Sabrina’s Progressive California Voter Guide
(For my busy friends who may share some of my environmental and socially liberal views but can’t put in the hours required to sort through all the propositions)
YES on Prop 19 Legalizes marijuana under California but not Federal law
Weak yes on Prop 20 Redistricting of congressional districts
YES on Prop 21 Establishes $18.00 vehicle charge to fund state parks
NO on Prop 22 Prohibits State from borrowing from local government funds
NO on Prop 23 Suspends global warming laws
YES on Prop 24 Repeals lower business taxes
YES on Prop 25 Lowers legislative vote for budget from 2/3 to ½
NO on Prop 26 Requires certain fees be approved by 2/3 vote
NO on Prop 27 Eliminates recently enacted state commission on redistricting
Why I came to decision and some endorsements
YES on Prop 19 Legalizing marijuana could bring in huge tax revenues (several to many billions/year) to local governments and unclog our criminal justice system (60,000/year arrested for small non violent possession) that unfairly targets the poor. It is estimated that even without taxes, the state spends close to $1 billion on pot enforcement per year.
ACLU, Courage Campaign, CREDO, California’s leading progressive blog (Calitics.com), Latino Voters League, some counties
Very Weak Yes on Prop 20 Redistricting of Congressional Districts. This extends the 2008 voter passed Prop 11, which created a non-partisan 14-member commission to draw boundaries (based on 10 year census data) for state offices to also draw them for congressional districts. Prior to Prop 11, sitting legislators drew the new boundaries of their districts so it’s pretty easy to keep themselves in office (a long established American unjust tactic called gerrymandering). HOWEVER PLEASE NOTE THAT ALMOST ALL PROGRESSIVE ORGANIZATIONS ARE VOTING NO ON PROP 20 because it was placed on the ballot by a wealthy right wing activist and is intended to reduce the number of House seats held by Democrats. So philosophically it is the right thing to do but pragmatically it may really hurt the progressive agenda. I am really torn on which way to go.
YES on Prop 21 Save State Parks Creates: $18.00 fee on annual license registration to be used to operate, maintain and repair state parks, and protect wildlife and natural resources. Removes fees to enter state parks for those who have paid vehicle fee. Results in $500 million revenue which would replace the current state funding of about $300 million ($150 comes from general fund, $50 from day use fees and about $100 from gasoline taxes) $300 million has not been enough to keep the parks going with lots of closures and service reductions recently. They support the economy through tourism as well as helping the environment. This fee would allow the parks to start doing deferred maintenance as well as getting $250 million per year back to the state for use in other areas like education.
Courage Campaign, CREDO, CA Democratic Party, CA Federation of Teachers, CA Labor Fed, CA League of Conservation Voters, CA Nurses Assn, California’s leading progressive blog (Calitics.com), National Wildlife Federation, Nature Conservancy
NO on Prop 22 Prop 22 prohibits the State from borrowing or taking funds used for transportation, redevelopment or local governments. This may sound good on the surface but on further consideration actually turns out to be quite detrimental. It will result in about $1 billion per year less for the general fund (which pays for education, firefighters and children’s healthcare). Worse yet it locks in to the constitution special protections for developers. Redevelopment agencies have a sorry history of funneling taxpayer funds into incentives and giveaways to huge developers that don’t result in the desired outcome. (e.g. downtown redevelopment over the years). This poorly written proposition also seeks to repeal laws enacted after Oct. 2009 which conflict with it and so will lead to court battles wasting taxpayer money and leading to more gridlock.
Courage Campaign, CA Dem Party, CA Nurses Assn, CA Professional Firefighters
Hell NO on Prop23: Keep it Clean Funded by two Texas oil companies - Valero and Tesoro, Prop 23 would effectively repeal California’s historic clean air law (AB 23) enacted four years ago that holds polluters accountable and sets up clean energy standards. Prop 23 suspends activity under AB 23 until unemployment drops below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. Unemployment is currently 12% and has rarely dropped to such a low level even in good times, so Prop 23 essentially repeals the global warming legislation we have. This will jeopardize about 500,000 clean energy jobs and $10 billion in private investment in California’s clean energy businesses. CA is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses in the world and AB 32 is one of the few good things that have happened in recent years.
