The California Propositions – General Election – November 6, 2012

My sources are: http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp and http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/endorsements/la-ed-end-prop31-20121018,0,7129652.story

PROPOSITION 30
Governor Jerry Brown’s Tax Increases for Education and Public Safety.
After the Legislature defeated Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to increase income taxes he pledged to take the decision to the voters — Proposition 30 is the result. This year’s state budget counts on the money from this proposition. The Legislature cannot pass a tax with out a supermajority of 67%, so as usual, tax increases were rejected by a minority of conservatives who signed a pledge never to raise a tax as long as they live. The measure raises taxes on income above $250,000, plus one quarter cent to the sales tax. If the measure fails, automatic triggers will cut almost $6 billion from the state budget for education and public safety.
I’m voting YES.

PROPOSITION 31
California Forward’s super-complicated grab-bag of previous budget reform attempts.
“…on closer inspection … an unbalanced and dangerous monster.” –Los Angeles Times.
The parts are:
two-year budget cycle (sounds like overkill)
Governor can make unilateral budget cuts when legislature fails to act (creates opportunity for more mayhem seems like)
California Senate or Assembly must publicly display all bills for three days before votes (is this normal practice?)
Lawmakers must identify funding sources for their spending or tax cut proposals (sounds interesting, but meh)
Performance reviews and goal setting for all state and local programs (sure, if it works)
Local governments can alter some state laws and regulations – Legislature can reject modifications (now that would be a circus)
Fiscal impact: will cost millions to tens of millions of dollars annually (hmmmm).
I’m voting NO.

PROPOSITION 32
Selective campaign donation restrictions.
This proposition is an attempt to stop liberal-leaning organizations from spending on political campaigns while leaving conservative-leaning sources ways to contribute. Because laws like this are offensive, it has to sound even-handed. Laws like this are common in one-party countries.
I’m voting NO.

PROPOSITION 33
Higher auto insurance rates. Weaker Insurance Commissioner. Keep your loyalty discount.
Again?? Good grief. Once again, here’s that proposition (slightly changed – they tacked on some exemptions) that allows insurance companies to jack up your rates without regulatory approval from the Insurance Commissioner (an elective office). Once again, they are telling you it’s a law that lets you “keep your discount” hoping you will give them new rate-hiking powers and weaken the Insurance Commissioner.
I’m voting NO.

PROPOSITION 34
Repeal the death penalty, replace with life without possibility of parole.
Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1978, about 900 people have been sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed, 83 have died before their execution date and 75 have had their sentences reduced by the court. And of course, others have been found completely innocent.
I’m voting YES.

PROPOSITION 35
Increased penalties for online child pornography, makes online pornography a form of human trafficking.
This law has “falsely accused” written all over it. Limits online free speech. Makes it harder to help victims leave sex work. Makes criminal the “intent to distribute obscene matter” which is unconstitutionally vague. Lengthens prison sentences, which is cruel and unusual punishment. Opposed By: The ACLU of Northern California, The Erotic Providers Legal, Education and Research Project Inc. Favored by: labor unions (police, correctional officers, service employees – SEIU).
I’m voting NO.

PROPOSITION 36
Revises the Third Strike requirements of the Three Strikes Law
Changes the Three Strikes Law so the third strike made by a repeat offender must be a violent felony, like murder, robbery and rape, or a serious drug or sex felony, to get the automatic 25 years to life on the third strike. All other crimes on a third strike will automatically get double the normal sentence, just like strike two. Any of the roughly 9,000 third strikers may apply for reduced sentences. Fiscal impact: initial expense to re-sentence third strikers whose third strike was not a serious felony; after that $70 to $90 million annual savings. Stanford Law School Professor David Mills drafted the measure with lawyers from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in consultation with law enforcement officials. The District Attorneys in San Francisco and Santa Clara support the measure. Major financial backers include David Mills, the NAACP and George Soros.
I’m voting YES.

PROPOSITION 37
Label genetically engineered food.
Genetically engineered foods have been around since 1994. Most genetic modifications are so seeds are resistant to pesticides and herbicides, but throw in as well the ability to grow in poor soils, in excessive heat, and faster. In 2011, almost all corn (88%) and soybean (94%) crops are genetically engineered (GE), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other common GE crops are canola, papaya, sugar beets and zucchini. Cost: $1 million annually for inspectors.
I’m voting yes.

PROPOSITION 38
Molly Munger’s Tax Increases for Early Education and K-12.
This law raises taxes on nearly every Californian if it passes. First it pays down the state debt for 4 years. Then it starts funding K-12 education. If it gets more votes than prop 30, prop 30 is killed and that will trigger almost $6 billion in automatic cuts to the state budget. State law says when two income tax measures pass in the same election, only the one with the most votes may become law.
I’m voting NO.

PROPOSITION 39
Increases Taxes on Multistate Business (by removing a loophole), Funds Clean Energy.
Most businesses do business entirely in California and are unaffected by this law. The few that do business here and elsewhere are large corporations and are California’s largest revenue source. Even at that, these companies enjoy a big loophole. They can sell stuff here all they want but manufacture it elsewhere, and get a big tax break. This law closes that loophole, taxes them for the amount of business they actually do here. The incentive to locate their employees elsewhere is removed. This law will bring in $1 billionin corporate taxes and go toward developing green technology and jobs.
I’m voting YES.

PROPOSITION 40
Referendum: YES or NO to the new State Senate boundaries drawn by the independent commission.
The League of Women Voters of California, AARP California, California Chamber of Commerce, the California Democratic Party and now the California Republican Party all support a yes vote.
I’m voting YES.

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