A mixed bag of state propositions
Proposition 19 would legalize the possession and transport of an ounce of marijuana, as well as the cultivation of cannabis on up to 25 square feet per private residence. Local governments would have the option to regulate any related commercial sales and, as with any business, those activities would be subject to applicable sales and other taxes and fees. According to the FBI, 60 percent of drug cartel revenue comes from illegal marijuana sales in the United States. And in 2008, more than 61,000 Californians were arrested for possession of less than an ounce of pot. Combine the law enforcement time and money savings with the Board of Equalization’s estimated $1.4 billion in tax revenue for the state, and it’s clear from a crime and money standpoint that Proposition 19 makes sense, economically and morally. Criticism that the measure is not well crafted are valid, but it allows for amendment by the Legisl michael kors outlet online ature to address any issues that arise. And while recent passage of a law making marijuana possession a mere michael kors outlet online infraction (like a traffic ticket) in California accomplishes the decriminalization part of Proposition 19, it doesn’t achieve the full effects of legalization, including tax revenue generation.
Proposition 27: NoPropositions 20 and 27 are about how state and federal legislative districts in California should be drawn up by a bipartisan independent panel or by incumbent politicians. Voting districts are redrawn after every 10 year census.
But Proposition 11 didn’t affect the lines of congressional districts and Proposition 20 seeks to bring those under the purview of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, as well. congressional districting.
It’s no brilliant political insight to suggest that it’s probably not the best idea to have legislators influencing their own district’s boundaries or those of their fellow party members.
Proposition 21: Yes
Establishes $18 annual vehicle license fee to help fund state parks and wildlife programs.
California’s state parks are the frequent target of funding cuts and last year park goers felt it in a big way: as 150 of our 246 state operated parks suffered deep reductions in services and hours of operation. This $18 vehicle registration “surcharge” would create about $500 million in revenue for the parks. Of that amount, 85 percent would go to park operations and most of the rest toward wildlife protection programs. In return, all registered vehicles would receive free daytime parking at all state parks.
Proposition 22: Yes
Prohibits the state from diverting funds intended for transportation, redevelopment or local government projects.
In its farcical triage of annual budget balancing decisions, California often shifts funds away from their intended local targets to help pay for things the state deems more pressing. For instance, cities’ transportation and redevelopment project funds have been unilaterally raided during fiscal crises to help meet other state budget needs. Proposition 22, among other things, would eliminate the state’s ability to use fuel tax revenue for non transportation purposes, and prohibit the state from borrowing local property tax funds to pay for schools. While we don’t like the trend toward protecting an ever growing list of services from cuts through ballot initiatives, we also object to the Legislature seizing local funds instead of legitimately balancing the state budget through tax increases or reducing expenses.
Proposition 23: No, No, No!
Suspends air pollution control law AB 32 until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent for a full year.
What do the companies Valero Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Tesoro Corp., Tower Energy Group and World Oil Corporation all have in common?
They’re all big oil companies based in Texas.
And they’ve all donated more than $100,000 to put California’s Proposition 23 on the ballot.
The oil companies are calling it the “California jobs initiative,” but Proposition 23 should more accurately be called the “Kill AB 32 initiative” suspension of that 2006 legislation until state unemployment drops to a very low 5.5 percent would likely keep the global warming bill in limbo for years, if not decades, or forever. AB 32, the “California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006,” was enacted four years ago and established the target of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, through stiffer rules and regulations for the energy industry. California is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse michael kors outlet online gases in the world, and AB 32 is estimated to reduce our GHG in the next decade by 30 percent.
That Valero Energy, the initiative’s biggest funder, has one of the worst environmental records in the state should come as no surprise. Cleaning up its act by 2020 will not be easy on the bottom line. Proponents of Proposition 23 argue that such regulations as those called for by AB 32 would drive industry out of the state resulting in lost jobs. Opponents counter that the evidence suggests the opposite: that not only is the job loss exaggerated but the gain in green jobs would more than make up the difference.
To us, such a negligible short term move could have disastrous long term consequences to California’s environment and the health of its citizens as well as its economic future in green technology, a particular interest of Silicon Valley.
Proposition 24: Yes
Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability.
The Tax Fairness Act, as it’s called by its supporters, is a response to a deal cut during the 2008 09 budget impasse in order to win enough Republican votes to pass a state budget. The deal did three things: It increased the flexibility with which companies can use net operating losses to reduce taxes; it allowed for multi state businesses to determine their California taxes based solely on sales in the state (previously, sales, payroll and property value were all factors); and it allowed unitary groups to transfer tax credits amongst the separate businesses within the group. Essentially, all three provisions result in lower taxes for large companies operating in the state all to the tun michael kors outlet online e, according to the Legislative Analyst, of $1.3 billion a year when the new rules are fully implemented in 2012. Proposition 24 proponents argue that the deal should never have taken place to begin with and that by repealing the legislation $1.3 billion would go back into the state’s general fund (and under Proposition 98 guidelines, a significant part of that would go toward education).