Conservative Voter Guide (Part 3) – Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – California Initiatives

Here is the third in our series of voter guides, this time put together for by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.  Once again, these recommendations do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Thinking Right Blog.

 

Prop. 30: Income and sales tax increase

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Raises California’s base sales tax from 7.25% to 7.5% for the next four years, and increases income taxes for seven years — including this year — on those earning more than $250,000 a year by 11%.  The tax increases incrementally so that those making more than $1,000,000 will see a jump of 29%.  Tax revenues are estimated to increase by $6.8 to 9 billion annually if this measure passes. These funds are to be available to address the state’s budgetary problem by paying for spending commitments.

This measure is supported by Governor Jerry Brown and numerous government employee unions.

Supporters say the tax increase will help the state avoid painful cuts to services we all care about and balance the budget.

Opponents say California’s taxes are already among the highest in the nation.  Opponents say the deficit is a result of mismanagement by state politicians who have failed to enact reforms such as pension and regulatory reform or to reduce the influence of special interests.  Some who oppose this measure also disagree because the favor Molly Munger’s competing tax increase proposal.

Supporters website: ProtectSchoolsandPublicSafety.org

Opponents website: ReformsAndJobsNotTaxes.com 

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

 


Prop. 31: New government accountability procedures

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Implements procedural changes in the way California’s government functions.  The proposal would extend to two years from one the amount of time politicians have to pass a budget, prohibit new projects costing over $25 million unless spending cuts or tax increases are implemented simultaneously, allow the Governor to cut spending without Legislative approval in a declared fiscal emergency, implement new performance reviews of government programs and allow local governments to amend state laws related to spending to suit the needs in their area.

This proposal is backed financially by Nicolas Berggruen, a billionaire who has previously funded efforts to increase taxes and regulation.

The measure does not yet have any organized opposition.

Supporters website: CaFwd-Action.org

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

Prop. 32: Stop special interest money

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

 In the 2010 election, corporations, business associations and unions donated $89 million to California campaigns and candidates.  This initiative reduces the role of special interest money in politics by prohibiting automatic deductions from government employee’s paychecks, prohibiting contributions by corporations and unions to candidate-controlled committees and banning government contractors from donating to the officeholder who awarded the contract.Supporters say this proposal is an important step toward eliminating the stranglehold special interests have on the political system.

Opponents say this proposal is a ploy to reduce the influence of government employee unions, without meaningfully reducing corporate influence.

Supporters website: StopSpecialInterestMoney.org

Opponents website: StopSpecialExemptions.org

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

Prop. 33: Insurance discounts for continuous coverage

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Allow customers to receive discounts on their insurance as a reward for maintaining continuous insurance coverage, even if the customer has jumped from company to company.  The proposal also provides that individuals whose coverage lapsed due to military service or prolonged unemployment still are treated as if continuously covered so would not be negatively impacted.Supporters say insurance consumers deserve to be rewarded for following the law and maintaining coverage.  By allowing individuals to take their discount for continuous auto insurance to another company, this initiative expands consumer choice and fosters competition among insurance providers.  Supporters furthermore say this proposal is a new and improved version of a previous measure, Proposition 17, that was narrowly defeated.  They say improvements include discounts for young drivers, veterans and people who have experienced up to 18 months of unemployment.

Opponents question the motives of Mercury Insurance, the main financial backer of this initiative.  They say Mercury Insurance provides poor customer service and is backing a deceptive proposal.  Opponents claim the true purpose of the initiative is to increase insurance company revenue by punishing individuals who have failed to maintain continuous insurance coverage.

Supporters website: 2012AutoInsuranceDiscount.com

Opponents website: None yet

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE 

Prop. 34: Abolition of capital punishment

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Eliminates the death penalty in California.  There are currently 725 people on death row in the state, with approximately 1 out of every 100 convicted murderers sentenced to capital punishment.  California’s rate of death sentences is significantly below the national average, of about 2 death sentences per 100 murderers.  However, the length of time to carry out an execution is longer than average due to legal hurdles.  No executions have taken place since 2006, when legal challenges by anti-death penalty activists resulted in court mandated changes to the process.Supporters say abolishing the death penalty will save the state money in legal costs and will eliminate costs for maintaining San Quentin’s death row.  Supporters further argue capital punishment is morally wrong and creates an unacceptable risk that an innocent individual could be executed by mistake.  They claim replacing the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole will ensure those on death row never harm anyone again.

Opponents say abolishing the death penalty does a disservice to crime victims who have lost loved ones at the hands of some of California’s most vicious murderers.  Opponents say a better way to cut costs would be to carry out the executions of those sentenced to death and reduce excessive delays.  They also point out the justice system has multiple safeguards to protect the innocent.  Opponents disagree that life without the possibility of parole ensures the state’s most vicious murderers will never again harm anyone because escapes and violence against correctional officers and fellow inmates continues to pose a risk.

Supporters website:  SafeCalifornia.org

Opponents website:  WaitingforJustice.net

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

Prop. 35: Increased punishment for sexual exploitation

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Expands the definition of human trafficking to include forced labor unrelated to the sex trade, increases penalties for human trafficking, requires human traffickers to register as sex offenders and requires sex offenders to provide Internet access and online identify information.  Up to 17,500 Americans are victims of human trafficking annually, and California’s location as a destination for immigrants and cultural diversity has made human trafficking an especially serious concern.  Sex trafficking is among the most common types of exploitation, and labor trafficking is also a major problem, with people working in sweatshops or as domestic servants in conditions of slavery or near-slavery.This proposal has no organized opposition.

