Posts Tagged California

And now some propositions from the sin bin…

Yes today we have analysis on the latest “sin tax” on tobacco. Is increasing tobacco tax 325% a good thing? Read our Proposition 56 analysis to learn more.

Yes and just when you thought the California proposition process couldn’t get any weirder, we bring you Proposition 60 – Condoms Required in Adult Films. Check out our Proposition 60 Analysis

Since we haven’t done a blog post on every proposition analysis, some PolitoMuse readers didn’t realize we have actually done 10 so far. Bookmark our November 2016 Propositions page for the latest and greatest.

Tell a friend!

 

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And more analysis posted including the marijuana legalization proposition

One of the propositions we get asked the most about, is Proposition 64, aka “Legalizing marijuana use, possession, & regulated cultivation under state law.”

The latest Field Poll/Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley found that 60% of likely voters support the measure, with just 31% opposed and 9% undecided.  Findings of the poll are in line with other recent polling, suggesting Prop 64 is likely to pass in November.

PolitoMuse readers will want to read our extensive Prop 64 analysis where we consider the pros and cons of legalization.

And be sure to checkout other updates to here

 

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GO VOTE

Make Sure You Vote — This Tuesday June 3!

Check out PolitoMuse’s analyses of Propositions 41 and 42 and Selected Candidates, then make up your mind and vote!

Voter turn out is traditionally very low in California’s Primary Elections.  That’s a good news/bad news proposition.  The bad news is that a small number of voters will make decisions that bind all Californians.  The good news:  If you decide to be one of those responsible citizens, your vote will be that much more powerful because of that low turn-out.

For everything you wanted to know about voting in California checkout the Secretary of State’s Voter info website

For our local readers, checkout the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters website

Happy Voting!

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Prop 41 – Re-Allocation of Bond Authorization From One Veterans Program To Another, Better One

Recommendation: Strong Yes.

Long-time readers of this blog (or its predecessors) are aghast: Is that really a “strong yes” on a bond measure? Collect yourselves; it is. The reason is that this is an unusually smart bond measure. Also, as our title suggests, while this is correctly identified as a state bond measure, thanks to our surprisingly fiscally conservative state legislature, we view it as more of a re-allocation of already authorized bonds from one program to another.

First, unlike most initiative-created bond measures, this one is not created by an outside special interest group seeking to shift more money away from the ever-shrinking discretionary funds managed by the legislature. Rather, this initiative finds its roots in Assembly Bill 639, sponsored by State Assembly Majority Leader John Pérez and passed both the Assembly and the State Senate unanimously. So, this is bond measure that has been planned for and is supported by our legislature as opposed to one that is being foisted upon them (as is the case for most bond measures).

Second, the legislature actually did plan for this measure. They identified an underutilized Cal-Vets program Created in 1922 and most recently funded by initiative in 2008. That program has about $600 million in authorized but unused bonds intended to help vets. So, the legislature de-funded $600 million in that program and passed AB 639 creating Proposition 41 to authorize the same $600 million in bonds be used for a smarter program. We at PolitoMuse are not fans of micro-managing our legislatures, so we would argue that it should be sufficient that the legislature has unanimously found the new program to be superior for us to support it. Nevertheless, the information in the voter guide and on-line suggests that the new program is more specifically directed toward low and very low-income veterans, whereas the old one is not. We think that is sensible. It appears that the problem with the old program was essentially that the vets, who qualified for it, didn’t need it because they have sufficient resources to qualify for market loans. Those that needed it, because they lacked financial resources, couldn’t qualify (see e.g. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-vets-housing-bonds-20130915-story.html).

There is one key difference in the “new” bonds issued through Proposition 41 as opposed to the old ones they are replacing. The old Cal-Vets program used monies collected from the vets to repay the bonds. So, while taxpayers were technically obligated by the bonds issued, they did not actually have to repay them; that was done by the vets who were beneficiaries of the program. Of course, this also meant the program could only be used by those who could repay the debt – hence the reason that the old program was under-utilized. The new program does not require the beneficiary to be able to fully re-pay the debt. So, presumably taxpayers will actually shoulder some if not all of the repayment obligation.

