Sunday, May 13, 2018

ABOUT THOSE BALLOT PROPOSITIONS... CFRW recommendation and Talking Points... (and more)

CFRW RECOMMENDS:
  • Prop 68: NO
  • Prop 69: NO
  • Prop 70: NO
  • Prop 71: YES
  • Prop 72: YES





June Ballot Measures

Proposition 68: California Parks, Environment, and Water Bond- would issue a $4 billion general obligation bond, with a 3.5% interest rate over 30 years, bringing the bill to the taxpayers up to $6.4 billion total. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 69: Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment- states that Senate Bill 1 revenue from diesel taxes will be placed in a “lockbox” and used only for transportation fund purposes. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 70: Vote Requirement to Use Cap and Trade Funds Amendment- would require a one-time vote in 2024 by a 2/3rds legislative majority to allocate state Cap and Trade program revenue. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 71: Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment- changes the date for when voter approved ballot measures take effect from the day after the election to the fifth day after the Secretary of State certifies the election. The CFRW says vote YES.

Proposition 72: Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessment- would exclude any new rainwater capture structures from property value tax reassessment from counting as a new structure. The CFRW says vote YES.

If you would like ALL the talking points for each proposition, please email our Advocate at advocate@cfrw.org.
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Prop Spotlight: Prop 68 - The California Parks, Environment, and Water Bond

The CFRW recommends a NO vote.

Ballot Title: Authorizes Bonds Funding Parks, Natural Resources Protection, Climate Adaptation, Water Quality and Supply, and Flood Protection

Ballot Summary:

Authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for: creation and rehabilitation of state and local parks, natural resources protection projects, climate adaptation projects, water quality and supply projects, and flood protection projects.
Reallocates $100 million of unused bond authority from prior bond acts for the same purposes.
Appropriates moneys from the General Fund to pay off bonds.
Requires non-state matching funds for certain projects and favors disadvantaged communities for certain projects.
Requires annual audits
Background

This proposition began as SB 5 (De Leon, D) in 2016. It passed along party lines in the Senate, but was amended in the Assembly to raise the price from $3.8 billion to $4 billion, earning three Republican votes as it passed there 56-21. There are two types of bonds that we, as Californians, vote on: general obligation bonds and revenue bonds. Prop 68 is a general obligation bond. This means that the bond is sold to investors as taxpayer pays back the bond over many years, in this prop's case, 30 years. Accoring to our state's constitution, any bond issued over $300,000 must be placed on a statewide ballot to go before voters. Since 1993 when that law came into place, 39 general obligation bonds have been on our ballots. Of those, 31 of them were passed by our voters. An even more shocking statistic, just 6 of those 39 general obligation bonds were citizen-driven bonds. A total of 33 general obligation bonds, since 1993, have been put on our ballots by our legislature. The most common bonds are water and education bonds- 7 each have appeared since 1993. California has $73.33 billion in outstanding general obligation bond debt. Perhaps worse, we have $31.9 billion in unissued bonds that the voters have passed.

Talking Points

  • Prop 68 is deceptive. What is billed as a $4 billion bond will really cost us closer to $7 billion. This means higher taxes so that a few coastal politicians can divvy out our money for pet projects. The money issued here is not even fairly divided among Californians so that all could see local park improvements.
  • The authors of this prop would have you believe the funding is necessary for drought and groundwater investment. But only 13% of this proposition's funds would be allocated for that purpose. The rest would be doled out for conservation grants with little left over for necessary deferred maintenance.
  • With a 3.5% interest rate over 30 years, our politicians are passing the buck on this bond. At least $2.53 billion in interest will accumulate, bringing the total cost of this bond to $6.53 billion.
  • Currently our state has unfunded pension liablities costs that are rising. Our public school borrowed debt is $500 million a year, retiree medical pension liability is at $91 billion, and affordable housing debt is at $169 million a year. Why are we throwing more debt onto the pile?
  • We need to ask ourselves two simple questions: 1. How effective have past bond measures been (particularly our 2014 water bond)? and 2. Do we really need to add to our state's debt?
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Prop Spotlight: Prop 69 - Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment

