State ballot measures you need to know about
Proposition 25 Proposition 19 Legalizes Marijuana In California and Permits Local Governments to Regulate and Tax Commercial Production, Distribution and Sales
If passed on Nov. 2, Proposition 19 would legalize the possession, cultivation and transportation of up to an ounce of cannabis for personal use, for those over 21, as well as making it legal for adults to grow up to 25 square feet per residence. Local governments could regulate and tax commercial production and sales, helping to alleviate budget shortfalls.
Supporters say it would generate about $1.4 billion in revenue for the state, grow the economy and create up to 110,000 new jobs. They also argue that Prop. 19 would shift police priorities toward violent crime while reducing the racial bias in marijuana-related arrests.
The proposition has an interesting and diverse group of opponents, ranging from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (who worry it could endanger school children and the roads) to many medical marijuana growers and patients, and even plain old tokers. Pro-pot opponents of Prop. 19 say it is a poorly written, ill-intentioned measure that is aimed at the corporatization of marijuana. Additionally, they oppose it because it will effectively make possession more of a crime than it is now (the governor recently reduced possession to an infraction, like a parking ticket), and be counteractive in decriminalizing the substance. Many urge voters to wait for a better piece of legislation, rather than “rushing into a law that will be difficult to change,” according to stop19.com.
Proposition 21 Vehicle License Fee for Parks Act
Supporters of the popular Save Our State Parks movement are kicking up their heels with joy as they race to the ballot boxes to cast their votes in favor of Proposition 21, which will create a mandatory $18 vehicle license fee to raise around $500 million per year for California’s 278 state parks. In return, drivers will receive free entry and parking at the state’s beaches and parks. The money will be used to operate, maintain and repair the state parks, as well as protect wildlife and natural resources. Those who oppose Prop. 21 say it’s just an excuse for lawmakers to continue overspending while raising California’s taxes. Opponents point out that Prop. 21 is diverting tax revenue which could be used to help fund more important sectors like healthcare or education.
Proposition 23 Suspends Implementation of Air Pollution Control Law (AB 32)
Proposition 23 will suspend AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, before it even takes effect. If Prop. 23 passes, implementing AB 32 will have to wait until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent and stays there for a year, a feat of economic strength which California has managed just three times since 1980. Supporters of Prop. 23 are calling it the “California Jobs Initiative,” and say the proposition would lower energy costs and boost much-needed economic activity by creating new jobs and saving existing blue-collar jobs. The majority of funding for Prop. 23 comes from oil companies outside of California, including two Texas-based oil companies, Valero Energy Corporation and Tesoro Companies.
AB 32, which Prop. 23 will suspend, is considered landmark clean air legislation and requires greenhouse gas emission levels in California to be cut to 1990 levels by 2020.
Opponents have named Prop. 23 the “Dirty Energy Proposition,” and argue that voting No on Prop. 23 will help the economy by creating more jobs in the clean energy sector, which has a rate of growth 10 times the state’s average job growth rate. Opponents point out that California’s clean energy firms have received 60 percent of venture capital funds in North America. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined the No camp, saying, “The effort to suspend AB 32 is the work of greedy oil companies who want to keep polluting in our state and making profits.”
Proposition 24 Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks
If voters pass Proposition 24, California can renege on its agreement to provide corporate tax breaks for around 120,000 businesses. It’s a move that would make the state $1.3 billion richer each year, starting in 2012.
Supporters of Prop. 24, such as the California Teachers Association, argue that tax breaks are unfair and should be ended in order to help fund California schools, although there is no provision in Prop. 24 that says the money would be used for education. Opponents say it’s bad for businesses of all sizes, and may send big corporate employers packing, with unemployment as their parting gift to the state of California.
Proposition 25 Majority Vote for Legislature to Pass the Budget
Majority will rule if Proposition 25 makes the cut. Because the voting threshold in the state legislature would go from two-thirds to a simple majority, proponents say it would, among other things, help prevent budget impasses like the 100-day impasse that only recently ended on Oct. 1. Forty-seven other states are already doing it. What’s more, under Prop. 25, budget-deliberating, procrastinating state legislators will be given a taste of their own medicine—if the budget hasn’t been passed by its usual June 15 deadline, they stop getting paid.
On the flip side, organizations who oppose Prop. 25, like the California Taxpayers Association, say it is a smokescreen that will allow the government to raise taxes without the traditional two-thirds approval.