face financial reality in order to get us out this mess, makes us very hesitant to support any measure that will put us deeper in the hole. EGP makes the following ballot recommendations:
Prop 9—Criminal Justice System, Victims Rights, Parole. This proposition requires notification to victims and opportunity for input during phases of criminal justice including bail, pleas, sentences, and parole. Establishes victim as a consideration in determining bail or release on parole. Limits the number of parole hearings among other victims’ rights. Our problem with current laws is not that there aren’t enough, but rather that there seems to be little interest in fully enforcing them. However, given the state’s current dismal financial outlook, we don’t think that placing this additional financial burden on the budget is wise.
Prop 10—Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds. Provides $3,425 billion to help consumers and others purchase certain high economy or alternative fuel vehicles. Provides $1.25 billion for research, development and production of renewable technology, primarily solar, provides grants to provide same for energy projects and colleges, grants to cities. Total funding is $5 billion. Is anyone listening? We’re broke. We’re out of money. While reducing our dependence on foreign oil is a necessary goal, which if employed properly could reap substantial benefits, we feel strongly that getting our budget under control must be our primary focus at this time. There may not be a direct increase in taxes, but there will be an increase in debt.
Prop 11—Redistricting. The California Constitution requires the Legislature after each census to adjust the boundaries of the districts used to elect public officials. This process is called “redistricting.” Redistricting affects districts for the state Legislature (Assembly and Senate), State Board of Equalization (BOE), and the U.S. House of Representatives. The primary purpose of redistricting is to establish districts which are “reasonably equal” in population. While we agree that the current system has its flaws, including a decrease in competitive seats, we do not agree that the creation of another state bureaucracy is the answer. This measure is flawed and if passed, has the potential to further reduce the opportunities for members of ethnic communities to get elected.
Prop 12—Veterans Bond Act of 2008. This act provides for a bond issue of nine hundred million dollars ($900,000,000) to provide loans to California veterans to purchase farms and homes and appropriates money from the state General Fund to pay off the bonds, if loan payments from participating veterans are insufficient for that purpose. While we have said that we are against increased indebtedness, we believe we owe those who have endangered their lives in the service of their country deserve the assistance the program provides.
Local Propositions for the City of Los Angeles
Prop A—Property Tax for After School and Anti-Gang Programs. Adds an additional $36 per property per year to fund these activities. Provides discounts for low-income seniors, on each real property parcel. We believe this added tax is necessary and recommend it.
Prop B—Affordable Housing. Replace past ballot measures authorizing the construction of 52,000 new affordable housing units citywide. These measures have prevented the city accepting proceeds from Prop 1C that will offer cities and counties $2.8 billion from state housing measure.
Los Angeles County
Measure R—Raise the sales tax by 0.5% to 8.75% for thirty years to generate $30-$40 billion for road improvements and mass transit. The county is almost at traffic gridlock; roads and highway repairs are desperately needed; mass transit has to be improved now, not later. By increasing the sales tax, we spread the cost between all county residents.
Measure U—Utility Tax. Reduces county utility tax from 5% o 4.5%, but extends the tax for the first time to: cell phone calls, billing, customer calling features, voice over internet, text messaging and paging. This tax will hit many families whose kids like to text message, and increase the tax obligation for those who use these types of media.
Measure J—Local community college classroom repair, public safety, nursing and job training, one of the most important things community colleges do. Given our high unemployment numbers and the changing of our industry base and future workforce needs, we can’t afford not to invest $3.5 billion in bonds for our community colleges.
Part 1 Ballot Recommendations:
Prop 1A: High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act—Vote No
Prop 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals—Vote Yes
Prop 3: Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program—Vote No
Prop 4: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minors Pregnancy—Vote Yes
Prop 5: Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation—Vote No
Prop 6: Police and Law Enforcement Funding—Vote No
Prop 7: Renewable Energy Generation—Vote No
Prop 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry—Vote No
To see office holder recommendations, visit www.egpnews.com