This November, voters in California will have a cluttered ballot to comb through. Once they get past the presidential race, they’re going to have to read and interpret eleven different ballot initiatives. Tax increases, budget reform, death penalty, three strikes, and genetically-altered food are just a few of the complicated issues on the ballot.
Proposition 32, in particular, deserves a close look and consideration from voters. It would ban corporate and union contributions to state and local politicians, ban automatic payroll deductions for political spending by unions and corporations, and ban government contractors from giving to politicians overseeing their contracts.
These three reforms take aim at one of the biggest problems facing California – special interest control of Sacramento and politicians across the state. The overwhelming influence of public employee unions and big corporations has resulted in a political system that fails to deliver results for the rest of California.
Small businesses make up 99.2 percent of all businesses and create two-thirds of all net new jobs. They represent the majority of job creators and contributors to our economy but more often than not are dismissed and even flat-out ignored by politicians beholden to the influence of Big Labor and Big Corporations.
Here’s why. According to Maplight.org, in the 2010 election cycle, 79% of campaign contributions made to California’s legislators came from donors who live outside their districts.
That’s why legislators work for the well-funded special interests that fund their campaigns, not the small business owners or the entrepreneurs that drive the economy and put people to work within their districts.
It’s time for that to change. Prop 32 offers voters an opportunity to force their elected officials to represent and address their interests, their needs, their challenges. It cuts that money tie – returning power back to the voters. That’s why NFIB/California was proud to join Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) California, Citizens for California Reform, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and a growing grassroots coalition of voters, taxpayers, and small businesses in support of Prop 32 this week.
Special interests are already flexing their political muscles in opposition. They’re going to do everything they can to distract voters from what Prop 32 actually does. That means they’ll spend millions of dollars to scare voters into voting no. Don’t fall for it.
Prop 32 isn’t riddled with “special exemptions” – it goes as far as the Constitution allows, mirrored after the long-standing federal ban on corporate and union giving. It doesn’t “silence workers” – it simply gives employees ownership over their own money and a clear say in whether it should go to political purposes. If you’ve earned it, doesn’t it make sense that you ought to have the final say in how it’s spent?
Take a close look this November, voters. Prop 32’s reforms are meaningful and applied fairly to the most powerful special interests in California. If you’re as frustrated as the rest of us with about how our state has been governed, then voting Yes on Prop 32 is a big step in the right direction.