California Election Propositions November 2016 .pdf

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CALIFORNIA ELECTION PROPOSITIONS – NOVEMBER 8, 2016
Title

Subject

Description

VOTE

Proposition 51

Education

$9 billion in bonds for education and schools

NO

Proposition 52

Healthcare

Voter approval of changes to the hospital fee program

YES

Proposition 53

Elections/Bonds

Projects that cost more than $2 billion

YES

Proposition 54

Accountability

Conditions under which legislative bills can be passed

YES

Proposition 55

Taxes

Extension of personal income tax on incomes over $250,000

YES

Proposition 56

Tobacco

Increase the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack

NO

Proposition 57

Trials

Felons convicted of non-violent crimes and juvenile trials

NO

Proposition 58

Education

Bilingual education in public schools

YES

Proposition 59

Campaign finance

State's position on Citizens United v. Fed. Election Commission

YES

Proposition 60

Movies

Require the use of condoms in pornographic films

NO

Proposition 61

Healthcare

Prescription drug price regulations

NO

Proposition 62

Death penalty

Repeal the death penalty

YES

Proposition 63

Firearms

Background checks for ammunition purchases

NO

Proposition 64

Marijuana

Legalization of marijuana and hemp

YES

Proposition 65

Environment

Grocery and retail carry-out bags

NO

Proposition 66

Death penalty

Death penalty procedures

NO

Proposition 67

Business reg.

Prohibition on plastic single-use carryout bags

YES

PROP
51

PROP
52

PROP
53

PROP
54

PROP
55

PROP
56

NO

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

PROP
57

PROP
58

PROP
59

PROP
60

PROP
61

PROP
62

NO

YES

YES

NO

NO

YES

PROP
63

PROP
64

PROP
65

PROP
66

PROP
67

NO

YES

NO

NO

YES

Resources:




































https://ballotpedia.org/California_2016_ballot_propositions
http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/propositions/
http://www.politicususa.com/2016/04/18/california-crisis-spend-budget-surpluses-democrats-voted.html
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article86302827.html
http://www.breitbart.com/california/2016/07/01/cal-gov-brown-signs-125-billion-budget-without-single-veto/
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-california-pass-budget-20160615-snap-story.html
https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/initiatives/pdfs/15-0003%20(Bond-funded%20Projects%20V2).pdf
http://stopblankchecks.com/in-case-you-missed-it-maury-hannigan-proposition-53-will-bring-transparency-tomegaprojects/
http://stopblankchecks.com/wp-content/uploads/7.12.16-Myth-vs-Fact.pdf
https://ballotpedia.org/Charles_Munger,_Jr.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway
http://hollowverse.com/warren-buffett/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cigarette_taxes_in_the_United_States
http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-war-statistics
http://www.marijuanalawyerblog.com/2015/12/how-many-federal-prisoners-are-in-prison-due-to-cannabis.html
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/LegalizationNation/archives/2016/07/07/felony-marijuana-arrests-drop-incalifornia
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/08/18/california-arrested-nearly-half-a-million-people-forpot-over-the-past-decade/
http://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/ballot-measures/pdf/sb-1174-chapter-753.pdf
http://www.wolf-pac.com/
https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_64,_Marijuana_Legalization_(2016)
http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/propositions/64/arguments-rebuttals.htm
http://moneymorning.com/2016/10/24/behind-the-initiative-for-marijuana-legalization-in-california-prop-64/
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sdut-marijuana-legalization-opposition-2016jul15story.html
http://www.infoplease.com/us/census/data/california/demographic.html
http://thehill.com/regulation/transportation/279355-aaa-pot-related-traffic-deaths-a-concern
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-us-state-where-road-fatalities-have-plummeted-sincemarijuana-was-legalised-10499069.html
http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2014/dec/15/charles-chuck-spahos/drugged-driving-claim-base/
http://www.denverpost.com/2016/01/19/colorado-sees-deadliest-year-of-traffic-fatalities-since-2008/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/08/05/since-marijuana-legalization-highwayfatalities-in-colorado-are-at-near-historic-lows/
http://www.livescience.com/54693-high-drivers-double-after-marijuana-legalization.html
http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/unpacking-pots-impact-in-colorado/
http://pages.uoregon.edu/bchansen/MML_Alcohol_Consumption.pdf
http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/668812?journalCode=jle
http://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/8009-congressman-tom-mcclintockcomments-on-california-ballot-propositions
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/30/england-plastic-bag-usage-drops-85-per-cent-since-5pcharged-introduced

