What’s on the Ballot in California?- Part 1

There is more to this year’s election than selecting the President of the United States. (There is also more than just Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on the ballot as well but that’s another discussion entirely). Along with individuals electing officials from party-nominated, voter-nominated and nonpartisan offices at the district, city, state and national levels, your state will also tack on propositions, or submitted measures, for registered voters to pass if they feel that it is necessary.

These measures end up on the ballot by either the Legislature, which has the ability to place constitutional amendments, bond measures, and proposed changes in law on the ballot or by any California voter who follows the initiative qualifying process.

After these selected initiatives, or a referendums, are placed on the ballot the state’s voters can go to the polls and select “yes” or “no” to support or oppose the advocated a course of action imposed from a specific viewpoint.

In the 2012 election there are eleven measures submitted to the voters. They cover different subjects, often include an influx in state tax revenue for execution and they are sometimes a little vague if you decide to read their descriptions for the first time while you’re standing at the voters’ booth.

Here are Propositions 30-33. Read the rest of my summarized endorsements next Friday.

Proposition 30

My endorsement: Yes

This Proposition is very important for anyone in college, paying for college, or planning on going to college. This propositions calls for increase in revenues for K-12 and Community Colleges from $5.4 billion to $9 billion annually through 2018. Proposition 30 will eliminate the need for more cuts to higher education, which I and my fellow college students have literally paid for with increased tuition and numerous cuts to classes.

The measure will raise the funds through Increase Personal Income Tax (PIT) rate on individuals making $250,000 or more during a seven year temporary increase, and unlike Proposition 38, 89 percent of revenue would go to K-12 and 11 percent of the revenue would go to California Community College System. That means no tuition fee increases for 2012-13, and those in the California State University (CSU) system won’t need to face $250 million trigger cut, i.e. (for my fellow Broncos reading this) $12 million would not be cut from Cal Poly Pomona.

If the Proposition fails, however, a potential student tuition fee increase of about 5 percent will be effective January 2013, and it will determine whether 20,000 CSU-eligible students will be admitted next fall, including potential graduate students like me who really want to stay in the CSU system.

Proposition 31

My endorsement: No

This proposition is naming a “two-year budget cycle; a limitation on what state government can do without first demonstrating it has the revenue to do it; executive power to slash the budget when revenues come up short” according to research, but the language is so vague that I have a definite problem with saying yes.

There needs to be rephrasing before it gets put back on a ballot again, because the “other, potentially more significant changes in state and local budgets, depending on future decisions by public officials” section of the measure is worrisome without proper regulations.

Proposition 32

My endorsement: No

I’ve been a little up in the air about this measure from its inception, again because of the vague language and what it is proposing. At a first glance it sounds like this proposition is going to take charge of special interest groups and keep them in line, but a double take of the wording reveals that its true target is labor unions.

At the moment, the language is too vague for me to say yes even though this proposition would lead me to believe that it “will reduce corporate and union influence and make politicians more accountable to voters.” The possibility that “it would also ban government contractors from contributing to elected officials involved in awarding their contracts,” is what doesn’t make me want to jump on board and vote yes.

Proposition 33

My endorsement: No

The discounts on auto insurance proposed in this measure aren’t consistent with the current discounts that we have out right now. What makes me further question the proposition is the backers which includes funding by Mercury Insurance founder George Joseph. I’ve had trouble finding where the money for these discounts would come from, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t really help with the state insurance premium tax revenues.

I urge you to do your own research on the measures and double check facts yourself because, like I realized with the few publications that I usually turn to, you won’t agree with everything you read in an opinionated post. If you can, post counter arguments in the comment section below and reference other materials and research to persuade me otherwise. Just remember to do so before Tuesday, November 6 rolls around and everyone’s at the polls.

Read Part 2!

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