California Ballot Measures Part 2

By Alden L. Benton

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”  ~Ronald Reagan

By Alden L. Benton

Tuesday’s election is more than a referendum on the failed policies of Barack Obama.  In the states, voters will fill many positions in state legislatures and local government agencies. 

In addition, many states also have important measures on the ballot that will directly affect voters, perhaps for years to come.  California, my home state, is one of those states.  This year, California voters have placed 11 measures on the ballot. 

Yesterday (November 1), I discussed Proposition 30 and recommended a NO vote.  Today (November 2), I will discuss Proposition 31, 32, and 33.

Proposition 31

On the surface, this measure seems like a good idea.  However, Proposition 31 is a malevolent measure whose agenda is the redistribution of tax revenues from suburban and rural areas to urban areas by allowing the formation of regional governments with special powers and privileges.

Stanley Kurtz wrote in the September 4, 2012, edition of the National Review Online that

California’s Proposition 31 is the project of a collection of “good government” groups, in particular, California Forward. California Forward says its goal is “fundamental change.” They’re right about that. The change they have in mind, unfortunately, is creating a collection of de facto regional super-governments designed to undercut the political and economic independence of California’s suburbs. The goal is to redistribute suburban tax money to California’s failing cities. Instead of taking on the mismanagement that is breaking California’s cities, Prop. 31 lets failing cities bail themselves out by raiding the pocketbooks of California’s suburbanites. In the process, Prop. 31 will kill off the system of local government at the root of American liberty.

Proposition 31 gives the illusion of local control.  However, suburban and rural areas, and smaller cities, will be forced to join or have their share of state tax revenues reduced.  This will give the regional governments more power, money, and control.

Proposition 31 creates a two-year budget cycle and would give the governor the power to arbitrarily cut spending during fiscal emergencies if the legislature fails to act.  Another bad idea. 

A two-year budget cycle does nothing to alleviate the state’s current financial crisis.  It will simply allow the legislature to manipulate and exacerbate the problems further by delaying decisions.

Giving the governor more control over spending cuts removes the voters from the process by eliminating the legislature from the decision process.  The California constitution is based on the federal model of checks and balances and Proposition 31 will remove some key elements of that scheme.

The remainder of Proposition 31 is dedicated to window dressing to make the more onerous parts more palatable.  Proposition 31 would force the legislature to find funding sources for each new bill and to publish bills and amendments at least three days before legislative approval.

The bad far outweighs the good in Proposition 31.  It is no more than another redistribution scheme from the political Left to transfer public funds from the more conservative regions of the state to the urban bastions of the Left.


Proposition 32

Proposition 32 is about unions and California public employee unions are opposed to anything that limits their unbridled power over California politics.

My father was a member of the Teamsters union for his entire 23-year trucking career.  I have no issue with most private unions.  The ultra-leftist, political activist Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is an exception.

However, I do have problems with public employee unions and the power they wield due to their protected status.  California is not a right-to-work state and as such, unless you join a union and pay dues, certain professions are closed to you.  Because of this, I will never teach in a California public school.  I will not join their union and contribute to their political agenda.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s analysis in the California Official Voters Information Guide,

The measure [Proposition 32] prohibits unions, corporations, government contractors, and state and local government employers from spending money deducted from an employee’s paycheck for “political purposes.”  Under the measure, this term would include political contributions, independent expenditures, member communications related to campaigns, and other expenditures to influence voters.  This measure would not affect unions’ existing authority to use payroll deductions to pay for other activities, including collective bargaining and political spending in federal campaigns.

Proposition 32 prohibits unions from contributing directly to candidates or to committees that then contribute directly to candidates.  However, unions and corporations can still spend money to, according to the analysis in the California Official Voters Information Guide,

…communicate support or opposition of a candidate or ballot measure generally is considered an independent expenditure if the funds are spent in a way that is not coordinated with (1) a candidate or (2) a committee established to support or oppose a candidate or a ballot measure.

Proposition 32 does not limit how much can be spent in this way or change disclosure requirements.  Proposition 32 does not prevent individual union members from contributing to candidates.

Proposition 32 is the first step in wresting the state from the stranglehold of public employee unions who continue to block any meaningful budget and financial reform — the same people whose platinum retirement parachutes and wages are bankrupting California and stealing its future.


Proposition 33

Current California law requires the state Insurance Commissioner to review and approve changes in insurance rates in the state.  The law also requires that rates for auto insurance policies be set based on the driving safety record, the number of miles driven, and the number of years a person has been driving.  Other factors may be considered and most insurance companies give discounts for continuous coverage, but not if a person changes companies.

Proposition 33 will change the law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company.  In addition, it will allow a proportional discount based on the number of years in the past five years that the person had insurance.

Under Proposition 33, insurance companies can to raise premiums on drivers who have not maintained continuous coverage unless the lapse is because of military service, loss of employment, or if the lapse is less than 90 days.

Proposition 33 does not change the state’s requirements to maintain auto insurance coverage.

This is another proposition that sounds good on the surface.  However, when one looks deeper, it is flawed.

It is an overt attempt to deregulate the state’s insurance industry by weakening the power of the state’s Insurance Commissioner to regulate and control both the way auto insurance rates are determined and how much can be charged.

Consumer protection is one of the few valid reasons for government intervention in the marketplace.  California requires drivers to carry insurance and subsequently that requirement demands that the state protect consumers from unreasonable rates and criteria for buying insurance.  Proposition 33 weakens those protections.


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©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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One response to “California Ballot Measures Part 2

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