The CFRW Recommends a NO vote

Ballot Title: Requires That Certain New Transportation Revenues Be Used for Transportation Purposes. Legislative Constitutional Amendment

Ballot Summary:

Requires that revenues generated by a 2017 transportation funding law, through a certain vehicle license fee and diesel sales tax, be used only for transportation purposes, including public transportation. Generally prohibits the Legislature from diverting those funds to other purposes.
Prohibits revenue from new vehicle license fees from being used to repay general obligation bond debt.
Exempts new revenues from state and local spending limits.
Background

Last year the California State Legislature passed SB 1, “The Gas Tax”, by a 2/3rds majority vote. It was overwhelmingly unpopular with Californians, but they did it anyway. SB 1 enacted the highest tax increase in our state’s history, at $5.2 billion a year in higher taxes. SB 1 raised gasoline taxes an additional 12 cents a gallon, raised diesel taxes by 20 cents a gallon, raised diesel sales taxes from 1.75 to 5.75 percent, raised vehicle fees by $25-$100 per car, per year, and finally included an electric car fee of $100 per car, per year. Proposition 69 was written as an addendum to SB 1, so that voters could feel the legislature would be responsible with SB 1 revenue. Californians already voted to protect gas tax revenue in 2002- Prop 42 and again in 2010- Prop 22. Both previous propositions were designed to have gas tax revenue be only used for transportation funding. Both previous propositions were created to protect gas tax revenue from being siphoned off for other funding purposes. Prop 69 claims to do the same thing, except this time, we know better.

Talking Points

  • This proposition is a farce. It is disingenuous to voters and to all taxpayers who use our roads. Prop 69 claims to use gas tax revenue for transportation purposes only. When the legislature passed SB 1, they claimed we needed the higher taxes to fix our crumbling transportation infrastructure. But the truth is, we didn’t need higher taxes, we need representatives with integrity, who would use already existing gas tax revenue and vehicle fees for transportation purposes only. The legislature needed to write a constitutional amendment to keep their word?
  • We already have “lockbox” measures supposedly keeping our gas tax revenue “safe” and for “transportation funds” only. Why do we think this time they won’t use a loophole?
  • Speaking up loopholes, Prop 69 exempts the gas tax revenue from the state’s constitutional spending limit. This will RAISE the state’s General Fund spending by approximately $2 billion annually, with no taxpayer oversight.
  • Prop 69 does nothing to protect taxpayer’s money. Taxpayers were promised that SB 1 would fix our roads and transportation infrastructure. Prop 69 does not guarantee this. Instead, it puts some of the revenue in a “transportation fund” whereby the legislature can decide what qualifies as “transportation” (read: transit and High Speed Rail). It does not guarantee funding for our crumbling roads or easing traffic congestion! It is a duplicitous measure designed to make voters feel like they are in the “driver’s seat” with state spending, but we are being “taken for a ride” once again.
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Prop Spotlight: Prop 70 - Vote Requirement to Use Cap and Trade Funds Amendment

The CFRW Recommends a NO Vote

Ballot Title: Requires Legislative Supermajority Vote Approving Use of Cap-and-trade Reserve Fund. Legislative Constitutional Amendment

Ballot Summary:

  • Beginning in 2024, cap-and-trade revenues will accumulate in a reserve fund.
  • These cap-and-trade revenues cannot be used unless the Legislature authorizes such use by a two-thirds majority.
  • On the effective date of any such authorization, the requirement that new revenues accumulate in this reserve fund will expire.
  • Suspends certain tax exemptions, including for equipment used in manufacturing and research and development, beginning in 2024, until the effective date of any such authorization

Background

AB 32 was passed in 2006. It created California’s Cap and Trade program, whereby the California Air Resources Board monitors and regulates the greenhouse gas emissions of businesses with the goal of 1990 levels by 2020. Last year, the legislature passed AB 398 to extend Cap and Trade to 2030, giving CARB regulating powers once more. AB 398 needed a 2/3rds vote in each chamber to pass. A deal was struck and 8 Republicans (7 Assembly members and 1 Senator) voted for the extension of Cap and Trade in exchange for a repeal of the Fire Tax (until 2031) and Prop 70 being on the June ballot.

