This November, Californians will have the opportunity to vote for 11 propositions that include rescinding a gas tax, funding for housing projects, reconsidering daylight savings and adding new standards for farm animals.
I am giving a short recap of each and how I’m voting.
Of course, we all share different opinions and views. But the greatness of our country is that we can and should have discussions about things that can influence our lives with proper dialog.
There’s a lot to consider as you prepare to cast your vote by mail or at the poll booth. Here’s a breakdown of all 11. (Note: The propositions are numbered 1-12 but proposition 9 was pulled in July by order of the California Supreme Court.)
Proposition 1: $4 billion in bonds to fund existing affordable housing projects for low-income families and veterans. Adds about $170 million annually to California’s costs over a 35-year period. The total cost of the bond will cost the taxpayers $5.9 billion. There are a lot of pet projects written into this proposition and both sides agree that it will not fix the housing shortage. I’m voting NO for several reasons.
Proposition 2: An act to amend a current law to utilize $140 million per year to fund the No Place Like Home program, which provides housing to the mentally ill who are homeless. The funds would be used to pay back bond debt of $2 billion that funds the program. In 2004, Californians enacted a millionaires tax to be used for mental health. This proposition expands the ways it can be used towards the mentally ill to include housing. I’m voting YES.
Proposition 3: A bond proposal to fund clean sustainable water supplies and storage. The ask is for $8.877 billion with a repayment schedule of $430 million per year for 40-years. Didn’t we pass water bonds just two years ago to do exactly the same thing? And didn’t we just pass a $ 4.1 billion water infrastructure improvement bond on June 5? I won’t be voting on this one.
Proposition 4: Asks for $1.5 billion in funds to help pay for construction, expansion, renovation and equipment for children’s hospitals throughout the state. Costs the state $80 million annually over 35-years to repay. While the cause is noble in name, it just adds to our overall debt that locks us in when the next recession happens. The League of Women Voters is even against it opposing public funds for private non-profit ventures.
Proposition 5: Allows the transfer of property taxes to a replacement home for individuals over 55, the disabled, loss of primary home due to contamination or natural destruction. Will impact schools and local government due to potential loss of tax revenues. The real estate industry is for it as it will allow seniors to move and not be landlocked due to higher potential property taxes, even if they downgrade to smaller homes. I will be voting YES on this. (Full disclosure, I am now over 55 and this could be self-serving).
Proposition 6: Would repeal the 2017 increased gasoline taxes and fees (gas tax) established for public roads. This is the controversial roads additional tax passed by Sacramento last year. We have been basically paying this for the past 20 years but now all the money that was directed towards this were not fulfilled for the intended use. Using road money on a train that is billions over what we voted for does not make sense to me. Of course our roads need to be fix but we are currently paying for this and have been doing so for a long time. The mismanagement of our roads money needs to stop before we give more to our legislature. I was in Florida last week and saw gas prices at the $2.62 level per gallon. This morning the average cost per gallon in the Los Angeles area per Gasbuddy was $3.84 per gallon. That will cost the average family over $800 annually including car fees. It disproportionately impacts those who least can afford it. I will be voting yes on this proposition.
Proposition 7: Would align California with federal law related to daylight savings with no fiscal impact to the state. This doesn’t really matter since it would take an act of congress to change it. I’m neutral on this and resent that we are wasting taxpayer dollars on this ballot measure to take a public opinion poll. The California legislature should not waste their time with things that cannot happen.
Proposition 8: Establishes limits on charge amounts dialysis clinics have for treatment. This is a controversial proposition as opponents including the state’s nurses association and medical association charge the proposition will actually increase the risk to patients by not providing full treatments. Like everything else it takes reading the fine print to get the real reasons we are having this discussion. Since this is such a vital medical service I hesitate to vote for changes without having vetted the potential alternatives. I am voting NO on this one.
Proposition 10: Rent control enactment would repeal current restrictions faced by cities and other local jurisdictions. I really do believe this will make the housing problem a lot worse and will impact the potential building of new housing. I also believe that each local municipality should always have control on such decision in their own cities. I will be voting NO on this because I believe it will hinder those who need the help the most.
Proposition 11: This would require private-sector ambulance operators to have their hourly paid employees on-call during standard break-time. It seems to be a labor dispute and I’m surprised we are voting on such an issue. It will slightly lower EMT contract cost and save local government some undetermined dollars. I will be voting YES.
Proposition 12: This would set a standard for caging and/or confinement of specific farm animals with a prohibition on sales of animals confined outside of the new standards. This adds new regulations to Prop 2 voted in by the voters in 2008. I will be voting NO on this not because I don’t care but because Prop 2 did a lot to protect our egg laying hens.
I know it’s a lot to digest. But very important that we look at both sides and who put the initiatives on the ballot. The TV commercials all seem to make sense (on both sides) but we need to look deeper and not be influenced by who has the most money. We have voted in things we have regretted in the past and our cost continue to escalate on many of them.
This is the time for us to do our research. Be informed and research your candidates, your local ballot initiatives and the big propositions that affect all of us.
And please, go out and vote. In our unique and great country we are privileged to have this amazing right!
Mario A. Guerra is the former mayor of Downey and current treasurer of the California Republican Party. He can be reached at Mario@guerrains.com