Proposition 51

$9 billion in bonds for education and schools

Authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds for new construction and modernization of K-12
public school facilities; charter schools and vocational education facilities; and California
Community Colleges facilities. Fiscal Impact: State costs of about $17.6 billion to pay off both
the principal ($9 billion) and interest ($8.6 billion) on the bonds. Payments of about $500 million
per year for 35 years.
Governor Brown opposes this proposition:
"I am against the developers' $9-billion bond. It's a blunderbuss effort that promotes
sprawl and squanders money that would be far better spent in low-income communities."
Proposition 51 was written and sponsored by construction companies to benefit construction
companies by providing $9 billion in state spending from which they could profit.
Funds would be stored in a 2016 State School Facilities Fund and a 2016 California Community
College Capital Outlay Bond Fund. Proceeds would be allocated for the following purposes:


$3 billion for the construction of new school facilities;



$500 million for providing school facilities for charter schools;



$3 billion for the modernization of school facilities;



$500 million for providing facilities for career technical education programs; and



$2 billion for acquiring, constructing, renovating, and equipping community college
facilities.

California just experienced a budget surplus of over $3.5 billion. We added $3.3 billion ($2
billion more than the mandated $1.3 billion) to California's rainy day fund. We paid a $3 billion
bond fund. We are clearly at the crest of our economy and the money is flowing. We're also
due a downtrend, both in economic strength and revenue. The increased spending present in
the 2016 budget - a record $171 billion, up 5.5% from last year, and 42% higher than 5 years
ago, is unwise and described as unsustainable by many. We should not compound the
additional spending with a large bond issue which would end up costing us almost double
($17.8 billion in total repayments over 35 years). Why pass on more debt to the next
generation?
How critical is this vote? I rate a 5/10. Historically funding education has shown good return on
investment. The state can find the money, and/or afford the debt. Nonetheless, I must vote for
fiscal responsibility. We just approved an additional $9 billion in additional spending with an
inflated budget. If $9 billion was needed, that's where it could've been found.

NO to more debt.

Proposition 52

Voter approval of changes to the hospital fee program

Extends indefinitely an existing statute that imposes fees on hospitals to fund Medi-Cal health
care services, care for uninsured patients, and children’s health coverage. Fiscal Impact:
Uncertain fiscal effect, ranging from relatively little impact to annual state General Fund savings
of around $1 billion and increased funding for public hospitals in the low hundreds of millions of
dollars annually.
This is a rare instance where a proposition is approved by the Democratic Party, the Republican
Party, and the Green Party. The opposition changed their position from opposed to neutral. The
argument against this proposition is mostly that hospitals are given flexibility as to how these
federal funds are spent, and that it could be pushed to the CEO. Hospitals already have such
control and this proposition makes no change in that respect.
All this proposition DOES do is make it harder for the legislature to change, extend or eliminate
the hospital fee, pushing the majority vote requirement to a 2/3rds majority (a supermajority).
California will continue to receive federal Medicaid funds of approximately $2 billion per year,
and an additional almost $1 billion which has historically been put towards the state's general
fund. I'd rather not see that general fund pinch, but first and foremost the priority should be to
continue federal funds.
California is one of a minority of states that pays more to the federal government than it receives
in return. So I support this program continuing to limit that shortfall by ensuring the state
continues to receive this federal Medicaid matching contribution.

YES to continuing to recoup some of the money our state gives to the federal government.

Proposition 53

Projects that cost more than $2 billion

Requires statewide voter approval before any revenue bonds can be issued or sold by the state
for certain projects if the bond amount exceeds $2 billion. Fiscal Impact: State and local fiscal
effects are unknown and would depend on which projects are affected by the measure and what
actions government agencies and voters take in response to the measure's voting requirement.
California issues two types of bond: 1) general obligation funds, that already require voter
approval to be issued; and, 2) revenue bonds that currently do not require voter approval, such
as a new highway, paid for by introduction of higher taxes, rates, toll fees, rents, and other
non-bond streams of revenue. This proposition would mandate that revenue bonds exceeding
$2 billion (indexed to inflation) ALSO requires voter approval. While few projects would reach
this level of cost to make this proposition relevant, two possible examples would be: 1) the
proposed tunnels to move water through the Sacramento to San Joaquin River Delta ($17 billion
price tag); and, 2) California's High-Speed Rail (Governor Brown's pet project, with a multibillion dollar cost increase).
Given the second example above, it comes as no surprise that this proposition is opposed by
Governor Brown. It is also opposed by the Democratic Party (likely in support of its Governor)
and the Green Party of California. The proposition is approved by the Republican Party, likely
on the grounds of state fiscal responsibility and accountability to the voters, as well as the
Libertarian Party of California and almost two dozen city, county and district taxpayer
associations. The vast majority of prominent state newspapers also oppose the measure.
The campaigns attempting to sway voters on this proposition disagree as to whether local
projects and natural disaster response projects are exempted. Having read the actual text of
the bill, there is no such exemption. However, it is true that revenue bonds are not used to fund
disaster response, which typically comes from disaster recovery aid provided by the Federal
government. FEMA also have a Public Assistance Grant Program which provides supplemental
federal assistance. So, even though the Federal government may not work as smoothly or
efficiently as the state would prefer in times of a disaster (as we've seen in modern times), this
provision would NOT affect disaster recovery in the manner portrayed by the opposition
campaign.
Too often projects are claimed to run at a low costs, and then once approved those costs can
balloon. This provision will encourage lawmakers and politicians to provide realistic estimates
from the offset. Local control is NOT effected, but the taxpayers at large are provided more
responsible over projects they must pay for, be it through tolls or higher taxes.

