Most Californians would rather cover themselves in honey and lie down next to a fire ant hill than read through all the propositions. This post is for you, my fellow CA brothers and sisters. This is my breakdown of the propositions, and my suggestions on how to vote (Spinny Says™). Suggestions is the key word. Even though it’s tedious and you would rather do the honey/ants thing, I encourage everyone to read the propositions and decide for yourselves.
There are 11 Propositions on the ballot this year. What fun! Yeah, right.
- PROPOSITION 30: TEMPORARY TAXES TO FUND EDUCATION. GUARANTEED LOCAL PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
- PROPOSITION 31: STATE BUDGET. STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.
- PROPOSITION 32: POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY PAYROLL DEDUCTION. CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANDIDATES. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
- PROPOSITION 33: AUTO INSURANCE COMPANIES. PRICES BASED ON DRIVER’S HISTORY OF INSURANCE COVERAGE. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
- PROPOSITION 34: DEATH PENALTY. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
- PROPOSITION 35: HUMAN TRAFFICKING. PENALTIES. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
- PROPOSITION 36: THREE STRIKES LAW. REPEAT FELONY OFFENDERS. PENALTIES. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
- Proposition 37: GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. LABELING. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
- PROPOSITION 38: TAX TO FUND EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
- PROPOSITION 39: TAX TREATMENT FOR MULTISTATE BUSINESSES. CLEAN ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY FUNDING. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
- PROPOSITION 40: REDISTRICTING. STATE SENATE DISTRICTS. REFERENDUM.
Choice #1 for tax increases. This one is Governor Brown’s baby. It increases the sales tax to 7.50% (from 7.25%). It also creates 4 high income tax brackets:
1. 10.3% (from 9.3%) for incomes over $250K but less than $300K
2. 11.3% (from 9.3%) for incomes over $300K but less than $500K
3. 12.3% (from 9.3%) for incomes over $500K but less than $1M
4. 13.3% (from 10.3%) for incomes over $1M
Both taxes are temporary. The sales tax will be in effect for 4 years and the high income taxes will be in effect for 7 years.
Spinny Says™ YES on Proposition 30.
Instead of a yearly budget, whose deadline CA legislators usually ignore, this would be a budget for 2 years. Legislators can’t spend more than $25M without showing where they will cut spending to offset it. It permits the governor the power to cut the budget as needed if the Legislature fails to act during declared fiscal emergencies. It will also change the Constitution by amending sections and adding a new article and new section.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. On the surface, it looks really cool. You can’t spend over $25M without showing how you’re going to make up for it. And if there are emergencies and the legislature is deadlocked (happens often), the governor can slice and dice the budget. And changing the CA constitution just by approving this proposition? The proposition gives too much power to the Governor and changes the constitution the minute it’s approved.
Spinny Says™ NO on Proposition 31.
This bans both corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates. It bans contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them. It also bans deductions of employees’ wages to go to political causes.
This one is another that looks good on the surface. However, you don’t have to dig deep to find out that this proposition is bad news. The ones that wrote the proposition exempted themselves. So they can contribute all they want. A state legislator can get money from them to promote their agenda because they wrote it for everyone but themselves. Tricky tricky. Spinny no likey.
Spinny Says™ NO on Proposition 32.
This allows insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver carried auto insurance with any other company. It also allows insurance companies to increase the cost of insurance if they haven’t maintained continuous coverage. If you lost your job or were engaged in military service (for less than 90 days), you’re still considered continuously covered.
I could say sponsored by a billionaire insurance baron and “enough said,” but I’ll delve into it. Say you have an uninsured driver. They see the light and say, “I should be responsible and have insurance too!” If this proposition passes, they’ll see that the price of their premium is super high because they weren’t “continuously covered.” Would this make them want to buy insurance? And what about the people who lost their jobs and have been out of work longer than 90 days (the norm)? Or military service men and women who were deployed (usually a lot longer than 90 days). What do they get when they finally find a job or for their service to this country? Higher insurance premiums!
Spinny Says™ NO on Proposition 33.
Ends the death penalty. Future sentences are “life in prison without the possibility of parole.” People already on death row will have their sentences commuted to “life in prison without the possibility of parole.” Those found guilty of murder will be required to work in prison. Their wages will be applied to victim restitution fines.
I am a Liberal who supports the death penalty. I believe that some crimes require you to pay with your life. The sentence should not be meted out lightly – having DNA evidence and a confession is best. I think those sentenced to death should have one appeal within a two-year period. If they lose that appeal, they will be put to death. Harsh? Yes. Sorry, but I don’t want to be paying for a criminal’s room, board, and endless appeals.