Supporters website: CaliforniaAgainstSlavery.org

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

Prop. 36: Penalty reduction for Three Strikes offenders

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Amends California’s Three Strikes law to allow the early release of 3,000 felons serving life sentences after committing violent or serious crimes and reduce penalties for future criminal acts.  California currently allows prosecutors to seek a “third strike” life sentence conviction against criminals with at least two previous serious or violent offenses.  24 other states have a law similar to California’s Three Strikes, which was enacted by voters in 1994.  8,800 prisoners in California jails are currently serving life sentences under the Three Strikes law, and 3,000 would be eligible for release back into California communities if this proposal passes.Major funding for this proposal has been provided by George Soros, a wealthy financial speculator.

Supporters say the convicted criminals who this proposal would release from jail have received excessive punishments for unserious crimes such as petty theft or drug possession.  They also argue judges will not approve early release for criminals who still pose a public safety threat.

Opponents say all criminals convicted under the Three Strikes law have been convicted of at least two violent or serious offenses prior to their third strike.  Opponents also say Three Strikes has substantially reduced crime in California by taking dangerous criminals off the streets.  They point out nobody receives an automatic third strike, but rather under the law prosecutors have the discretion to seek a third strike conviction on a criminal they deem to pose a serious threat to public safety.

Supporters website: FixThreeStrikes.org

Three Strikes website: ThreeStrikes.org

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

Prop. 37: Labels for genetically modified foods

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Requires labels designating foods that have been genetically modified.  Some grocery stores catering to natural foods enthusiasts, such as Whole Foods Market, currently market their stores as free of genetically modified (GM) foods, but grocery stores are not now required to label whether the food they sell is genetically modified.  GM foods are common.  By 1999, 60% of produce sold in grocery stores was grown using GM seeds.  These crops are designed to protect the environment and alleviate hunger by increasing crop yields and reducing the need for pesticides and mechanical cultivation.Supporters say GM foods may be unsafe and could contain toxins and allergens that are unsafe for consumers.  The proponents argue the proposition ensures people have a right to know what is in their food and warn that many Californians are currently unaware they are consuming genetically modified food.  They also claim the measure will cost nothing to food producers or consumers.

Opponents say genetically modified crops have been in use for decades worldwide and numerous studies prove them safe in addition to contributing to a healthier environment and less world hunger.  While supporters say this proposal costs nothing, proponents point out the Legislative Analyst’s fiscal impact study said millions of dollars in new costs could be imposed on Californians as a result of frivilous lawsuits made possible if this measure were to pass.

Supporters website: CARightToKnow

Opponents website: NoProp37.com

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

Prop. 38: Income tax increase for schools

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Impose a $10 billion across the board income tax increase on everyone earning over $7,316 per year.  The tax increase is graduated with the percentage increasing from .4% for taxpayers in the lowest income bracket up to 2.2% for taxpayers earning over $2.5 million. 60% of the revenue would go to schools, 30% to repaying state debt and 10% to early childhood programs. This proposal could raise a typical family of four’s taxes by up to $1,000 annually.  California currently spends about $9,000 per student on education, ranking slightly below the national average but ahead of neighboring states including Arizona, Nevada and Utah.The proposal is financially backed by Molly Munger, an attorney and heiress to a portion of the Berkshire Hathaway fortune.  She has already contributed over $7 million

Supporters say the initiative makes an important investment in the future of California childrens by substantially increasing education funding.  Proponents say California K-12 schools are California’s primary engine for social mobility and opportunity.  They also say their proposal is more desirable than the Governor’s tax increase measure, which will appear on the same ballot, because the Governor’s proposal does not specifically earmark the funds it raises for schools.

Opponents say this proposal will harm the economy and kill jobs at a time when California already suffers a high tax and regulatory burden and an unemployment rate that is among the worst in the nation.  Furthermore, opponents say the typical family simply cannot afford a tax increase of this magnitude in these tough economic times.  Some opponents also disagree with this proposal because they favor the Governor’s tax increase measure instead.  Backers of the competing proposal say while this initiative might provide additional funds for education, it will not solve the state’s budget deficit.

Supporters website: OurChildrenOurFuture2012.com

Opponents website: None yet

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

Prop. 39: Tax increase for renewable energy

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

Imposes $5 billion in new taxes on businesses over the next five years to provide $2.5 billion in additional state funding for renewable energy and another $2.5 billion for the state’s General Fund.  California currently provides renewable energy providers with generous subsidies and programs that reward renewable energy and punish conventional generation.  These current efforts to increase renewable energy usage are funded by all citizens through taxes and increased electricity rates.The main backer of Prop. 39 is hedge fund billionarie Tom Steyer, whose holdings have included renewable energy investments.

Supporters say the tax increase results from closing a loophole that gave preferential treatment to businesses with operations outside California.  They furthermore argue increased taxpayer-backed spending on renewable energy will be good for the environment and will create green jobs.

Opponents say the tax increase will worsen California’s already high unemployment rate by making the state even more difficult to do business in.  They point out California currently has the highest business taxes in the western United States and one of the nation’s heaviest regulatory burdens.  Opponents say the state should address its anti-jobs climate instead of raising taxes.

Supporters website: CleanEnergyJobsAct.com

Opponents website: None yet

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE

Prop 40: Redistricting referrendum

7.05.2012 | INITIATIVES

A new redistricting process was instituted in California by the passage of Prop. 11 in 2008.  This new law eliminated the Legislature’s authority to draw district boundaries and instead created the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was responsible for drawing boundary lines defining Assembly and Senate districts which will be in use for the next ten years.  Prop. 40 is a referendum on the new State Senate district boundaries.  A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of the current boundaries as drawn by the Redistricting Commission.  A “no” vote is a vote to begin the process of redrawing the districts and putting them to a vote.As a result of failure to qualify this initiative for the June primary election followed by negative legal rulings, referendum proponents have cancelled their campaign.


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