PROP 19 – Legalizes Marijuana Under California Law – Vote Yes
Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Allows local governments to regulate and tax the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana. 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.
While much has been reported about this initiative, there’s one very good reason to vote yes. The drug war has cost this country untold billions of dollars, ruined countless lives, enriched drug cartels, and eroded our civil liberties. And it has done nothing to reduce the use of drugs. While Prop 19 won’t fix all those problems, it is a step in the right direction. If nothing else, its passage will signal the willingness of our citizens to seriously consider ending the war on drugs, especially for drugs like marijuana which is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and likely provides real medicinal benefits. Our elected official need political cover if they’re ever going to support meaningful drug law reforms. The passage of Prop 19 would give them that political cover.
PROP 20 - Redistricting Of Congressional Districts – Vote Yes
Transfers authority for establishing congressional districts to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and representatives of neither party. Takes redistricting out of the hands of politicians who have used that power to gerrymander the districts to ensure their own reelection.
Voters approved Proposition 11 in 2008 which provided for the same transfer of authority for establishing state election districts. This proposition extends that authority to the establishment of US congressional districts. When politicians have the power to draw the boundaries of their districts, they artificially adjust those boundaries to include or exclude certain groups of voters such as those of a particular political party or ethnic or social group. This results in the elected officials having an unfair advantage in future elections and virtually assures that they will have little or no real competition for their seat. Taking the power out of the hands of elected politicians is the only way to ensure that congressional district boundaries are drawn fairly and don’t give an advantage to any one political party. – Vote Yes
PROP 21 – Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks – Vote No
Adds $18 to the vehicle license fee each year. This $18 would be earmarked for State Park funding.
While this might seem like a good idea to offset some recent budget cutbacks, imposing this fee is a colossally bad idea. First, while it’s called a fee, it’s actually an additional tax on every vehicle registered in the state. All drivers would pay the same amount, whether they drive an old junker or a Lexus. This means the tax would fall hardest on the lowest income citizens. Furthermore, once this fee is imposed, there’s no guarantee it won’t increase every year. $18 might not be much now, but it could easily rise to $50 or $100 within the next few years. Don’t give the politicians the ability to impose this new tax on California drivers. – Vote No
PROP 22 – Prohibits the State From Borrowing Or Taking Funds Used For Transportation, Redevelopment, Or Local Government Projects And Services – Vote No
This measure reduces or eliminates the state’s authority to:
• Use state fuel tax revenues to pay debt service on state transportation bonds.
• Borrow or change the distribution of state fuel tax revenues.
• Redirect redevlopment agency property taxes to any other local government.
• Temporarily shift property taxes from cities, counties, and special districts to schools.
• Use vehicle license fee (VLF) revenues to reimburse local governments for state mandated costs.
This proposition is basically about a jurisdictional dispute between the State and local governments. Both sides make similar claims that passing the measure (or defeating it) will protect taxpayer funds from “the politicians”. Annual State and local funding is a complicated calculation and usually neither side is entirely happy with the outcome. I recommend that it’s best for voters to stay out of this issue and let our elected officials fight it out. Therefore I recommend a No vote to keep things the way they are now.
PROP 23 – Suspends Implementation of AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, Until Unemployment Drops To 5.5% or Less for Full Year – Vote Yes
Contrary to the way opponents of this initiative would like to characterize it, AB32 does not reduce “pollution”, it reduces CO2 which is not an air pollutant per se. If AB32 is implemented, it would mean the loss of millions of jobs in California. Supporters of AB32 claim that some of those jobs would be replaced with “green jobs”, but there is no guarantee those jobs will ever materialize and even if they do, they would only be a tiny fraction of the number of jobs lost. Those that support AB32 (and oppose this initiative) are asking us to favor potential jobs over jobs that currently exist. Realize that each job lost really means that an actual person who currently has a job will become unemployed. Furthermore, even if AB32 is implemented and we are actually able to reduce CO2 emissions in California, there would be no net effect on global warming since the CO2 produced by California is only a minute fraction of the CO2 produced globally and much of the CO2 we now produce would stilled be produced, only in states other than California as companies relocate to other places (and take our jobs with them). California can’t afford the loss of millions of jobs. – Vote Yes
PROP 24 – Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses To Lower Their Tax Liability – Vote No
In 2008 and 2009, the state legislature adjusted the way some businesses were allowed to calculate their tax liability. This was done to make California more competitive with surrounding states and keep businesses from moving to places with a lower tax rate. California imposes one of the highest tax liabilities on businesses of any state. The previous changes were an attempt to make taxes a bit more fair. Now, however, the proponents of Prop 24 want to take away those adjustments and are mischaracterizing them as a “giveaway”. Businesses are not the enemy, they are the engine that drives our economy and provide jobs to our citizens. In order to keep businesses from fleeing the state, we have to stay competitive. – Vote No
PROP 25 – Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget and Budget-Related Legislation from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority – Vote No
Critics of the Two-Thirds vote requirement to pass a budget have been claiming that this is the source of all the state’s budgetary problems. This is an absolute lie. The Two-Thirds vote requirement does make it harder to pass a budget because it makes it harder to raise taxes. This forces our legislators to look more deeply at what the state is spending and to make tough choices. That’s a good thing. Granted, the budget is often late, but that’s better than imposing crippling tax increases on out citizens. The Two-Thirds vote requirement is the only thing standing in the way of higher taxes and fees. – Vote No
PROP 26 – Requires That Certain State And Local Fees Be Approved By Two-Thirds Vote – Vote Yes
In order to get around the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes, the politicians have begun to call those taxes “fees”. This initiative closes that loophole. – Vote Yes
PROP 27 – Eliminates State Commission On Redistricting – Vote No
This measure is basically the opposite of Prop 20. It puts redistricting back in the hands of politicians by reversing Prop 11 which voters approved in 2008. It’s a power grab by politicians who are afraid that they will lose reelection if they actually have to compete on a level playing field. For a more detailed discussion, see the explanation of Prop 20 above. – Vote No
Here’s my condensed summary:
PROP 19 – Legalizes Marijuana – YES
PROP 20 – Redistricting – YES
PROP 21 – $18 Car Tax – NO
PROP 22 – Prohibits Funds Transfers – NO
PROP 23 – Suspends Job Killing AB32 – YES
PROP 24 – Repeals Businesses Tax Adjustment – NO
PROP 25 – Eliminates Two-Thirds Requirement – NO
PROP 26 – Requires Two-Thirds Vote to Raise Fees – YES
PROP 27 – Eliminates State Redistricting Commission – NO
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