This one boils down to your beliefs. For me:
Spinny Says™ NO on Proposition 34.
Increases criminal penalties for human trafficking – like 15 years to Life prison sentences, up to $1.5M in fines. Requires those convicted of trafficking register as sex offenders. Requires sex offenders to provide information on their internet activities.
Another at first glance it looks good proposition. Study further, and you’ll see that it isn’t. The main thing that disturbs me about this is the retroactive classification of “sex offender.” If you were a sex worker, even as a victim of a trafficker, you would be required to register as a sex offender. That’s punishing the victim!!
Spinny Says™ NO on Proposition 35.
Revises three strikes law to impose life sentence only when new felony conviction is serious or violent. Authorizes re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if third strike conviction was not serious or violent and judge determines sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety.
The “three strikes law” was passed in 1994. This is how it works. Strike 1: Serious, violent felony. Strike 2: Another serious and violent felony. Because you have the first strike, whatever the sentence for the crime you committed will be doubled. Strike 3: Any felony. Doesn’t have to be serious. You get life, with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
The Three Strikes Law was great in theory. What we have now as a result is prison overcrowding. Proposition 36 deals with this problem. It’s important to note that if the serious or violent felonies are murder, rape, or child molestation, the three strikes law still applies to them. They’re not getting out. Save life in prison sentences for these violent offenders (murderers, rapists, and child molesters). Not the ones whose third strike was for a dime bag of meth.
Spinny Says™ YES on Proposition 36.
Requires labeling on food if it is made from plants or animals with their genetic material changed. It also prohibits products with these altered plants and animals in them to be labeled “natural.”
I want to know what’s in my food. Especially if that food can cause health problems. Genetically engineered soy was fed to mice, and the results found changes in the livers of those mice. I know almost anything we eat now can kill us, but I’d like the package to tell me that it has ingredients that can kill me. Don’t be shady and hide it.
Do you know who is funding “Vote NO on Proposition 37?” Monsanto. The company that genetically modifies crops. Why don’t they want labels to say they have their genetically modified products? Because you might actually read up on them and not want it in your food? Monsanto was the company that manufactured Agent Orange (herbicidal warfare) for the Vietnam War. That not only killed and maimed Vietnamese people, but veterans who were exposed to it. They also manufactured DDT (pesticide) and said it was perfectly safe in the 1940’s. DDT was banned in the 1970’s for…causing cancer.
Spinny Says™ YES on Proposition 37.
Choice #2 for tax increases. Increases personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7,316 using sliding scale for twelve years. During first four years, it allocates 60% of revenues to K–12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt, and 10% to early childhood programs. After, it allocates 85% of revenues to K–12 schools, 15% to early childhood programs. It also prohibits the states from directing new funds.
This choice looks really cool because schools are actually getting the lion’s share. The thing that gets me is twelve years. No changes can be made to it even if fraud is involved. Sorry, Jerry’s sales tax is only for 4 years and that high earner tax is only for 7. I always want the option to break up with my propositions sooner if they’ve been cheating on me.
Interestingly, you can vote YES on both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38. The one with the most YES votes will win. Of course, you can also vote NO on both.
Spinny Says™ NO on Proposition 38.
Requires multistate businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California. Repeals existing law giving multistate businesses an option to choose a tax liability formula that favors themselves. Dedicates $550 million annually for five years from anticipated revenue for energy efficiency and clean energy jobs.
Right now, there is a loophole that says these multistate businesses can choose which tax formula to choose. Formula #1: Three Factor Method – location of the company’s sales, property, and employees. If you have more of these in CA, you pay higher taxes. Formula #2: Single Sales Factor – only uses the location of the company’s sales. If 1/4 of a company’s sales were in CA and 3/4 were everywhere else, the 1/4 of the company’s total profits would be subject to CA tax.
For example, you have a business in New Mexico that sells turquoise jewelry. You sell a lot of turquoise jewelry all over the country, but you’re based in NM. Your staff is there and so is your building. Most of your sales, though, are in CA. When it comes to paying what you owe to CA, would you rather choose Formula #1 (you have no employees or buildings in CA) or Formula #2 (sales). Of course you’d choose #1 because you’d pay less since you have no employees or buildings in CA. Proposition 39 closes this loophole (that wasn’t there before 2009 when it was snuck in). Basically, you have to use Formula #2.
Spinny Says™ YES on Proposition 39.
A “Yes” vote approves, and a “No” vote rejects, new State Senate districts drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. If the new districts are rejected, the State Senate district boundary lines will be adjusted by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court.
The new districts were drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. They are independent. It keeps legislators from drawing the districts to guarantee re-election. Someone neutral does the drawing.
Spinny Says™ YES on Proposition 40.