Sparkles Lund and I discussed the notion of how bills and propositions become law, and the voting process. We used the California General Election Guide which does a really good job of outlining how to vote, vote by mail options, and provisional voting.
After that, we reviewed the propositions. After some discussion, here is what we decided.
Proposition 30: Temporary taxes to fund education. Increases tases on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and increases sales taxes by 1/4 percent for four years.
We vote yes. Californian has one of the lowest quality public school systems in the nation, and some of the greatest challenges (high cost of living and costs associated with education to immigrants). California ranks as the 43rd lowest state in per pupal education funding (a result of Proposition 13 which limits increases to property taxes, the primary source of education funding). We believe that it is in the best interest to increase funding to improve the quality of education in California Public Schools. We also like the term limits on the tax increases as they will allow voters to repeal the increases if the school system does not improve as a result of additional funding. The YES vote won this proposition.
Proposition 31. Establishes a two-year state budget. Sets rules for offsetting new expenditures, and Governor budget cuts in fiscal emergencies. Local governments can alter application of laws governing state-funded programs.
We vote yes. The California State Legislature is hopelessly incompetent when it comes to passing the annual budget. This has the impact of creating funding uncertainties for local government along with the private industry that supports local government. The two year budget would ease the stress while providing local government and the Governor with opportunities to modify budget allocation from time to time as necessary. The NO VOTE won this proposition.
Proposition 32. Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.
We vote yes. We believe that the playing field for raising money for special interests should be level. Any law that advantages one group (in this case unions) over another group (in this case corporations) is inherently unfair. A yes voted means that unions and corporations could not use money deducted from an employee's paycheck for political purposes. The NO VOTE won this proposition.
Proposition 33. Auto Insurance companies. Changes current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on the driver's previously carried auto insurance with another company.
We vote yes. This will increase competition and create a free market economy for consumers to shop for auto insurance. Today, if you switch insurance carriers, the new insurance carrier is not able to provide a customer discount on insurance premiums based on the number of years in the previous five years that the customer was insured by someone else. This law will fix that inequity.
Proposition 34. Death Penalty. This proposition repeals the death penalty in California.
We vote yes. Our vote on this has less to do with the ethics of the death penalty and more to do with the financial issues related to the death penalty. Our flawed justice system has the result of making it more costly to apply the death penalty than it does to keep a prisoner in jail for life. If the application of the death penalty did not have such overbearing costs, we might vote otherwise, since the death sentence is often applied to the worst crimes. We do have fears that this will lead to increased violent crimes in prison. The NO VOTE won this proposition.
Proposition 35. Human Trafficking. This proposition treats human traffickers as sex offenders.
We vote No. This is a poorly written law that applies another body of laws (sex offender laws) against prostitues and the exploration of children alike. If the law excluded prostitutes, we would vote yes. Maxine Doogan, a prostitute, submitted a strong argument that she would be required to register as a sex offender if she uses proceeds from her erotic services work to support her child. If the law was limited to the exploitation of children, we would be all for it. The YES vote won this proposition.
Proposition 36. Three strikes law. This proposition is to modify the law to differentiate violent crimes from other felonies.
We vote Yes. Life in prison is a serious sentence. We agree that violent felony convictions are different from non-serious, non-violent felonies and should not carry the automatic Life in Prison sentence. This does not limit the judge from applying a sentence, but provides the judge to not be required to issue a life in prison sentence. The YES vote won this proposition.
Proposition 37. Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling. Requires that there be a label notifying consumers if it has been Genetically Modified.
We vote Yes. Duh. No explanation necessary. The NO VOTE won this proposition.
Proposition 38. Increases taxes to fund eduction and early childhood programs.
We vote No. We prefer the Proposition 30 above. The NO VOTE won this proposition.
Proposition 39. Tax treatment for Multistate Businesses. Requires multistate businesses to pay income taxes based upon the percentages of their sales in California.
We Vote No. Half of the money would be funneled into Clean energy and efficiency funding, which is a good thing - but the other half is non-qualified (slush fund for state government). Energy and efficiency funding is already provided by our gas tax, which ranks in the top three in the nation.
This is a poorly constructed proposition. California business tax is already very high. For years, the state has passed laws that have increased the cost of doing business in California and disadvantaged businesses based here, and that do business here. Today, California is ranked number 2 in the nation behind New York for the highest corporate tax rates. California needs to reduce tax rates on corporations to stimulate business growth and job growth. This tax will make it harder for businesses to compete, making an already big problem even bigger. The YES vote won this proposition.
Proposition 40. Redistricting State Senate Seats.
We Vote Yes. This one is funny. The State Supreme Court ruled that the districts be kept in place for 2012. No a No vote would be cancelled anyway because it is against the law. The ballot by petition signatures is required to be published anyway. Even if it looses, the Proposition will not be enacted. The YES vote won this proposition.