California Ballot Measures Part 4

“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.”  ~Ronald Reagan

By Alden L. Benton

In my last three posts, I have examined seven of the measures on the California ballot.  In this post, I will look at Proposition 37 and 38.

Here is a summary of my recommendations so far:

Proposition 30            NO
Proposition 31             NO
Proposition 32             YES
Proposition 33             NO
Proposition 34             NO
Proposition 35             NO
Proposition 36             NO

Proposition 37

This measure is designed to regulate a problem that does not exist and allow consumers to sue, even if they suffer no harm or damages.  Proposition 37 is a measure trial lawyers will love and farmers, and grocers will hate.

Proposition 37 requires labeling of genetically engineered food.  The definition of genetically engineered includes a product that has any genetically engineered ingredient in it. 

Like soda pop?  Under this measure, soda is a genetically engineered product.  Most sodas use corn syrup and/or high fructose corn syrup, both derived from corn.  In the United States, 88 per cent of all corn is genetically engineered.

In fact, according to the Legislative Analyst’s background and analysis,

Genetic engineering is the process of changing the genetic material of a living organism to produce some desired change in that organism’s characteristics.  This process is often used to develop new plant and animal varieties that are later used as sources of foods, referred to as GE foods.  For example, genetic engineering is often used to improve a plant’s resistance to pests or to allow a plant to withstand the use of pesticides.  Some of the most common GE crops include varieties of corn and soybeans.  In 2011, 88 percent of all corn and 94 percent of all soybeans produced in the U.S. were grown from GE seeds.  Other common GE crops include alfalfa, canola, cotton, papaya, sugar beets, and zucchini.  In addition, GE crops are used to make food ingredients (such as high fructose corn syrup) that are often included in processed foods (meaning foods that are not raw agriculture crops).  According to some estimates, 40 percent to 70 percent of food products sold in grocery stores in California contain some GE ingredients.

Proposition 37 re-regulates an “issue” that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the California Department of Public Health (DPH) already control.

Proposition 37 is written to allow any regulations the DPH deems necessary.  This scheme takes control of government power away from citizens and puts it in the hands of unaccountable, insulated bureaucrats.  Just look at the harm the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as done via regulation, or the Health and Human Services (HSS) ant-religion diktat on Obamacare and contraceptives.

If you want to make trial lawyers rich, drive up the price of food, and injure California farmers, Proposition 37 is for you.

The worst part of Proposition 37 is its provisions allowing lawsuits even when no harm is done.  According to the Legislative Analyst’s analysis,

Violations of the measure could be prosecuted by state, local, or private parties.  It allows the court to award these parties all reasonable costs incurred in investigating and prosecuting the action.  In addition, the measure specifies that consumers could sue for violations of the measure’s requirements under the state Consumer Legal Remedies Act, which allows consumers to sue without needing to demonstrate that any specific damage occurred as a result of the alleged violation.

This measure has been marketed as “giving you a choice” and “you have a right to know what’s in your food.”  However, all this measure will accomplish is expansion of government, increasing the price of food, and make trial lawyers even richer.


Proposition 38

This measure will increase personal income tax rates on everyone in California who earns more than $7,316 for the next 12 years.  This measure would generate about $10 billion initially and then an additional $5 billion per year after the first year.

This measure cannot be amended by the legislature, but only by an expensive initiative vote. 

The funds generated by Proposition 38 are earmarked for tax-supported schools and towards paying off the state’s debt.  Currently, the state is operating with more than a $15 billion deficit.

In Part 1 of this series, I analyzed Proposition 30.  These measures compete, but they are both flawed.  Both measures throw good money after bad into a failing educational system.  Read my analysis of Proposition 30 here for my arguments against increasing school funding in California.

The difference between Proposition 30 and 38 is that 38 increases income taxes on most Californians and does not increase the sales tax. 

However, the funds generated in the first year would only pay roughly three-fourths of the current state deficit.  Increasing revenues is only a temporary fix.  To fix our financial crisis, we must cut spending.

Proposition 38 is just another boondoggle to get Californian’s to cough up more money for schools.  The money collected by the Proposition 38 tax increases mainly goes to the state’s tax-supported schools. 

In the first four years, 70 per cent of the increased revenue will go to schools (60%) and early childhood education (10%).  Only 30% goes towards reducing the state’s deficit.  In the remaining seven years, the schools get all the money — 85 per cent to schools and 15 per cent to early childhood education.

California’s schools cannot be fixed by spending more money and state-sponsored early childhood education is nothing more than Leftist indoctrination of preschool kids.

California’s deficit will not go away, no matter how much money we throw at it until we significantly reduce spending.


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©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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