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PolicyLink California Ballot Guide 2012

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In California, it's up to the voters to get our budget on the right track and increase opportunities for all Californians to access quality education and much-needed jobs. At PolicyLink, we know we must fight for policies and programs that help all communities thrive. From better access to education and healthy foods, balanced campaign contribution laws, and fair tax policy, these propositions require our thoughtful votes to build a better future for California.

On November 6, cast your vote for equity. Take our ballot guide with you to the polls, and join us in advocating for our communities.

Download the California Ballot Guide

 

Click on each proposition for more detailed information.

Prop 30 - Yes

Proposition 30 will generate billions of dollars in much-needed revenues to support schools and will prevent painful cuts to critical state-funded programs.

What does the initiative do?
This initiative will raise $6 billion in additional revenue per year, by increasing personal income tax on Californians with annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years and by increasing the state sales tax by one-quarter cent for four years. Eighty-nine percent of the tax revenues will go to K–12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges.

How does it impact communities of color and low-income people in California?
In addition to providing additional revenues to public schools and community colleges, Proposition 30, if passed, will raise enough money to prevent the "trigger cuts" to a great number of the state's safety net programs. The governor, Democrats, and many of our partners and allies agree that these automatic cuts would be devastating to low-income families, communities of color, seniors, and others who rely on the state to provide basic health, education, and other services.

For more information:
http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/text-proposed-laws-v2.pdf#nameddest=prop30
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm
http://www.yesonprop30.com/

Prop 32 - No

Proposition 32 would take power away from labor unions, and the working-class Californians they represent, while doing almost nothing to limit corporate and business interests in politics. It is unbalanced and unfair.

What does the initiative do?
Proposition 32 is aimed at limiting campaign contributions. Specifically the bill: bans union and corporate contributions to state and local candidates, bans contributions by government contractors to politicians who control the contracts awarded to them, and bans automatic deductions of workers' wages, by corporations, unions, and government for political campaigns. This bill does not affect LLC’s, real estate trusts, hedge funds, insurance companies, or any other large businesses that are not formally "corporations."

How does it impact communities of color and low-income people in California?
This is an extremely unbalanced initiative that, ultimately, does not take big money out of politics. Because this initiative eliminates payroll deductions, currently the largest source of funding for labor unions’ political spending, this proposition could have a significant impact on union spending in politics. However, corporations largely raise their money in other ways so it would only have a marginal impact on the ability of corporations to raise money for political purposes. Diminishing the voice of labor without tackling the influence of corporate special interests will only make it more difficult to hold elected officials accountable to our state's diverse communities.

For more information:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm
http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/text-proposed-laws-v2.pdf#nameddest=prop32
http://www.votenoon32.org/

Prop 33 - No

Proposition 33 would make auto insurance, an already expensive mandated purchase, more expensive for low-income drivers in California who are less likely to have continuous insurance coverage.

What does the initiative do?
Proposition 33, known as the Auto Insurance Discount Act, would allow auto insurers to provide a discount based on whether drivers previously carried auto insurance. At the same time, insurance companies would be allowed to increase rates on drivers who have not maintained continuous coverage. This initiative would eliminate one of the central provisions of Proposition 103, the consumer-oriented auto insurance initiative that was passed by the voters in 1988.

How does it impact communities of color and low-income people in California?
Proposition 33 is bad news for low-income people and communities of color in California since it will expand the redlining—higher priced coverage for certain communities, with very high rates typical for low-income communities of color—that already characterizes auto insurance rates today. A survey from the California Department of Insurance found that 54 percent of uninsured drivers were Latino and African American (twice their rate in California's population at the time) and that 51 percent had incomes under $20,000. Proposition 33 will make an already bad situation much worse.

For more information:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm
http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/text-proposed-laws-v2.pdf#nameddest=prop33
http://stopthesurcharge.consumerwatchdogcampaign.org/

Prop 34 - Yes

This proposition would end the death penalty in California without releasing any prisoners.

