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Archived: Eastern Group Publications Ballot Recommendations

Prop 19—Legalizes Marijuana Under California But Not Federal Law. Permits Local Governments To Regulate And Tax, Commercial Production, Distribution, And Sale of Marijuana. Initiative Statute.

Prop 19 allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Fiscal Impact: Depending on federal, state, and local government actions, potential increased tax and fee revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and potential correctional savings of several tens of millions of dollars annually.

The limited distribution and growth of medical marijuana is now legal in the state but not under federal law. There are so many users of marijuana today that there are those who say its time to legalize it. In our opinion, that reasoning is akin to legalizing speeding in your car.

We are convinced that some people become addicted to the drug despite claims to the contrary. We are concerned that passage of Prop 19 will have the unintended affect of giving a larger number of children and people under the age of 21 access to the drug, much as they have access to alcohol even though consumption is illegal for anyone under 21.

We recognize that there is a real temptation to believe that taxing marijuana will bring enormous amounts of much-needed revenue into the financially beleaguered state, In our view, the estimates being circulated in support of Prop 19 are greatly exaggerated.

As written, Prop 19 lacks adequate controls and mechanisms to ensure public safety.

The thought that young people may become addicted to the drug and add to an already high rate of school dropouts is not a very good outcome, and too high a price to pay for any added financial benefit that might be gained by approving Prop 19.

As for saving money by less incarceration of marijuana arrestees, we could do that now by putting more people on probation or in drug treatment, and by charging heavier fines.

Last of all, we don’t believe the drug gangs won’t find a way to infiltrate the growing of marijuana.
—Vote No

Prop 20—Redistricting of Congressional Districts. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Removes elected representatives from process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and representatives of neither party. Fiscal Impact: No significant net change in state redistricting costs.

This initiative adds congressional redistricting to the recently established redistricting commission. This is a sensible idea since the public has already voted to take the state level redistricting process away from the legislature. The vetting of the state level election commission is well underway and it appears that a greater level of transparency is already taking shape. In our view, citizens will have a greater ability to participate in the redistricting process by passing Prop 20.
—Vote Yes

Prop 21—Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge To Help Fund State Parks And Wildlife Programs. Grants Surcharged Vehicles Free Admission To All State Parks. Initiative Statute.

Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures, Prop 21 exempts commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches from the surcharge. Fiscal Impact: Annual increase to state revenues of $500 million from surcharge on vehicle registrations. After offsetting some existing funding sources, these revenues would provide at least $250 million more annually for state parks and wildlife conservation.

We all enjoy our state parks and want to fully fund them, but we do not think it is a good idea to take $500 million more out of the state’s drivers’ pockets during these tough economic times.

We also do not think we should add to the costs the states unemployed drivers must already pay.
—Vote No

Prop 22—Prohibits The State From Borrowing Or Taking Funds Used for Transportation, Redevelopment, Or Local Government Projects And Services. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Prohibits State, even during severe fiscal hardship, from delaying distribution of tax revenues for these purposes. Fiscal Impact: Decreased state General Fund spending and/or increased state revenues, probably in the range of $1 billion to several billions of dollars annually. Comparable increases in funding for state and local transportation programs and local redevelopment.

Reducing or eliminating the state’s authority to take local funding from county and city governments is necessary to ensure that local governments are able to plan their budgets in a more timely way since the state has been unable to approve a timely budget.

It does not make sense to us to short change local governments’ ability to provide services to their constituents—in fact, we call the unbalancing of local government budgets to balance the state’s an unsavory case of taking from Peter to pay Paul.

Not eliminating the state’s authority to temporarily shift property taxes is an insult to property owners who pay their property taxes in the belief that they will be used for street repairs, trash collection, libraries and other county and city services.

Limiting the state’s ability to take gasoline tax revenues to pay debt service on state transportation bonds instead of using the funds as voters intended and approved on state transportation needs, is a wise and needed step toward getting local budgets back under control, and forcing the state to stop using gimmicks to balance its budget.
—Vote Yes

Prop 24—Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses To Lower Their Tax liability. Initiative Statute.

Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues of about $1.3 billion each year by 2012–13 from higher taxes paid by some businesses. Smaller increases in 2010–11 and 2011–12.

If Californians pass Prop 24 carry backs and return business tax provisions to where they were in 2008-2009, business would lose the ability to carry over losses into future years, starting in 2010.

We think repealing the tax change is a bad idea for businesses that are already struggling to keep their doors open and maintain their current payrolls.

While we recognize that there are some concerns about large corporations and out-of-state companies reaping what some have called an “unfair tax advantage,” we do not believe that the initiative process is the place for dealing with these concerns.

Starting in 2011, some multi-state businesses will be able to choose every year which of two options to determine the level of income that California can tax the formula under prior law or one that considers only the business sales in California relative to its national sales.

Beginning in 2010, tax credit to businesses can be used to reduce the taxes of other entities in the group of related companies this measure revokes that tax law.

Passage of Prop 24 will strengthen the perception that California anti-business and will lower the state’s ability to compete with other states for business.
—Vote No