ACLU, Courage Campaign, CREDO, CA Democratic Party, CA Federation of Teachers, CA Labor Fed, CA League of Conservation Voters, CA Nurses Assn, California’s leading progressive blog (Calitics.com), League of Women Voters, American Lung Assn., AARP, Coalition for Clean Air, LA Business Council and more than 50 environmental organizations such as Wilderness Society, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace USA, Sierra Club …. you get the idea.
YES on Prop 24: Stop corporate welfare. Prop 24 would repeal recent legislation that reduces taxes on businesses in three ways starting in 2011. It allows businesses to shift operating losses to prior years and extends the period that it can shift losses into future years from the previous 10 years to 20 years. It allows multistate businesses to pay less sales tax by choosing between one of two formulas to base their tax on. Finally it allows tax credit sharing between entities within a business group.
Costing the Sate about $1.3 billion/year (maybe closer to $2 b) in lost revenue by 2012, these tax giveaways benefit the largest and wealthiest 2% of CA businesses. Small businesses by and large get nothing. Despite the current high unemployment and budget crisis facing the state, corporate profits have been outstanding starting in 2009 with 2010 looking like another banner year. These corporate giveaways will NOT help create or save jobs. If anything we will lose jobs in the public sector as the government has to lay off more teachers, firefighters, etc.
The myth that CA is unfriendly to business was debunked in a front-page article in the Sunday LA Times Oct. 24, which showed that CA takes about 4.7% of what a business produces in taxes – which is the national average. The government take is higher in Alaska (13.8%), New York (5.5%) and even Texas (4.9%).
Courage Campaign, CREDO, CA Democratic Party, CA Federation of Teachers, CA Labor Fed, CA Nurses Assn, California’s leading progressive blog (Calitics.com), League of Women Voters, ACLU
YES on Prop 25: Stop Budget Gridlock Lowers legislative vote for budget from 2/3 to ½ (just like in 47 other states) and permanently docks legislators pay for every day the budget is late. Retains 2/3 majority needed to raise taxes.
California’s constitution requires that the state Senate and Assembly agree and pass a new budget plan by June 15 of every year. But this budget also must be passed by a 2/3 super majority vote, so that a few minority party legislators wield tremendous power to negotiate backroom deals for pet projects and narrow interests. It also results in very late budgets (this year +100 days). Late budgets cost real taxpayer dollars as interest accrues, projects are stopped and restarted, as well as adding to the misery of workers and small businesses who have received IOUs in the past two years.
Courage Campaign, CREDO, CA Democratic Party, CA Federation of Teachers, CA Labor Fed, CA League of Conservation Voters, CA Nurses Assn, California’s leading progressive blog (Calitics.com), League of Women Voters, ACLU
NO on Prop 26: Stop polluter protection Requires certain fees be approved by 2/3 vote rather than a simple majority both in the legislature for state fees and at the local level by voters. Prop 26 would also redefine certain fees as taxes (again requiring a 2/3 vote). Funded by large corporations (Chevron, Exxon, Mobil, Philip Morris) Prop 26 would make it much harder to levy fees on companies for harm to the environment or public health. These types of fees include oil recycling fees, hazardous materials fees, and alcohol retailer fees. Although current fees would be exempt any changes to them would require the higher vote in addition to new fees on future industries. California corporations are doing well. It makes no sense to give them more giveaways, especially at the cost of public and environmental health and welfare. Any revenue not collected from corporations is shifted on to the backs of taxpayers.
Courage Campaign, CREDO, CA Democratic Party, CA Federation of Teachers, CA Labor Fed, CA League of Conservation Voters, CA Nurses Assn, California’s leading progressive blog (Calitics.com), League of Women Voters, ACLU, Sierra Club
NO on Prop 27: Eliminates recently enacted state commission on redistricting created in 2008 by Prop 11. History has shown that allowing legislators to draw their own district lines leads is a conflict of interest that is hard to resist. The first Citizens Redistricting Commission has just been finalized and its members were selected from a diverse, qualified pool of candidates (5 Republicans, 5 Democrats, 4 others). Let them do their work. However, as in Prop 20, many progressive organizations are for Prop 27 because the current make up of the legislature is majority Democratic.
League of Women Voters, ACLU
For other progressive voter guides and other info: