Hi everyone and welcome back to my voting guide. If you're just looking for the official voter guide, that's available on the California Secretary of State's website [here]. The pull-outs below are direct from the state voter's guide; each is the official summary of the bill. [more] links are to editorials I substantially agree with.
If you need to confirm that you're registered to vote, "we have an app for that". Please click [this link] to access it. Do note the last day to register is October 22nd! Monday!!!
Without further ado, here are the different propositions and why you should vote YES or NO on them.
AUTHORIZES BONDS TO FUND SPECIFIED HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. LEGISLATIVE STATUTE.
Authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for existing affordable housing programs for low-income residents, veterans, farmworkers, manufactured and mobile homes, infill, and transit-oriented housing. Fiscal Impact: Increased state costs to repay bonds averaging about $170 million annually over the next 35 years.
Vote YES. Directly subsidizes housing. It's not perfect -- the money for veterans is a homebuying subsidy, for example. The matching funds from the federal government will be massive, up to 4x what we put in. [more]
AUTHORIZES BONDS TO FUND EXISTING HOUSING PROGRAM FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS. LEGISLATIVE STATUTE.
Amends Mental Health Services Act to fund No Place Like Home Program, which finances housing for individuals with mental illness. Ratifies existing law establishing the No Place Like Home Program. Fiscal Impact: Allows the state to use up to $140 million per year of county mental health funds to repay up to $2 billion in bonds. These bonds would fund housing for those with mental illness who are homeless.
Vote YES. Directly subsidizes housing for mentally ill homeless people. Housing is, according to all the literature I've read, the best known solution for homelessness. Note that the bill takes out a bond, which will be paid for by the "millionaire's tax" (an additional 1% tax on income over $1m/y). That tax already exists; this just directs some of the money to repay the bond. The original millionaire's tax funds (among other things) care for the mentally ill in CA. According to the authors, this is a fix for a broken detail in the original bill.[more]
AUTHORIZES BONDS TO FUND PROJECTS FOR WATER SUPPLY AND QUALITY, WATERSHED, FISH, WILDLIFE, WATER CONVEYANCE, AND GROUNDWATER SUSTAINABILITY AND STORAGE. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
Authorizes $8.877 billion in state general obligation bonds for various infrastructure projects. Fiscal Impact: Increased state costs to repay bonds averaging $430 million per year over 40 years. Local government savings for water-related projects, likely averaging a couple hundred million dollars annually over the next few decades.
Vote YES. It's a really massive, really expensive bond that pays for critical water infrastructure maintenance all over california. This is in addition to the 4bn we approved in Prop 68 recently. $13bn sounds like a good down payment on water infrastructure — critical to surviving climate change. Note: My advice is contrary to most of the editorials. This bill reads like it's 100% pork, but I think we need to spend some money on water. No judgement if you vote against. [more]
AUTHORIZES BONDS FUNDING CONSTRUCTION AT HOSPITALS PROVIDING CHILDREN’S HEALTH CARE. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
Authorizes $1.5 billion in bonds, to be repaid from state’s General Fund, to fund grants for construction, expansion, renovation, and equipping of qualifying children’s hospitals. Fiscal Impact: Increased state costs to repay bonds averaging about $80 million annually over the next 35 years.
Vote YES. Renovates and expands critical children's hospitals throughout California. Totally and absolutely a giveaway to the hospitals involved. [more]
CHANGES REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTAIN PROPERTY OWNERS TO TRANSFER THEIR PROPERTY TAX BASE TO REPLACEMENT PROPERTY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.
Removes certain transfer requirements for homeowners over 55, severely disabled homeowners, and contaminated or disaster-destroyed property. Fiscal Impact: Schools and local governments each would lose over $100 million in annual property taxes early on, growing to about $1 billion per year. Similar increase in state costs to backfill school property tax losses.
Vote NO. Makes Prop 13's massive tax losses even worse by expanding the transferrability of the lower-tax-rate. Will cost us 100m->1bn in lost tax revenue. NOPE. Voting yes on this is enabling people with the means to purchase one home, then another, to transfer their tax base from house 1 to 2. [more]
Prop 13 short story: Law passed in CA, in '78, which limits the way property taxes can be raised and assessed. So: theoretically, a house's value would be assessed yearly, every half decade, etc on some schedule. At the time the value is assessed, property tax is set (some % of that assessed value. say: $450k house, 1% rate, so you pay $4500/y in property taxes). Prop 13 changed this basic idea by only having houses re-assessed at sale-time. So if you bought a house back in the day, your tax rates have only gone up by around inflation (~2%/y). So people who bought back then paid, say, $30k for their house. They're still paying $30k-level property taxes. But, it's 2018, so their house is now worth $285k or whatever. See the issue?