What does the initiative do?
This initiative will repeal the death penalty (for first-degree murder) and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

How does it impact communities of color and low-income people in California?
Communities of color and low-income people in California are disproportionately incarcerated and sentenced to death. They are also disproportionately impacted by the budget challenges faced by our state. By repealing the death penalty, this initiative ensures that we do not mistakenly kill innocent people, and saves the state money without releasing any prisoners.

For more information:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm
http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/text-proposed-laws-v2.pdf#nameddest=prop34
www.safecalifornia.org/

Prop 36 - Yes

Proposition 36 is a long overdue reform to California's repeat offender law. It protects public safety, saves money, and ensures that non-violent offenders have an opportunity for rehabilitation.

What does the initiative do?
This measure reduces prison sentences served under the three strikes law by certain third strikers whose current offenses are non-serious, non-violent felonies. This measure also allows resentencing of certain third strikers who are currently serving life sentences for specified non-serious, non-violent felonies.

How does it impact communities of color and low-income people in California?
People of color are disproportionately incarcerated in California and have been disproportionately impacted by California's three strikes law. A 2005 study by the California Legislative Analyst's Office found that African Americans make up the largest group of second and third strikers (37 percent), followed by Latinos (33 percent), and whites (26 percent).  This racial composition is similar to that in the total prison population. However, African Americans make up 45 percent of the third striker population. This is 15 percent higher than that of the total prison population. 

For more information:
www.yeson36.org
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm
http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/text-proposed-laws-v2.pdf#nameddest=prop36

Prop 37 - Yes

Consumers have the right to know what is in their food. Proposition 37 ensures that all Californians can choose whether or not they purchase foods containing genetically modified products.

What does the initiative do?
Prop 37 (the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act) would require labeling of genetically engineered foods sold in California.

How does it impact communities of color and low-income people in California?
Genetically modified food is a major driver in the increased use of certain dangerous pesticides. As a result, farmworkers, consumers, and predominantly low-income people of color in agricultural communities can be exposed to higher levels of pesticides when genetically modified crops are used. Labeling food gives consumers the ability to choose whether they want to purchase products that contribute to this problem.

For more information:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm
http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/text-proposed-laws-v2.pdf#nameddest=prop37
www.carighttoknow.org

Prop 39 - Yes

This initiative closes a loop hole in our tax code that has allowed some businesses to avoid paying their fair share. It uses about half of the generated revenues to create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs in California.

What does the initiative do?
This initiative closes a loophole for California businesses that have property and payroll outside of the state. If approved, the initiative would require multistate businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California. According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, closing this loophole would result in an additional $1 billion in state revenues annually. Proposition 39 also creates the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund and directs half of the new revenue raised ($550 million annually for five years) to funding projects that create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs in California. The remainder of these revenues would go to the state's general fund with significant resources going to schools.

How does it impact communities of color and low-income people in California?
Proposition 39 would have positive impacts on low-income communities and communities of color in California. It would generate new revenue for the state and ensure that out-of-state businesses doing work in California don't pay less taxes than our own state's businesses. The new revenue will help create more jobs in California at a time when they are desperately needed, will help build the general fund, and will help jump-start California's clean energy economy.

For more information:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm
http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/text-proposed-laws-v2.pdf#nameddest=prop39
http://www.cleanenergyjobsact.com/

Prop 40 - Yes

Proposition 40 affirms California’s commitment to the citizen’s redistricting process. This was a thoughtful and fair process and we believe that it should be upheld.

What does the initiative do?
Proposition 40 is a veto referendum on the California State Senate Redistricting Plan, approved by the California Redistricting Citizens' Commission. A "yes" vote would affirm the new state senate district boundaries approved by the nonpartisan Redistricting Citizens’ Commission. A "no" vote would reject the decision of the commission, forcing them to undertake the redistricting process again for the state senate boundaries.

How does it impact communities of color and low-income people in California?
The new state senate boundaries reflect the new population numbers released from the 2010 census. Low-income communities and communities of color that are experiencing consistent growth may benefit from new districts that reflect their growing numbers and could potentially stand to gain new representatives in the state senate. Spending more money repeating a process that has been fair and thoughtful would be a waste of limited state resources.

For more information:
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/text-proposed-laws-v2.pdf#nameddest=prop40