YES on, as it is being framed, stopping blank checks.

Proposition 54

Conditions under which legislative bills can be passed

Prohibits Legislature from passing any bill unless published on Internet for 72 hours before vote.
Requires Legislature to record its proceedings and post on Internet. Authorizes use of
recordings. Fiscal Impact: One-time costs of $1 million to $2 million and ongoing costs of about
$1 million annually to record legislative meetings and make videos of those meetings available
on the Internet.
A curious provision indeed. Opposed by the Democratic Party, and approved by the Republican
Party, and Green and Libertarian Parties of California. This bill does exactly as the short
summary above describes, as well as expanding the recording of public meetings, and opening
recording to anyone and everyone (except for closed sessions). The vast majority of prominent
state newspapers also support the measure. Opposition beyond the Democratic Party is slim at
most, and with arguments that don't survive scrutiny. Costs may be slightly increased (up to $1
million per year), but increased government transparency and accountability is about the best
rationalization for increased costs I know.
Arguably the biggest benefit of this proposition was accurately described by the Orange County
Register as follows:
"It would squeeze much of the secrecy out of the Legislature, especially those bills that
have their contents replaced wholesale by something unrelated to the original subject –
an insidious process known as 'gut-and-amend' – and then get voted on before the
public, or even legislators, can react. The idea that bills should be available for study for
three days before they’re put to a vote in either house is one this Editorial Board has
long advocated."
The only sense of trouble is the accusation that this proposition would serve the interests of the
billionaire funding the initiative. It is true that billionaire Charles T. Munger Jr. ("Charles"),
active in local Republican politics, bankrolled 99.9% of the total contributions in support of this
proposition. So who is Charles? Charles is an experimental physicist at the Stanford Linear
Accelerator Center, who also advocates in California ballot proposition politics. He is the son of
billionaire Charles Munger—vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway is the
well-known multinational conglomerate holding company headed by Warren Buffett - a lifelong
Democrat, friend of Obama, and history most prolific philanthropist, yet this proposition is
opposed by the Democratic Party. I see no obvious benefit to Charles, or Berkshire Hathaway,
in the increased transparency of state government other than the social justice it provides.

YES on greater state government transparency and accountability.

Proposition 55

Extension of personal income tax on incomes over $250,000

Extends by twelve years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on
earnings over $250,000, with revenues allocated to K–12 schools, California Community
Colleges, and, in certain years, healthcare. Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues—$4 billion
to $9 billion annually from 2019–2030—depending on economy and stock market. Increased
funding for schools, community colleges, health care for low–income people, budget reserves,
and debt payments.
Another simple provision, supported by the Democratic Party and Green Party of California, and
opposed by the Republican Party and Libertarian Party of California. I wrote that before
checking. Yep, that obvious.
The tax increases this proposition extends has reaped on average an extra $6 billion in state tax
revenue, which has helped balance the budget and provide a surplus. The revenue is allocated
89% to K-12 schools, and 11% to California Community Colleges, allocates up to $2 billion per
year in certain years for healthcare programs, and bars use of education revenues for
administrative costs. The tax increases have been a success by every measure, except possibly
in the position of the wealthiest 1.5% of Californians (single income filing of at least $263,000 or
a joint income filing of at least $526,000) affected by increased taxes. Prominent state
newspapers are split on the measure.
The main opposition seems to stem from this being a broken promise. The original 2012
proposition was approved by voters on the understanding these tax increases for the wealthy
would be temporary. That is a fair point. Now ask yourself if they were not promised to be
temporary, what effect that would have had on the vote. I suspect at most it would've made
between a 0%-1.5% difference, with the majority of changed votes obviously coming from those
directly taxed (as well as those deluded by dreams of ending in that income category).
When Obama opted to make Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, I don't recall the public
having a referendum on whether to accept the breaking of a promise to all 300+ million of us.
Likewise, the applicable lifetime exclusion amount (to avoid 'death taxes') was to revert to $1
million in 2011 but Obama increased the amount to $5.5 million, the highest discussed in any
negotiations, AND indexed it to inflation. The public likewise did not get a vote then. So it
seems broken promises are only a problem when the wealth get taxed more, rather than are
allowed to escape tax. I will shed a tear for them. Tax the wealthy - they already have the finest
planners and CPA's to avoid tax they should be paying. This helps address the state's losses in
that respect.
Approving this proposition also makes it easier to reject Proposition 51, which would send
funds, in part, to the same recipients - California community colleges.