We think it is appropriate for taxpayers to help pay to house low-income (defined as earning no more than 80% of income earned by local families) and very low-income (defined as earning no more than 30% of income earned by local families) vets in California. We like that unlike the prior program this one will help homeless vets – a huge and ever-growing problem in California. (We’ll avoid the obvious rant about how reprehensible it is that brave men and women, who have endured combat and the associated physical and emotional scars, come home only to be forced to sleep on the streets.)  Also, we note that there are countless studies that show that paying to house very low-income individuals is far less expensive (i.e. more fiscally sound) for state and local governments when compared to allowing those individuals to remain homeless. Here is one study that shows that the total cost of “supportive housing” is about $600 per month while the aggregate costs to governments in dealing with the same individuals when they become homeless skyrockets to $2,897 (See http://www.economicrt.org/pub/Where_We_Sleep_2009/Where_We_Sleep.pdf). So, from both a moral and a financial standpoint, this program seems to make sense. Add to this analysis the fact that this program is intended to work with local governments, non-profits, and private investors, to leverage their monies and expertise, resulting both in better results and increased economic activity (funding increased construction etc.) and this would seem to be something of a “no-brainer.” This point also eliminates another of our common “pet peeves” regarding bonds – this proposal uses bond monies to build assets (here buildings and houses) generally, that is a more responsible use of borrowed money (as opposed to using borrowed money to simply fund continued salary or other operating costs in a program).

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued the most recent “Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress” in 2013 (https://www.onecpd.info/resources/documents/ahar-2013-part1.pdf) That study found that California has the highest percentage of homeless population in the U.S. and that after years of decline, the total number of homeless in California suddenly increased in 2013.  It is widely anticipated that as veterans continue to come home from the recent wars, those numbers will continue trending up.  Meanwhile, the number of homeless shelters in California declined.

Finally, we readily dismiss the single individual – Gary Wesley – who provided the argument against this proposition. His suggestion is that to address the present problem of homeless veterans the U.S. should avoid going to war in the future. Unless Mr. Wesley has a time machine, we don’t think that is sound policy.

VOTE YES

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GO VOTE — PolitoMuse Offers Complete Analysis on All 11 California Propositions And Selected Local Measures

Visit the PolitoMuse Propositions page for complete independent analysis of each of California proposition on this November’s ballot and the PolitoMuse Local Measures page for selected Measures.  Agree with us, disagree with us, post and vent, but whatever you do, fulfill you duty to educate yourself about the issues and then exercise your right to vote.

PolitoMuse State Proposition Recommendations:

PolitoMuse Selected Local Measure Recommendations:

We urge you to re-post the PolitoMuse URL on your personal network pages (Facebook etc), wear your “I Voted” sticker, and urge your friends and family to learn, debate, motivate, and VOTE.  Votes matter – just ask Mr. Dewey.

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Prop 31 – PolitoMuse Urges Throwing This Baby Out With The Bath

See our analysis of California’s Proposition 31 and its mishmash of various purported reforms.  Some of the ideas are good, some are bad, and some are none-of-the above.  Overall, we don’t think this watered down “reform” plan does anything to “advance the ball” on the key state issues that call out for government reform.

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Oh Molly… Why Californians Need To Reject 38 And Approve 30

We’ve got to hand it to Prop 38 backer Molly Munger, the multi-millionaire and her PR posse are pounding the airways with an avalanche of slick ads pushing her self-created tax plan. According to polls and questions we are getting here at PolitoMuse her money is yielding a strong return. Unfortunately, her ads are a bit loose with the truth.

“Prop 38 Doesn’t Restore Education Funding”

The Prop 38 folks just missed that one word we highlighted in making their ads. As we outline in our analysis of Prop 30 and Prop 38 only Proposition 30 restores the education funds removed in the last cost-cutting budget. Specifically:

  • Prop 38 restores exactly $0.00 of the funds cut from higher education – it will necessarily result in more increased tuition costs and reduced services to all community college, Cal State and U.C. students.
  • Prop 38 restores exactly $0.00 of the funds cut from Developmental Services (the folks that provide educational support for the disabled in California)
  • Prop 38 does not even “restore” the K-12 monies removed by the current budget. It provides different sums of money (resulting in a net reduction this year followed by a net gain in later years – more on that later) but then mandates that it be spent in a particular manner, including about $50 million (1%) to fund a new bureaucracy created by Prop 38 and some $750 million (12%) annually on computers and training whether schools need them or not.

