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California In Crisis: Critical Ballot Measures

California Voter Recommendations from Black Skeptics & Radical Women Los Angeles:

We live in contradictory times, and the ballot reflects this with several, mostly bad, tax propositions plus an entreaty to eliminate the death penalty, repeal Three Strikes and increase funding for K-16 education.

  • Proposition 30: Temporary Tax Increases for Education and other Needs— VOTE YES

According to RW “If passed, this measure would increase the state sales tax by .25% for four years, and increase modestly graduated income tax rates on individuals making at least $250,000 a year for seven years. This measure is on the ballot because Governor Brown convinced the California Federation of Teachers to abandon their popular grassroots-initiated Millionaires Tax, which exclusively targeted the 1% with permanent tax increases but frightened Brown’s big business allies.”

Although Prop 30 is a stopgap it is CRITICAL.  If it doesn’t pass school districts that already have nearly a month of unpaid teacher furlough days will have more, massive layoffs and displacements will occur and class sizes will increase at the K-12 level.  The community college and four year systems will be even more overburdened than they are now; with fewer classes, more waiting lists, less long term instructors and longer transfer and graduation times.

  • Proposition 31: State Budget Restrictions—Vote NO

This complex constitutional amendment would require “performance review” of all state programs, budget cuts to balance all new expenditures and give the governor power to make unilateral cuts in times of a “fiscal emergency.”

  • Proposition 32: Limits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction—Vote NO

This measure pretends to get big money out of politics, but exempts big business and their PACs. The real targets are public and private sector unions who would be forbidden to use members’ dues for any political purpose without express, yearly, written permission from individual members. It’s an attack on labor’s ability to fight for working-class issues.

  • Proposition 33: Car Insurance Increases based on Prior History—Vote NO

This is another attempt by the insurance industry, particularly the CEO of Mercury Insurance, to raise premiums on those who have not had continuous coverage for five consecutive years. The first to pay will be the poor, students and immigrants.

  • Proposition 34: Replace the Death Penalty with Life Without Parole—Vote YES

This would rid California of the death penalty, a legacy of slavery. Despite the many things wrong with this initiative—mandatory life without parole, and mandated work for those convicted of murder—this is a step forward to end a practice that kills mostly the poor and people of color.

  • Proposition 35: Increases the  Penalties for Human Trafficking—Vote NO

As socialist feminists, we abhor human trafficking of laborers and sex workers. However, this initiative statute poses a threat to civil liberties, has an overly-broad net that could impact any sex worker—trafficked or not—and duplicates current laws while doing little for victims.

  • Proposition 36: Revises the  Three Strikes Law—Vote YES

The original law mandates life in prison for anyone convicted of three felonies. This initiative statute would reduce the life sentence in a limited number of cases. A better option would be to strike down the entire law because it disproportionally affects the poor and people of color.

  • Proposition 37: Labeling Genetically Engineered Food—Vote YES

This initiative statute is a step in the right direction in providing consumers information about food purchases, although it contains many exceptions.

  • Proposition 38: Income Tax Increase to Fund Education—Vote NO

Like Proposition 30, this is aimed at increasing funding for California’s impoverished education system but, this measure increases taxes on all income earners—including the overburdened poor and working class— instead of targeting the rich and corporations.

  • Proposition 39: Multi-state Business Taxes—Vote YES

This initiative statute closes a loophole used by businesses that operate outside California, and adds $1billion to state revenues while establishing a Clean Energy Job Creation Fund.

Los Angeles Measures

  • · Measure A. Appointment of County Assessor – LA County—Vote NO

This measure is an advisory vote on whether to replace an elected official with an appointed one because the last elected County Assessor was corrupt. But appointed boards are loaded with corrupt power company stooges, real estate tycoons and big business crooks.

  • · Measure J. Maintain sales tax increase– LA County—Vote NO

This measure would maintain the current one half cent sales tax increase for accelerated light rail construction for another 30 years. Basic infrastructure should be paid for by taxing the wealthy and their businesses, not by an unrelenting parade of regressive taxes. Enough already.