YES on the wealthiest among us continuing to pay more of their fair share.

Proposition 56

Increase the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack

Increases cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack, with equivalent increase on other tobacco products
and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. Fiscal Impact: Additional net state revenue of $1
billion to $1.4 billion in 2017–18, with potentially lower revenues in future years. Revenues
would be used primarily to augment spending on health care for low–income Californians.
Predictably, supported by the Democratic Party and Green Party of California, and opposed by
the Republican Party and Libertarian Party of California. Prominent state newspapers are nearunanimously in support of the proposition.
The cost of smoking is already quite ridiculous. An increase in taxation does reduce the number
of smokers. When Wisconsin, for example, raised its state cigarette tax to $1.00 per pack, the
hot-line received a record of 20,000 calls in a two-month time period versus its typical 9,000
calls annually. However, for many more it simply increases the cost of their addiction, has them
switching to rolling tobacco, seeking out cheaper solutions, and even cutting back on basics to
continue this habit. If this were truly about reducing the incidence of smoking, the obvious
answer is to add $10 per pack, or $50 per pack. You would truly cut smoking rates then. To me
this is obviously about more tax revenue, and the usual target is those addicted (essentially
trapped). That's a pretty cheap move.
The other side of the coin is that California's excise tax is actually quite low compared to many
other states. Currently just $0.87 (36th highest in nation), this would increase the tax to $2.87
(10th highest in nation). That is more in line with what you would expect for California. We have
lagged behind much of the nation in taxing the heck (and will to smoke) out of smokers. Excise
taxes will continue to be spent in the same manner, which currently is approximately as follows:


12% to the General Fund. (About $84 million in 2015)



29% towards tobacco prevention, healthcare services for low-income persons, and
environmental protection. ($259 million in 2015)



1% towards breast cancer screenings and research. ($20 million in 2015)



58% towards early childhood development programs. ($447 million in 2015)

If that was all there was to this proposition, I would apologetically vote to approve it. However,
there is more to this than gouging smokers. California recently passed laws to treat electronic
cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes, despite the former having been proven to be 95%
less harmful, and yet more successful than any other quit assist method on the market. Instead
of encouraging the switch by freeing electronic cigarettes of the same taxation, California
equalized their treatment, and the FDA applied the same taxation. Despicable.

NO to further taxing electronic cigarette users (a 95%+ healthier smoking alternative).
(I expect it to pass, but I must encourage a vote according to my conscience.)

Proposition 57

Felons convicted of non-violent crimes and juvenile trials

Allows parole consideration for nonviolent felons. Authorizes sentence credits for rehabilitation,
good behavior, and education. Provides juvenile court judge decides whether juvenile will be
prosecuted as adult. Fiscal Impact: Net state savings likely in the tens of millions of dollars
annually, depending on implementation. Net county costs of likely a few million dollars annually.
Governor Brown supports this provision, as does the Democratic Party and Green Party of
California. I'll add that so does Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (who I don't always agree
with, but have considerable respect for), and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club. In
opposition is the Republican party, prosecutors associations (who would cede the right to
prosecute children as adults, to judges), and most police and sheriff associations. Prominent
state newspapers are split on the measure.
As designed the measure seems reasonable, though frustrating. Our prisons are still overfilled
partially due to pointless nonviolent drug sentencing (8,866 felony marijuana arrests in
California in 2016). Legalizing marijuana and commuting the sentence of all such drug offenders
would reduce prison overcrowding simply and cheaply, with little resulting crime or recidivism as
a result. Nonetheless, as described above the proposition seems sound. The proposition allows
inmates to earn credits for good behavior, and educational or rehabilitative achievements.
Inmates use credits to reduce time spent in prison.
Unfortunately the bill was poorly crafted. The Proposition does not define what constitutes a
"nonviolent felony". Amazingly, neither does California state law, which only specifies 23
felonies as violent. As a result, inmates convicted of such crimes as assault with a deadly
weapon and domestic violence may be eligible for early parole if the proposition passes. That is
unacceptable. Further, the proposition could overturn provisions of victims' rights legislation like
Marsy's Law, "three strikes," Victim's Bill of Rights, and the Californians Against Sexual
Exploitation Act. Also unacceptable.
Despite the flawed language, the reasonable title, summary and promotion has led to the public
supporting this proposition in all polling to date. About 25,000 "nonviolent" state felons could
seek early release and parole if the proposition passes.

NO to a poorly-worded bill with possibly dire consequences.


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