Archived: Ballot Recommendations – Tuesday, Nov. 6 Election


Yes on Proposition 30—Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment: This proposition would temporarily increase taxes on people earning more than $250,000: employing a four-tier rate that increases as incomes go up. The increase is supposedly for seven years. The proposition would also increase the sales tax by one-quarter cent for the next four years. While each of these increases is supposed to be temporary, too often they never come back down, even in times of a revenue surplus.

And while proponents of the measure claim the measure would increase money going to schools, there is no guarantee that the actual amount received by schools will increase. Rather, the estimated $8.5 billion in new revenue will be used to meet constitutionally required school funding levels, freeing up money in the state’s General Fund, which could then be used to pay for other services.

But let’s be upfront about this, the increase in the sales tax will hurt a lot of people already struggling to get by. It’s not just the people buying a luxury automobile who will see the increase, so will the low-income families trying to put shoes on their children, buy detergent to wash their clothes, and put gas in their cars so they can drive to their low-paying jobs

Nonetheless, California is in a financial mess and the revenue raised will help the state avoid further harmful cuts to programs and services that help the state’s most vulnerable populations. Therefore we recommend a Yes Vote on Proposition 30.

No on Proposition 31—State Budget, State and Local Government Constitutional Amendment. While this proposition has some very well–intentioned provisions that would appeal to voters frustrated over the lack of leadership in Sacramento, it is the unintended consequences of this poorly written measure that have us concerned. Prop 31 establishes a two-year state budget, and allows local governments to alter application of state laws governing things such as air quality and other health and environmental standards. First, we are hesitant about approving any measure that would amend the California Constitution, placing efforts to fix any problems arising from the legislation out of reach. We also believe that passage of the measure, which has all but lost all of its original proponents, would create a patchwork of rules and regulations, and subject local constituents to the whims of politicians who carry water for developers. This measure would also give the governor unilateral authority to cut state funding in a “fiscal emergency,” giving the governor too much power to make cuts the voters don’t agree with. We strongly urge a No Vote on Prop 31.

No on Proposition 33—Auto Insurance companies. Prices Based on Driver’s History of Auto Insurance Coverage: This measure would allow insurance companies to set rates based on whether an applicant has had prior insurance. Currently, insurance rates are based on a person’s driving record, and the risk to the insurer. Under Prop 33, insurers would have the power to increase their rates if an applicant could not provide evidence of prior insurance, that’s a large penalty. The advertising campaign behind the proposition is deceptive, as is the insurance companies’ claims that driver’s will see their insurance rates go down if this measure is approved. People, who for one reason or another did not have auto insurance for a time would be forced to pay higher rates or go without auto insurance. In this economy, you can bet many will opt to go without. We need to ensure that all drivers on the road are insured. Voters have previously defeated a similarly flawed proposition and should do so again. Vote No on Prop 33.

Yes on Proposition 34—Death Penalty. Initiative Statute: Whether you consider it a moral issue or a financial one, Californians should pass Prop 34. Execution of a person sentenced to death in California is a rare occurrence. People sentenced to death are afforded every opportunity in this state to defend against an execution actually taking place, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Voting Yes on Prop 34 means that the state will no longer sentence murderers to death, but rather to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In reality, that is what we do now, accept we spend millions of dollars more doing it. This measure would save the state about $130 million a year. That $130 million could go to hire a lot of police officers or teachers. Vote Yes on Prop 34.

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