ELECTION 2012: What are the propositions?
This proposition is the result of a compromise between Gov. Jerry Brown and the organizers of the now defunct Millionaire’s Tax Initiative. It will increase taxes on personal incomes starting at $250,000 by one to three percent for seven years. It will also increase the sales tax by 0.25 percent for four years.
If passed, the state will receive an estimated $6 billion or more in revenue each year, which will be used for K-12 education and community colleges. If Proposition 30 passes, no further cuts will be made to education in the 2012-2013 school year. If it doesn’t pass, $6 billion in “trigger cuts” will affect the current school year.
Conflicts with Proposition 38. If both pass, the one with the greater number of votes will take effect.
There are several parts to this proposition.
The first is that the state budget would be decided every two years, instead of annually, and legislators will have to find sources of revenue for the bills they sponsor. The governor will also have the power to reduce spending during fiscal emergencies.
Another part is that it would give local governments more control over providing services that the state has traditionally overseen.
It would also reallocate certain tax revenues to those local governments providing state services but it will not increase any taxes.
This proposition would primarily prohibit unions from using money from employee paychecks for political purposes without their explicit permission. Estimates say it could cost the state up to $1 million or more annually to investigate violations. Reports say this measure is sponsored by a handful of politically conservative billionaires that are anti-union.
This proposition will allow car insurance companies to give customers a discount for being consistently insured, whether or not it’s with a different company, and they will also be able to charge more if a customer hasn’t been previously covered. There are a few exceptions, including people who were uninsured due to military service or unemployment.
A similar initiative was rejected by voters in 2010.
This proposition will end the death penalty in California and will replace it with life without the possibility of parole. The law will apply to people currently sentenced to death. Estimates say that the state would save around $100 million a year. There will also be $100 million set aside for grants to local law enforcement agencies to investigate rape and homicide cases.
Proposition 35 would increase the penalties of two types of human trafficking—sex trafficking and labor trafficking—as well as expand the definition of sex trafficking to include instances of creating or distributing child pornography. A maximum prison term for labor trafficking would be increased from five years to 12 years; a maximum prison term for sex trafficking would be increased from five years to 20 years; a maximum prison term for forcibly sex trafficking a minor would be increased from eight years to life in prison; the maximum fine for such crimes would increase from $100,000 to $1.5 million. Critics contend the proposition broadens the definition of pimping to include—and possibly place in legal jeopardy—parents, children, roommates, domestic partners and landlords of people convicted under the new law.
Proposition 36 would change the current Three Strikes law. Enacted in 1994, the current law mandates that a person convicted of a third felony, regardless of whether it was a violent or nonviolent crime, automatically faces life in prison. Only after 25 years are they eligible for parole. Prop 36 would eliminate that mandate for non-violent felony convictions and instead would impose a doubling of the normal sentence.
Proposition 37 would require retailers to label genetically engineered foods or foods with genetically engineered ingredients as such. It would exempt alcoholic beverages, medicines, food served at restaurants and meat from animals that were fed genetically engineered foods.
Proposition 38 would raise income taxes on most Californians for eleven years beginning in 2013. The tax hike would be progressive from 0.4 to 2.2 percent. The proposed increase is estimated to raise about $5 billion for the current fiscal year, $10 billion in 2013-2014 and upward in future years. 60 percent of revenue would go toward K-12 education, 30 percent of revenue would go toward repaying the state debt, and 10 percent of revenue would go toward early childhood education.
Beginning in 2018, the funding would shift–85 percent of revenue would go toward K-12 education and 15 percent of revenue would go toward early childhood education. If both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38 pass, then only the one with the most votes would pass. Even if Proposition 38 passes, $5.9 billion in automatic “trigger cuts” to education will still take place. The principal backer of this proposition is southern California civil rights attorney Molly Munger.
Proposition 39 would change the tax rate for multistate corporations that work in California. Corporations doing business in California and other states would have to pay the corporate tax rate on the proportion of sales made in California. The new tax would raise an expected $1 billion annually, with half of the revenue going toward a new state fund called the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund.
Proposition 40 would keep the current State Senate boundaries established by the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. If Proposition 40 fails, then new districts would be drawn by a panel of officials appointed by the California Supreme Court. California’s State Senate boundaries are revised every 10 years based on U.S. census results.
This would introduce a $79 per parcel tax that would raise an estimated $16 million annually for City College for eight years. It needs a two-thirds majority to pass. A parcel tax is a tax levied on real estate owners, in addition to normal property taxes. Without Proposition A and Proposition 30, City College will see its revenue decrease, leading to even more cuts.
This would create the Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing. It would receive $20 million from the city’s general fund in the first year, with increases built in over the next 30 years. The trust fund would be responsible for creating, acquiring and rehabilitating affordable housing and promoting affordable homeownership programs. It would also lower and stabilize the impacts of affordable housing regulatory impositions on private residential projects and authorize the development of up to 30,000 affordable rental units in San Francisco.
This will consolidate elections in San Francisco. Currently, the City Attorney and Treasurer are elected in between the elections for mayor, district attorney and sheriff. Instead of holding elections for these various positions every two years, they will all be elected during the same election cycle, every four years. It’s estimated to save the city around one million dollars annually.
This will phase out the 1.5 percent payroll tax that all businesses in San Francisco currently pay and will phase in a gross receipts tax that ranges from 0.075 percent to 0.65 percent for businesses that have more than $1 million in annual sales. It will also increase annual registration fees for businesses, which will range from $75 to $35,000. The thresholds and fees will be adjusted for inflation. It is estimated to generate an extra $28.5 million annually for the city.
This would allocate $8 million in funding to form a two-part plan to drain the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and find a suitable replacement. Currently the Hetch Hetchy reservoir provides 1.7 billion kilowatt hours a year of electric power to San Francisco, enough to power over 400,000 homes. San Francisco also receives approximately 85 percent of its potable water from the Hetch Hetchy system. According to the state’s estimates, San Francisco residents could expect to cover a $3 billion to $8 billion tab to replace the reservoir.
No new law will take effect by this proposition. It simply opposes the Citizens United ruling by the United States Supreme Court, which gave corporations the same free speech protections as human beings and gave corporations rights for political spending purposes. Opponents of Citizens United say it gives corporations the ability to unfairly influence elections through their spending power.