Prop 5 allows those people to "port" that low tax rate somewhere else. They sell their $285k house and put that money on a new one. Their new ($625k) house property tax rate adjusts up (because the new house is more expensive), but it is not fully re-assessed. It stays low, based on that first houses' purchase price.
ELIMINATES CERTAIN ROAD REPAIR AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING. REQUIRES CERTAIN FUEL TAXES AND VEHICLE FEES BE APPROVED BY THE ELECTORATE. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
Repeals a 2017 transportation law's taxes and fees designated for road repairs and public transportation. Fiscal Impact: Reduced ongoing revenues of $5.1 billion from state fuel and vehicle taxes that mainly would have paid for highway and road maintenance and repairs, as well as transit programs.
Vote HELL NO. This is a repeal of the gas tax. It also makes it more difficult to pass taxes like this in the future. Sorry, our roads are shit, and the tax pays for the fixes. [more]
CONFORMS CALIFORNIA DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME TO FEDERAL LAW. ALLOWS LEGISLATURE TO CHANGE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME PERIOD. LEGISLATIVE STATUTE.
Gives Legislature ability to change daylight saving time period by two-thirds vote, if changes are consistent with federal law. Fiscal Impact: This measure has no direct fiscal effect because changes to daylight saving time would depend on future actions by the Legislature and potentially the federal government.
Vote YES. This doesn't do anything on its face but grant california congress the ability to change DST by 2/3 vote. The context of this is that we're considering doing away with DST and not springing-forward/falling-back. For me, this is a "fuckit, let's see what happens" vote. [more]
REGULATES AMOUNTS OUTPATIENT KIDNEY DIALYSIS CLINICS CHARGE FOR DIALYSIS TREATMENT. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
Requires rebates and penalties if charges exceed limit. Requires annual reporting to the state. Prohibits clinics from refusing to treat patients based on payment source. Fiscal Impact: Overall annual effect on state and local governments ranging from net positive impact in the low tens of millions of dollars to net negative impact in the tens of millions of dollars.
Vote YES. This is a thorny one. Two things: 1:: There's one company that does most dialysis, and they rake in the cash (inappropriately), 2:: this is literally the government (we, it's us, the government is us) setting price caps. I'm fairly confident this will decrease healthcare costs, and it is unironically supported by insurance companies (who are being bled dry by the dialysis companies). The arguments against this indicate they think the company will close a bunch of dialysis clinics... but those patients aren't going away... which means if that happens there will be an immediate opportunity for someone else to make that money. [more]
Proposition 9 was removed from the ballot by the CA State Supreme Court.
EXPANDS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS’ AUTHORITY TO ENACT RENT CONTROL ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
Repeals state law that currently restricts the scope of rent control policies that cities and other local jurisdictions may impose on residential property. Fiscal Impact: Potential net reduction in state and local revenues of tens of millions of dollars per year in the long term. Depending on actions by local communities, revenue losses could be less or considerably more.
Vote YES. This... enables local cities and counties to decide if they want rent control. It is not, itself, rent control. [more]
REQUIRES PRIVATE-SECTOR EMERGENCY AMBULANCE EMPLOYEES TO REMAIN ON-CALL DURING WORK BREAKS. ELIMINATES CERTAIN EMPLOYER LIABILITY. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
Law entitling hourly employees to breaks without being on-call would not apply to private-sector ambulance employees. Fiscal Impact: Likely fiscal benefit to local governments (in the form of lower costs and higher revenues), potentially in the tens of millions of dollars each year.
Vote NO. I love emergency services, but I'm definitely NOT in the business of denying people their breaks. This would be passing a law to deny people their smoke breaks. It reads as a silly fix to the wrong problem -- the problem being privatized ambulance companies who want to continue violating labor laws. This gives the private corp bosses legal cover to deny breaks. Nah. [more]
ESTABLISHES NEW STANDARDS FOR CONFINEMENT OF SPECIFIED FARM ANIMALS; BANS SALE OF NONCOMPLYING PRODUCTS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
Establishes minimum requirements for confining certain farm animals. Prohibits sales of meat and egg products from animals confined in noncomplying manner. Fiscal Impact: Potential decrease in state income tax revenues from farm businesses, likely not more than several million dollars annually. State costs up to $10 million annually to enforce the measure.
Vote YES. Extensive law that does two main things: mandates space for various kinds of animals (to increase how humanely they're raised), and bans the sale of noncompliant meat, eggs, and other products. Note: this will absolutely raise food prices in the short and medium term. Long term, I think food quality will improve as implementation progresses. PETA opposes the bill, essentially because it's an incremental improvement and not a proper fix (which would end factory farming of animals). [CA LAO]