The Nov. 6 election ballots will ask voters to decide on 11 state propositions on a wide range of topics, including the death penalty, human trafficking, auto insurance, and food labeling.
Two propositions—30 and 38—address increased taxes for education and other government-related services. If both propositions pass, they would conflict, so the one with the most “yes” votes would prevail.
Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding.
Proposition 30 states that it would temporarily increase the state sales tax by 1/4 cent for four years, beginning Jan. 1, 2013, and would increase personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. If passed, the measure says temporary revenues would be allocated to K-12 schools (89 percent) and community colleges (11 percent), and funding would be guaranteed for public safety programs transferred from state to local government. According to the Legislative analyst, it is estimated to raise $6 billion annually from 2012-13 through 2016-17, and additional revenues would be available to fund programs in the state budget.
The state’s 2012-13 budget plan assumed passage of this measure, and calls for spending cuts if rejected.
State Budget. State and Local Government.
This measure changes certain responsibilities of local governments, the Legislature and the governor, according to an analysis. Proposition 31 states it will establish a two-year state budget cycle, and prohibit the Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless there are spending cuts or offsetting revenues.
It would also permit the governor to cut the budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies, and allow local governments to alter how laws governing state-funded programs apply to them unless the Legislature or state agency vetoes the change within 60 days.
The fiscal impact could be decreased sales tax revenues of about $200 million annually, increased funding to certain local governments, and potential changes in state and local budgets.
Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates.
The intention of Proposition 32 is to prohibit unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes, but permits voluntary employee contributions to an employer-sponsored committee or union. It would also prohibit unions and corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidate and candidate-controlled committees. According to the Legislative Analyst, to implement and enforce this measure could cost state and local governments more than $1 million annually.
Auto Insurance Companies. Prices Based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage.
This would change current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company, and give proportional discounts to drivers with some history of prior coverage. It would also allow the companies to increase cost of insurance to drivers who have not maintained continuous coverage, exempting drivers with a lapse due to military service, loss of employment, or with a lapse of less than 90 days.
Proposition 34 would repeal the death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replace it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Persons found guilty of murder must work while in prison with their wages subject to deductions that would be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them. The repeal would apply retroactively to persons already sentenced to death and directs $100 million to law enforcement agencies for investigations of homicide and rape cases.
Human Trafficking. Penalties.
Proposition 35 increases criminal penalties for human trafficking, including 15-years-to-life prison sentences and fines up to $1.5 million. Fines collected would be used for victim services and law enforcement.
A person who is convicted would be required to register as a sex offender. Sex offenders would be required to provide information regarding Internet access and identities they use in online activities. This measure would also require human trafficking training for police officers.
According to the Legislative Analyst, this measure would have a fiscal impact of increased costs to state and local governments, but also has the potential for additional revenues from criminal fines.
Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders. Penalties.
This proposition revises the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when a new felony conviction is serious or violent. If passed, it would re-sentence offenders currently serving life sentences if third strike conviction was not serious or violent and judge determines the new sentence does not pose a public safety risk.
Proposition 36 would continue to impose a life sentence if a third strike conviction was for certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses, or firearm possession, and it maintains a life sentence penalty for felons with non-serious, non-violent third strikes if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation.
State and county governments could face one-time costs of a few million dollars over the next couple of years for court activities related to this, but the state could save $70 to $90 million annually over the next couple of decades in prison and parole operations, according to an analysis.
Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling.
Labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers would be required if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. It prohibits labeling or advertising such food as “natural,” and exempts foods that are certified organic, unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material, and made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves.
It would also exempt foods processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients, administered for treatment of medical conditions, sold for immediate consumption, or alcoholic beverages. The measure could result in annual state costs, ranging from a few thousand to over $1 million to regulate.
Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs.
This measure would increase personal income tax rates, for 12 years, on annual earnings over $7,316, using a sliding scale from .4 percent at the low end to 2.2 percent for individuals earning over $2.5 million to fund schools, childcare and preschool, and to pay state debt-service costs.
During the first four years it would allocate 60 percent of revenues to K-12 schools, 30 percent to repay state debt, and 10 percent to early childhood programs. After that, 85 percent of revenues would go to K-12, and 15 percent to early childhood.
It is expected that in 2013-2014, about $10 billion would be collected with the amount to increase over time.
Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding.
Proposition 39 requires multi-state businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California. It would repeal existing law that gives those businesses an option to choose a tax liability formula that provides a favorable tax treatment for businesses with property and payroll outside the state.
From the anticipated revenue increase, $550 million annually for five years would fund projects that create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs in California.
Redistricting. State Senate Districts.
Voting yes on this measure would approve new State Senate districts to be drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. If new districts are rejected, the State Senate boundary lines will be adjusted by officials supervised by the California Supreme Court. The districts are revised every 10 years.