Talking Points

  • Prop 70 is a straw man. The “if we don’t pass it, we might get something worse” argument doesn’t work here. This was a bad deal that a few Republicans made, allowing three vulnerable Democrats to vote against the Cap and Trade extension.
  • There is no guarantee that the Cap and Trade funding will be allocated in any way that benefits taxpayers. There is also no guarantee that it will not be sent to fund the High Speed Rail project.
  • Again, there is also no guarantee that a 2/3rds vote in both chambers will be a bi-partisan vote. Republicans are currently in the super-minority, so a measure like this would do nothing to protect taxpayers or provide bi-partisanship.
  • It is time for Californians to stand up to the legislative Democrat bullying. This deal was made with broad Democrat support, and now virtually every legislative Democrat except Governor Jerry Brown opposes it. The Republicans who made this deal were duped. This might sound like enough reason to support Prop 70, but a message should be sent to Sacramento. Duplicitous back-room deals should not be tolerated from EITHER party.
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Prop Spotlight: Prop 71: Effective Date of Ballot Measures

The CFRW recommends a YES vote

Ballot Title: Sets Effective Date for Ballot Measures. Legislative Constitutional Amendment

Ballot Summary:

  • Provides that a ballot measure approved by a majority of voters shall take effect five days after the Secretary of State certifies the results of the election.
  • Allows a ballot measure to provide that it will become operative at a date later than its effective date

Background

The current election law states that ballot measures go into effect the day after the election unless the measure specifically states a different effect date. This could cause confusion or costly legal battles as we come into the new “Vote By Mail” era. Ballots may be counted up to a month after the election and the Secretary of State must certify an election by 38 days after election day. So theoretically a measure could “win” a majority of votes the day after the election and the measure takes effect immediately, but there is a month or more where ballots can be counted, and the vote count could tip the measure the other way. Then what happens? Potentially law suits and a lot of confused voters. Prop 71 would give county elections offices and the Secretary of State time to count every mail in ballot before ballot measures would come into effect. Currently there are approximately 51% of Californians are registered to vote by mail and by 2020 the entire state will be required to vote by mail. Prop 71 would ensure all votes are counted before the ballot measures become official state law.

Talking Points

  • By 2020, the entire state of California will be required to Vote By Mail. Prop 71 ensures that every vote is counted before election results are certified and ballot measures take effect.
  • Prop 71 was passed unanimously in both houses of our legislatures. Every Republican Assembly member and Senator agree that every mail ballot deserves to be counted.
  • If Prop 71 is not passed and vote by mail ballots take longer to count than expected, propositions that come into effect the day after the election could create expensive legal battles for taxpayers and confusion for Californians wanting to comply with a new law. Prop 71 does necessary “housekeeping” for the new “Vote By Mail” era.
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The electronic voter guide is user-friendly – a voter can enter his or her address and find the endorsed candidates who will be on the ballot. Statewide, congressional and legislative endorsements made by CRP will be listed first, followed by the list of your endorsements in local races. ◼ To view the electronic voter guide, click HERE. Enter the home address where you are registered to vote:

GOVERNOR: No Endorsement
Lieutenant Governor: Cole Harris
Secretary of State: Mark P. Meuser
State Controller: Konstantinos Roditis
State Treasurer: No Endorsement
State Attorney General: Steven C Bailey
State Board of Equalization - District 2: Mark Burns
US Senate: No Endorsement
Congress: US House - District 2: Dale K. Mensing
State Legislature: State Assembly - District 2: Matt Heath
Schools: State Superintendent of Public Instruction: No Endorsement

Statewide Propositions:
Proposition 68: NO
Proposition 69: No Endorsement
Proposition 70: NO
Proposition 71: YES
Proposition 72: YES