By contrast, Proposition 30 does exactly what Proposition 38 falsely claims — it precisely “restores” the funds removed by the current budget cuts.  Cuts that were implemented with the intention of giving voters the choice posited by Proposition 30.

Prop 38 Doesn’t Keep Money Away From Bureaucrats

Molly and her PR folks missed that same important word on this claim too.  As we explain in our analysis, Prop 38 actually creates a massive bureaucracy; it just moves bureaucratic decisions from the legislature and local communities to the Superintendent of schools and a newly created non-legislative board (not exactly a “win” in our book).  It also imposes required spending on all schools throughout the state in a manner that will be good for some and bad for others.  For example, it will require spending on “technology” totaling nearly 750 million in year 2 and nearly $1 billion in years 5 through 12 – And like the rest of the initiative, that allocation cannot be changed absent passage of another state-wide proposition.  Finally, it does one of the biggest budgeting “no-no’s” one can do: It creates massive fluctuations in the income stream for both schools and the general fund. Here is how the estimated money flow looks just for K-12:

  • Year 1 = $3 Billion (a net $3 billion loss based on existing budget cuts)
  • Years 2-4 = a massive jump to about $6 billion
  • Years 5-12 = another jump (and a corresponding, inexplicable reduction in other expenditures) to over $8.5 billion.

The proponents of Prop 38 offer zero justification for the funding levels they selected, much less the rational for the sudden, massive, 50% increase between year one to two and the nearly 30% increase between years four and five.

Similar zigzagging of expenditures is found at the state general fund level which receives substantial funds to pay down debt for four years, followed by a sudden, unexplained, end to those payments (and no we will not come anywhere near paying off our debt after four years).

Prop 30 does the opposite.  It provides a steady, predictable, income stream at proven levels previously used by the State.

Voter Beware

As a matter of state law, Prop 30 and 38 can’t both be enacted. That means you have to pick one, the other, or neither. This is one of the many reasons proponents of Prop 30 begged Molly Munger to withdraw her well-intentioned, but poorly crafted, initiative. Because she refused, it means that those who support a modest tax increase to increase funding for education will be split between two competing statutes while those opposed will just vote against both. That is unfortunate for the reasons we set forth in our analyses. Our state desperately needs the funds targeted to the broad range of educational sources in Proposition 30. We hope voters will be savvy enough to wade through the confusion to vote in favor of 30 and against 38.

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PolitoMuse urges a “Yes” vote on Proposition 34

We carefully analyze the weighty pro and con arguments relating to Proposition 34 and conclude that it is one of those rare propositions that properly presents a well-reasoned change in state policy.  This particular change resolves a number of real problems while resulting in a net savings of tens of millions of dollars to state and county budgets.  We like that.  Agree?  Disagree?  Post your equally well-reasoned responses at the bottom of the analysis page.

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California Joins 21st Century – Offers Online Voter Reg

Yes that’s right – California has rolled out its online voter registration via an online application. This is especially great for you Silicon Valley readers, who have forgotten how to do anything that involves a piece of paper or a pen. You can find the online application here and some helpful FAQs.

You need to re-register to vote when:

  • You move to a new permanent residence,
  • You change your name, or
  • You change your political party choice.

Not sure if you are correctly registered?  Click here to find a complete list of all California County Election sites and check your status.

Californian’s registration must be postmarked or electronically submitted no later than October 22, 2012.

As of September 5th, 2012  17,259,680 people (representing 72.58% of eligible California voters) have registered to vote.

Make sure you are one of them!

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PolitoMuse Recommends No on Prop 32

A Yes vote on Proposition 32 promises to cut “the money tie between special interests and career politicians.” If only using all the right buzzwords made it so.

Read our full analysis here 

P.S. And isn’t ironic that the estimated combined spend on the Yes/No on Proposition 32 campaigns is over $50 million? True campaign finance reform is sorely needed in this state . . .

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