Folsom Lake College's Online Newspaper
by Raquel Nelson
For many of you, this November will mean more to you than just another bustling, windy fall. This will be your first time voting, and for many more, this will be your first time voting in a presidential election. And while the presidential candidates are campaigning, they are running plenty of ads and getting plenty of face time on TV. But you will also be voting for a lot of important propositions here in California that may impact you directly or indirectly, most people don’t know about these initiatives. Some are the center of heated debate and controversy such as the end to the death penalty or labeling of genetically modified foods. Here is a rundown of the propositions we will be voting on this November.
Proposition 28 will change term limits from the current 14 years total (3-2 year terms for State Assembly and 2-4 year terms for State Senate) to a limit of 12 years combined in either one or the other. Meaning state politicians can serve only 12 years, but can serve the entire time in either the State Assembly or the State Senate.
Proposition 29 is an increase in sales tax for cigarettes to fund cancer research. The Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act was also on the presidential primary election ballot on June 5, 2012, but it was defeated by 0.6%.
Those who oppose this act state that we already pay hefty taxes on cigarettes and that the funds will not be adequately appropriated.
Proposition 30 also known as a Sales and Income Tax Increase Initiative, is an amendment to the state Constitution. It would raise California sales tax from 7.25% to 7.5%. And would also raise income tax for those who earn over $250,000 a year.
Currently those who earn between $250,000 to $300,000 pay 9.3%, if this proposal is passed, that amount will go up to 10.3%. Those who earn $300,000 to $500,000 will pay an increase from a current 9.3% to 11.3%. Those who earn $500,000 to one million dollars will have an increase from 10.3 to 12.3% and those who earn over one million will see their taxes raised from 10.3% to 13.3%.
This revenue will be raised for the purpose of funding public schools (K-12) as well as community colleges and guarantees funding for public safety services. Those who oppose this bill argue that the language does not guarantee the funds will all go directly to schools.
Proposition 31 is both an amendment and a Statute to the state Constitution. It would serve to establish a two-year budget cycle. It would also stop state Legislature from creating more than $25 million in spending unless there is revenue or spending cuts to offset the expenditures.
In addition it gives the power to the Governor to cut the budget unilaterally during declared economic emergencies if the state Legislature does not act. It would also require performance reviews of all state programs and performance goals in state and local budgets. All bills up for vote by the State Senate and Assembly would need to be made public at least three days prior. Lastly, it would give the counties power to alter state statutes or regulation related to spending unless the state legislature or agency veto the changes within 90 days.
Simply put, the state legislature would have to adhere a timeframe for the state budget and have a limit on spending measures. It would also put the responsibility of reviewing the performance of all state programs and the goals in state and local budgets. Bills being proposed would need to be made public at least three days before they are voted on.
Proposition 32 Would ban corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates as well as ban contributions by government contractors to politicians who can decide on their perspective contracts. It would also ban automatic tax deductions by corporations, unions, and government employee’s wages for the purpose of politics.
Unions and other organizations argue that the language in this proposition limits representation from unions and other organizations, but large corporations will still have influence over politicians.
Proposition 33 is known as the Automobile Insurance Persistency Discounts Initiative. It would allow the it will allow insurers to offer discounts to new customers who can prove they were continuously covered by any licensed auto insurance company over the previous five years. These discounts are known as "persistency discounts" or "loyalty discounts" and under current California law, insurance companies can only offer them to existing customers.
Proposition 34 The Death Penalty Initiative Statute will eliminate the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. If passed, it will be enforced retroactively and require prisoners to work and give their wages to the family of their victims. Additionally, it would create a $100 million fund to be dispersed to homicide and rape units to help solve cases.
This initiative has stirred many emotions among those who vehemently oppose it and those who fully support the measure.
Proposition 35 is the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act Initiative It would increase prison terms for human traffickers and require convicted sex traffickers to register as a sex offender. Registered sex offenders would have to disclose their Internet accounts. Criminal fines from convicted human traffickers would be required to pay for services to help victims. And lastly, there would be mandated law enforcement training on human trafficking.
Proposition 36 Is a modification to the Three Strikes Law. It would revise the three strikes law to impose a life sentence only when the new felony conviction is a serious or violent one. It would also authorize re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if their third strike conviction was non-serious, non-violent. And it would maintain life sentences when previous strikes were for rape, murder, or child molestation.
Proposition 37 Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative Proposes to require labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers when it includes plants or animals that have been genetically altered. It would also prevent this food from being labeled as “natural”.
Foods exempted from labeling include those that are certified as organic, unintentionally produced with genetically altered material (in other words, injected or fed with genetically altered material but not genetically engineered itself.) Foods with trace amounts of genetically altered material would not be labeled. Food sold in restaurants would not be required to be labeled as well.
Grocers and major food distributors oppose the bill citing that they will have major loses if this initiative is passed.
Proposition 38 State Income Tax Increase to Support Public Education. If enacted it will increase state income tax rates for most Californians over the next 12 years. This would result in increased revenue in the amount of $10 billion per year.
Proposition 39 Income Tax Increase for Multistate Businesses Initiative. This initiative would affect out-of-state businesses not California businesses or California residents. If approved, Proposition 39 will:
▪ Require out-of-state businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California.
▪ Repeal an existing law that gives out-of-state businesses an option to choose a tax liability formula that provides favorable tax treatment for businesses with property and payroll outside California.
Dedicate $550 million annually for five years from the initiative's anticipated increase in revenue in order to fund projects that "create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs" in California.
Proponents of this bill say that by closing the loophole in which companies can hire people out of state, it will create thousands of jobs within the state. Those who oppose the bill say that this bill will detour companies from moving to California in the first place.
FLC Main: FR-108