FR’s Recommendations on Ballot Measures

Jon Fleischman
Publisher of the FlashReport

The following are FlashReport.org’s recommendations on the eleven measures that will appear on the November ballot measures.  These positions were arrived at through discussion by the members of our editorial board.

PROPOSITION 30: NO
This proposition is a $50 billion sales and income tax increase on all Californians. This will further weaken an already fragile California economy and destroy more jobs in the Golden State. The Governor is trying to blackmail California’s taxpayers by holding education hostage and extorting these taxes despite the fact that the proposition does not guarantee net new funding for education. These taxes are simply not necessary as California has a spending problem and not a revenue problem. Rejecting this proposition will force Sacramento politicians to realign their priorities and successfully fund education.  We strongly recommend a no vote on Proposition 30.

PROPOSITION 31: NO
This measure is an overhaul of some parts of state government, and a radical change in how local governance occurs in California.  We are very concerned about the provisions buried in this lengthy proposal that would allow for the “regionalization” of local governance, creating new levels of government.  This measure would require government to promote, “…community equity” – whatever that means.  While some provisions in this initiative such as requiring state legislation to be in print for some time before it can be voted upon, and having to identify sources of funding for new spending are positives, the bad definitely outweighs the good here.  We recommend a no vote on Proposition 31.

PROPOSITION 32: YES
The vast amounts of money spent every election cycle by public employee unions have literally allowed them to purchase the California legislature.  Nothing happens in the Capitol without their approval.  This control has been used to enrich and empower public employees in this state to a level that can best be describes as both ludicrous and unfathomable.  If passed Prop. 32 would take away the ability of these unions to deduct money from their member paychecks for political purposes without their permission, which would reduce their influence significantly (and increase the influence of taxpayers).  We are also fans of the prohibition on those with government contracts being able to fund the campaigns of those that decide on their contracts.  We are not very excited about the ban on direct contributions from corporations and unions to candidate campaigns.  We strongly recommend a yes vote on Proposition 32.

PROPOSITION 33: YES
We believe that California voters made a mistake when they narrowly passed Proposition 103 in 1988, severely over-regulating the automobile insurance marketplace.  While Proposition 33 doesn’t really do much to change the status quo, it does contain a modest modification that we think makes sense.  Right now you can get a discount on your auto insurance if you have been with the same carrier for five years.  If Prop. 33 passes, it means that you would get the discount for being continuously insured for five years, whether you stay with one provider or change to another.  We recommend a yes vote on Proposition 33.

PROPOSITION 34: NO
Should Californians abolish the death penalty?  That is the question asked in this initiative.  Plainly put, we believe that a significant deterrence to someone taking the life of an innocent victim is the fear that, in doing so, they may forfeit their own life.  We believe that the current litigious system that has put the brakes on the practical application of the state’s death penalty is long-overdue for reform.  This measure is financially backed by those with a moral objection to the death penalty, which we can understand, even in disagreement.  We recommend a no vote on Proposition 34.

PROPOSITION 35: YES
This initiative would increase criminal penalties for human trafficking.  It also requires that anyone convicted of human trafficking must register as a sex offender.  The measure really has no opposition of which to speak.  We wonder why the proponent of this measure, former Facebook executive Chris Kelly, didn’t simply ask the legislature to pass this measure into law?  It’s hard to believe that it would not have passed unanimously and then been signed into law by the Governor.  We recommend a yes vote on Prop. 35.

PROPOSITION 36:  NO
We think that California’s “Three Strikes And You’re Out” sentencing provisions have been effective and reducing criminal activity in our state.  While this measure proposes what we consider to be a very modest modification to Three Strikes, we feel it materially weakens the policy.  This measure would require that the last felony for the third strike not be of a non-serious, non-violent offense.  Unfortunately that means that many serious crimes would no longer trigger the 25 years to life sentencing provision, including elder abuse, child abuse like to cause injury or deal, spouse abuse, arson, solicitation for murder, and more.  The measure, if passed would also allow close to 3,000 inmates currently serving third-strike sentences to seek a reduction in their terms.  We recommend a no vote on Proposition 36.

PROPOSITION 37: NO
You might as well just call this the “make our groceries cost a lot more” measure.  This measure would require the labeling of many foods as having been genetically modified.  Newsflash: most foods are modified this way – it’s called scientific advancement.  This measure’s proponents are primarily in the organic food business and see such a measure as beneficial to their bottom line.  But the biggest supporters of 37 are the trial lawyers, as this initiative is written in a way that will allow for an untold number of frivolous lawsuits all of which will drive up considerably the cost to put food on our tables.  We recommend a no vote on Proposition 37.

PROPOSITION 38: NO
This massive income tax increase was qualified and funded by billionaire heiress Molly Munger.  Although this massive tax hike is being sold more honestly than Prop 30, we still strenuously oppose any increase in taxes simply because California is already taxed enough. Tens of billions of dollars in additional taxes will only serve as more headwinds for California’s economy. Certainly education reform and better prioritization in Sacramento can provide education funding from existing revenue.  We recommend a no vote on Proposition 38.

PROPOSITION 39: NO
This ballot measure, placed on the ballot by a wealthy liberal Bay Area hedge fund manager, Tom Steyer, would raise business taxes by about a billion dollars a year on multi-state companies that do business in California.  These companies hire many people in our state, and provide our residents with goods and services.  We have no doubt that much of this additional tax burden will be passed along to California consumers, which is a bad thing.  Rather increase the tax burden on these companies, voters should demand that high taxes and burdensome regulation be reduced on California based-businesses.  We strongly recommend a no vote on Proposition 39.

PROPOSITION 40: NO
This “sour-grapes” measure was placed on the ballot after California Republicans were displeased with the State Senate lines drawn by the independent redistricting commission. A “Yes” vote upholds the lines, while a “No” vote sends the lines back to the courts. Proposition 40 will undoubtedly pass on Tuesday. Nevertheless, we recommend a “no” vote to draw greater attention to the flaws and problems with California’s redistricting commission. Our friends at CalWatchdog.com along with the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at ProPublica revealed several examples of how political operatives gamed the redistricting commission. Several redistricting commissioners, who were supposed to be independent, contributed to political campaigns, a fact that was never disclosed to the commission. Many of our state’s problems are caused by half-baked initiatives.  Our “no” vote is intended to send a message that California must fix the commission’s flaws.

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