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Journal of No. 118

October 9th, 2012

Tackling the CA propositions @ 04:58 pm

Ok, let's hop to it.

Prop 30: This is governor Brown's preferred plan to raise the state sales tax, and raise state taxes on those making more than $250K in order to pay for schools.

Prop 38: This is the competing measure that provides a similar amount of money for schools, but raises it all through a progressive income tax increases that starts at people making $7,300.

If both pass, the one with more votes wins. If neither passes, schools will lose $5 billion and change. But which one's better?

Hard for me to call. I like that 38 spreads the pain a little more equitably for something we all have a stake in. But 38 also comes with lots of fiddly bits about how the money's to be spent that seems a little micro-manag-y. 30 offers more flexibility on how it should be spent, but on the other hand, that includes the flexibility for the state to spend a lot of the money raised on non-school things. On the gripping hand, the state could use more flexibility in how it juggles the general fund in this time of crisis.

Verdict: I lean toward 38, but it's a narrow thing. Besides, who'm I kidding? How many Californians will vote to raise their own taxes?

Prop 31: Jiggers all sorts of shit in state government.

Verdict: No way. This thing is way too complex and just smells of unintended consequences. If for no other reason, vote against this because it creates entire new bureaucracies that do nothing but prepare oversight and evaluation reports.

Prop 32: You won't get this impression from its supporters, but this is a direct, naked, blatant attack on unions. Yes, unions use dues for political purposes. That's part of the raison d'etre for unions. Saying that this measure applies to both "unions and corporations" is just laughable. Part of the raison d'etre of corporations is to make money. They don't need to charge 'dues' of their employees to get money to spend on political campaigns.

Verdict: No.

Prop 33: The main effect is to allow competing insurers to offer a discount based on how long you've had continuous auto insurance. I see this as making the market more competitive, which should benefit consumers. Yes, it's bankrolled by Mercury Insurance... because they want a chance to sell you insurance and compete with your current insurer. If they can then beat your current deal, you save money and they make money. Just as the invisible hand intended. The similar Prop 17 failed in 2010. The main bugaboo seems to be that insurers will be able to raise rates for people with an 'unexcused' lapse in auto coverage.

Verdict: Yes.

Prop 34: Eliminates the death penalty; resentences existing death row inmates to life without the possibility of parole. In the short-term, it redirects the expected savings to law enforcement; in the long run, it just saves money for the state.

Verdict: I don't support the death penalty, so I vote Yes.

Prop 35: Won't somebody think of the children? Increases penalties and changes some definitions relating to human trafficking (including making it human trafficking to distribute kiddie porn, even if you never had any contact with the kid).
An important consideration is that "Currently, human trafficking cases are often prosecuted under federal law, rather than CA state alaw, even when CA law enforcement agencies are involved ... because these types of crimes often involve multiple jurisdictions and also because of the federal government's historical lead role in such cases."

Verdict: As much as I dislike human trafficking and kiddie porn, I really don't think this is necessary.

Prop 36: Changes the Three Strikes Law so that the life sentence only applies if the 'third strike' was 'serious or violent'.

Verdict: Yes.

Prop 37: Requires labelling for many kinds of GM foods and food ingredients. In general, I think people should have information to make choices, but this time I'm going to go against that for two reasons:

#1: actually monitoring and enforcing this will be both expensive and ineffective.
#2: there is no actual benefit. Or put another way, there are no dangers to eating GM food. There are legitimate questions about whether it is wise to use GMOs due to loss of diversity and dangers of specific pests, etc. But this proposed law says nothing about that.

Verdict: No.

Prop 39: Reduces corporate flexibility for multistate corporations in determining the taxes they owe the state. Thus, raises taxes on some multistate corporations. Earmarks half the increased taxes on alternative energy projects.

Verdict: Not thrilled about this, but... yes?

Prop 40: I hated the props that made the 'citizen' committees for redrawing districts. But you all voted for them. So you can't complain that now you have to vote on the redistricting plan the committee came up with. So go use your citizen power to look over the new district maps, and decide whether they're fair. Yay, we've replaced a committee of elected officials with an committee of unelected nonofficials. And now we the people are going to rubber stamp their work, because not one in a hundred citizens is going to actually look at those maps, and not one in ten-thousand would be able to render any useful judgment. Yay, direct democracy.

Verdict: Yes, because if it doesn't pass, we'll waste more time and money redrawing the lines again.
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[User Picture Icon]
Date:October 10th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
you have an open bold tag after prop 40
[User Picture Icon]
Date:October 10th, 2012 03:26 am (UTC)
I'm worried that with 30 and 38 both on the ballot, there may be a sizable chunk of people who will vote no on one or the other, though they support the general principals of both. Given that a sizable chunk of people will vote no on both, I am inclined to vote yes on both just so they don't both go down due to a split vote.

Overall, I pretty much agree with your reasoning. 39 has a lot of possibility for unintended consequences (companies with small presences in CA bugging out being the most likely), but the way the tax code is structured now is nonsensical with Nevada next door as a tax haven for corporations. Don't like earmarking the money, though.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:October 11th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
I'm going to do the same re: 30 and 38. Regardless of which one I prefer, I want one of the two to pass, so I'm voting for both.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:October 10th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
If you're torn between 30 and 38, I'd recommend 30 instead. Personally, I'm voting against both, but the educators unions are strongly behind 30 and opposed to 38, largely because 38 is poorly written to the point where it both ties the legislatures hands and doesn't assure that the additional income generated will actually go to education.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:October 12th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
Prop 38 gives all the money to K through 12. None for higher education.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:October 12th, 2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... good call. Thanks.

Prop 30 "allocates temporary tax revenues 89% to K–12 schools and 11% to community colleges."

That might push me the other way.

Journal of No. 118