I suspect most of you reading here get this, but because there is so much misinformation about propositons flying around - and a lot more to come - I want to remind people how much these two initiatives matter to our state.
Since there are, as usual a bunch of issues on the ballot this year, let me remind you:
Prop. 30 is the governor's tax increase initiative. Prop. 32 is this year's version of "paycheck deception" dressed up to look like campaign finance reform. Follow me below for a few words on why these matter so much to Californians and to progressives everywhere.
Proposition 30: Even though Republicans are barely hanging on to 1/3 of the seats in our legislature, our constitution says that taxes can only be increased by a 2/3 vote in the leg or a vote of the people. And the power of that Republican minority means a vote of the people is the only real way available. Every since taxes were cut in the flush 90s, California has been struggling with structural deficits, aggravated by ballot-box budgeting and a whole series of gimmick budgets during the Arnold years. While I don't agree with Brown on everything, by a long shot, I think he's been doing an honest job trying to bring us back to something like realism in the budget arena. This initiative presents us with a clear and stark choice: approve it, or face devastating cuts to education and all other public services.
What Prop 30 would do:
Raise income taxes by 1-3% on high income Californians for a period of 7 years.
Increase the state sales tax by 1/4 cent for 4 years.
It's projected to raise about 6 billion annually for the 4 year period, smaller amounts in the following 3.
Where the money goes: First, to bring public school funding up to mandated levels, then to close the budget gap in all other state services.
What happens if it doesn't pass: Huge cuts across the board in almost everything the state does: shorter school year, larger class sizes, higher tuition at state colleges, cuts to health services - it's a long list. We need this to pass!
Proposition 32: This one should be a no-brainer for everyone here, but it's been written and promoted so fraudulently that a lot of folks who ought to know better could get fooled. And as a Registered Nurse and union member, this one is huge. It's just one more in a long string of attempts to de-fund union political activity. But this time around, in "the fraud to end all frauds", it's been dressed up as campaign finance reform. The real key provision, is that it bans both unions and corporations from having money decucted from worker's paychecks for political activity. At first blush, that sounds sort of fair, right? But think a minute: Money contributed by members through payroll deduction is the only way that unions can get money for political action. It plays almost no role in corporate political spending. The big corporations have plenty of other money to spend.
Likewise, the bill bans both unions and corporations from contributing directly to political candidates - but does nothing at all to control spending by super pacs and other secretive groups, nor by wealthy individuals. It silences the voice of working people, while leaving ALEC, the Kochs, Roves, Whitmans and Romneys of the world free reign to spend all they want - often anonymously - with no effective control.
Over the last 20 years, my union has been able to do things in Sacramento that save lives every day in California: Nurse Staffing Ratios, whistleblower protection for nurses, earthquake safety for hospital buildings. And we've contributed to making workers lives better with laws requiring meal breaks for workers, lift teams in hospitals and much more.
If the Far Right is able to silence the voice of workers, even here in liberal California, all of that and much more could be at risk.
So it's a simple mantra: Yes on 30, No on 32. Don't forget it!