Procrastination (But I Digress)

Monday, October 29, 2012

California Propositions 2012

Well I have reviewed the materials, I've listened to public radio's analysis (of most of them) and I've seen a bunch of commercials, so I am ready to make my analysis of the current flood of propositions.

30 is a sales tax increase put forth by Governer Brown.  He's a dem.  A big one.  I like him a lot.  He's 70 years old and returns to State Government after years.  I have to admire his willingness to serve such a thankless job.  He wants to increase the sales tax.  I hate how high the sales tax is.  Everytime I buy something and it rings up so much more at the register, I grimis.  But I admire Brown's efforts and I want to support them.  The ads say that all of the money will go to education.  I don't believe it for a minute.  100% of the money from the lottery goes to education too, so the state just took the general funds that went to education in the same amount funded by the lottery to spend on other things.  That bait and switch is just not true.  On the other hand, if the revenues from the general fund continue to go down, the lottery money and this new increase can't be taken away from the schools, that works for me.  All in all--I hate new taxes, but I'm willing to give this to Brown because I want to support him.  I'm just going to get my Christmas shopping done this week instead of after the election.

31 is making the state budget an every two year event.  Somehow it takes money away from the state and gives it to the local governments.  I don't get this one.  Our current system is bad, but I need a better explanation as to how this will help. 

32 is hotly contested.  I see the most commercials for this one.  I understand that union members who disagree with the union endorsed candidate don't want their union dues to go for that candidate.  The California State Bar can no longer endorse candidates or issues with our dues, because some enterprising attorneys almost dismantled the state bar over the issue years ago.  On the other hand, I wholly support unions and the only way to keep them strong is to make sure they have a political voice.  I'm going to have to vote no on this one. 

33 is also a tricky one.  The commercials tout that good drivers will pay less for auto insurance.  I consider myself to be a very good driver (don't we all--so naturally the commercial hits a cord), but in fact I have made two insurance claims (I hit a pole--it came out of nowhere).  I saw just one commercial that said this is the same proposition that insurance companies tried to pass a few years back, which would make affordable car insurance very hard to find for new drivers and the poor.  I'm going to stick with the status quo on this one and vote no.

34 repeals the death penalty.  I don't know if I blogged about going to a death penalty phase trial as a field trip for my Introduction to Law class.  The defendant was the scum of the earth and I would gladly pull the plug on that guy.  However, I am firmly and without reservation opposed to the death penalty.  Saving 2 billion dollars is icing on the cake.

35 increases prison sentences for human trafficers and forces them to register as sex offenders.  Soroptomists is very committed to fighting human trafficing--it is a tragedy.  However, this law goes too far.  Registering as a sex offender is for child molesters that behavorial scientists tell us cannot be cured.  I don't think that the punishment fits the crime here.  More jail time.  Absolutely.  But register as sex offenders?  They've lost me.

36 third stike (in our current three strikes, life imprisionment) must be for a serious or violent offense.  I thought this was already the law, so this is a big Yes.

37 requires labeling on genetically altered foods.  The commercials against this are scientists who say, there's no evidence that genetically altered foods pose any risk to the consumer and the law has illogical exceptions.  I'm with science on this one and it will greatly increase the transactional costs for food--higher prices passed onto me.  No thanks.  I'm good with processed food--the less I know about how sausage is made, the better.

38 is a big, big, big tax increase on the weathly to fund schools in a big, big, big way.  Smaller classrooms, more arts and science, more money to community colleges.  I agree that we need to increase funding for schools.   But the tax increase on the wealthy person making more than 2 million dollars a year is $76,000.  That is a lot of money.  I don't think that I can in good conscience force a wealthy person to pay so much more, just for schools.  We know that their kids don't go to public schools.  I'd like to vote yes, but I will probably vote no.  It's just too much.

39  The commercials for it say that California corporations are not paying their taxes and are hiring people out of state.  In fact this looks a like they want to charge Amazon California sales tax based upon their sales to people in the state of California.  I don't know how the proponents think that is going to bring jobs into the state, but that's the claim.  I'd like us to have bigger revenues, but they are mixing in how the money will be spent.  I'm just not understanding this one, so that's a no.

40  a yes confirms the new redistricting (that has pit two awesome democrate candidates against each other, boo hoo) and a no rejects it, but lets the California Supreme Court decide.  Well it seems that this was proposed when the conservatives thought they wouldn't like the redistrict plan and now they do, so no one has written an opposition for this one.  The conservative California Supreme Court is not likely to do anything different is my take.  Yawn.

Los Angeles County has a few more measures on the ballot:

A should the county assessor be appointed rather than elected (since we have a county assessor in jail for taking bribes to lower property taxes in exchange for campaign contributions)

B  should adult film makers have a bunch of additional regulations.  The con argument makes a good point, if you make it harder to make films legally, then more films will be made illegally with no regulations at all. 

J  This measure increases transit funding.  The commercials for this one say that it will increase jobs.  The against statement says it is the same funding for the same projects that we already have, but that they want to extend the length of the tax increase and dedicated funds for 30 years as opposed to the current 5 years.  I have a very long commute and have started to take the train several days a week.  I think that the measure is misleading, but bottem line, I want to support transit.  I'm just selfish that way.

And of course Obama all the way!