California News

Nov 5, 2012 9:28 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Understanding Propositions

Proposition 30: Tax to fund Public Education and Public Safety

It's a tax measure put on the ballot by Gov. Jerry Brown (D). Prop 30 would increase taxes for people who make over $250,000 per year for the next seven years by one percent. It would also increase California's sales tax by one quarter of one cent for the next four years to fund state programs, like schools and public safety.

California hopes to gain $6.8 billion per year if Prop 30 passes.

While others said this is just another attempt to raise taxes and will not improve the overall situation of California's debt.

"Prop 30 has a problem with it because it says all the funds will go to education, but there is back-door where the California government can pull funds out, so it's not going to be anything more than a mere cosmetic fix," said Christopher Arend, Central Committee of the Republican Party, San Luis Obispo County.

But here's where it gets tricky. "The state already passed the budget and this money is essentially already spent because it is built in, and it's important because if it doesn't pass, there are going to be tremendous shortfalls,"said Michael Latner, Political Science Professor, Cal Poly.

For more on Prop 30 click here.

Proposition 31: State Budget
A yes vote would require a two year budgeting process. Proponents argue that it would induce stability into the budget and allow more long-term planning.

Currently the state has a single year budget.

Opponents argue that it will allow legislators to postpone more difficult decisions, and ultimately procrastinate.

Click here for more on Prop 31.

Prop 32: Political Contributions
It's the so-called "paycheck protection initiative." A yes vote means prohibiting unions from using payroll deduction funds for political purposes.

Political analysts said, although language in the measure includes similar restrictions on corporations, Prop 32 is meant to restrict the political influence of unions in California.

Corporations can use their profits for political purposes they just can't take money out their employees paychecks for political use, but a union is not a for-profit organization, so the only way to fund something is through payroll deduction, explained Cal Poly Political Science Professor Michael Latner.

"The primary argument against 32 is that it essentially disarms unions while not disarming corporations and other corporate amenities," said Latner. "The proponents of Prop 32 are trying to tie unions to the inefficiencies of government in Sacramento as well as the abuses that happen within school systems and other places where union members work."

Latner said the argument against prop 32 is that share holders in corporations have no say over how a company spends money politically. He also said in order to be fair, California should require share holders to follow the same standards as union members.

A no vote on Prop 32 means there would be no change to existing laws regulating the ability of unions to use money from a member's dues for political purposes.

For more on Prop 32 click here.

Prop 33: Auto Insurance Rates
It would change state law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on a driver's past insurance carriers.

Proponents argue that it will provide cost reductions to to people who have long term good driving records and don't change their coverage.

But opponents argue that it is a provision put on the ballot by insurance companies, so it would save the companies more money not the consumers.

Click here for more on Prop 33.

Prop 34: Death Penalty Repeal
A yes vote on Prop 34 would abolish the death penalty in California. All of the prisoners who are currently on death row would have their sentence changed to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and future offenders would be in prison for life without parole.

"The death penalty is a typically a morally controversial political question, but the initiative this time around, the arguments for are based solely on economic grounds," said Michael Latner, Cal Poly professor of Political Science.

The advocates argue that this measure will save the state millions of dollars.

Proponents argue that the death penalty is a deterrent of crime and that it works, and we shouldn't get rid of it as a possible punishment.

Click here for more on Proposition 34.


Prop 35: Human Trafficking
A yes vote means an increase in penalties and a clearer punishment for those involved in human trafficking, it would require convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders.

Proponents argue, saying this is a major problem in California and this measure is long over due.

While opponents argue that is another piece of regulation, and it's not necessary.

Click here for more on Proposition 35.


Prop 36: Three Strikes Law
A yes vote would reform the law to apply to only violent offenders and give judges more leniency.

Proponents said - it doesn't work and it increases the population of our prison system.

A no vote means offenders with two prior serious or violent felony convictions who commit any new felony could receive life in prison.

Click here for more on Proposition 36.


Prop 37: Genetically Modified Foods
Should genetically engineered foods, those that have had changes introduced into their DNA, be specially labeled?

Opponents said grocery bills for the average family could increase as much as $400 per year because everything genetically modified would have a new label, so it's essentially a paper cost.

Those against Prop 37 also said there could be as much as a million dollars in costs for the department of health to regulate and enforce the new labeling.

"There's an ability for anyone to sue the proposition has these loop holes and exemptions that seem to be unfair and make no sense. For instance if you have soy milk it has to be labeled, but cow's milk does not. Dog food that has meat has to be labeled, but meat for human consumption does not," said Jackie Crabb, San Luis Obispo Farm Bureau.

But proponents say we have a right to know what is in our food, and many other countries already follow suit including India and China.

"We fundamentally support peoples right to know. We are concerned about our health our children's health and the health of our communities and we have serious concerns about genetically modified organisms and we do feel that people have the right to know where their food is coming from and how it was produced," said Ron Colone, Marketing Director, New Frontiers.

He said we need to realize that the funding for no on Prop 37 is coming from big chemical companies.

Click here for more on Proposition 37.


Prop 38: Education Tax and Early Childhood Programs
Prop 38 is a competing proposition with prop 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative. Only one can go into effect.

Political analysts said the difference is they get their revenues from somewhat different sources, Prop 38 is more dependent on high income earners.

The critics including the Governor argue Prop 38 is confusing it that it's not already accounted for in the budget.

Prop 30 includes taxes that have already been agreed to by the state legislator.

Click here for more on Proposition 38.


Prop 39: Multi-state Business Tax
Proponents argue we shouldn't be giving any advantage to out of state business because right now they get a tax break.

Opponents argue in this recession any additional regulation on business is a bad idea, because it could deter companies from doing business in this state.

Click here for more on Prop 39.

Prop 40: Redistricting
A yes vote on Prop 40 would mean you support the redistricting commissions new senate districts. It was actually put on the ballot by opponents.

A no vote on Prop 40 means you would prefer the courts make the decision.

Click here for more on Proposition 40.


Some non-partisan websites are below that offer more information on California's Propositions.

California Choices

Smart Voter

California's Fair Political Practices Commission -- Includes campaign spending information.

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