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I’ve spent 5 minutes studying the 11 propositions on the November state ballot. I’m sure that’s more time than the average voter will spend on them, and way more than the legions of voters who will not even vote, so let’s cut to the chase on my analysis:
30 – Temporary state tax hike to increase revenue in hope of dealing with the perpetual state budget deficit. People making more than $250,000 a year would see their state income tax go up for 7 years, and we all would see the state sales tax go up by ¼% for 5 years. Something needs to be done about this state budget problem, and we probably cannot just cut our way out of this mess. It’s worth a try, especially since it sticks it to high earners. Yes.
31 – Changes the state budget process to a 2 year cycle and allows local governments to request to run some state programs. This seems like something a policy wonk might want to study. That’s not me. It’s too complex. Besides, haven’t we seen enough of “local control” to know it does not work either? No.
32 – This is about one group of special interests (conservative Republicans) trying to cripple the ability of another group of special interests (public sector unions) to influence legislators and thus legislation and public policy. Would the resultant uneven playing field be better or worse than the current situation? I think worse, and major newspapers like the Orange County Register, LA Times and Sacramento Bee seems to agree. No. on 32
33- Auto Insurance Prices – Considering the insurance history of drivers when setting insurance prices seems logical to me. Yes on 33.
34 – Yet another try to eliminate the death penalty in California for certain crimes. Go ahead, make my day. But in the meantime, No on 34.
35 –Cracks down on human traffickers including requiring those convicted to register as sex offenders. Might be better if it required the Orange County Human Relations Commission to better define what a hate crime is and is not. Seems like a solution in search of a problem. No.
36 – Modifies California’s three strikes law to move toward assuring that a strike must be serious or violent. Stealing a pizza would apparently no longer result in a strike-three life sentence. With our prisons and jails over crowded, this one seems to make sense. Yes on 36.
37 – Genetically engineered foods must be labeled as such and cannot be marketed as “natural”. I wonder if they could be marketed as “unnatural”. This smacks of a nanny state proposal that NY Mayor Bloomberg would like, but I don’t. Besides, who reads labels anyway? No. on 37.
38 – This one competes with 30. It would raise taxes specifically for public education. Yet another proposal to build a fence around tax revenue so it must be spent on only a specified program, whether it is needed or not. 30 makes more sense. No on this one.
39 – Seems to close a state income tax loophole by requiring businesses to pay income taxes on income from sales made in California. Sounds logical. Yes on 39.
40 – Yet another attempt to modify the process in California that is used to figure out the boundaries of political districts. This time the California Supreme Court would appoint people to do it. We keep seeing ballot proposals to deal with political district boundaries. Must be the last one we voters approved is not liked by someone. That has to be good. No. on 40.
It’s only early October, so I reserve the right to change my mind on any of these Propositions. But for now, at least this provides some early critical thinking.