Now that the Thanksgiving table has been cleared and most of the leftovers have been consumed, it’s time for we Californians to take stock of some things for which we have and have not to be thankful, at least in terms of the state’s new rules and regulations.
The consequences of the eleven propositions on the California ballot seem to have been largely overlooked because national, state, and local spotlights have been trained on Red and Blue outcomes. And, of course, the news media have been concentrating on the horrendous fires that have been ravishing our state, especially those in Paradise and the Malibu area.
Proposition 1: Passed
The first proposition on our ballots authorizes the State of California to issue $4 billion in bonds to preserve existing affordable housing-assistance programs for low-income residents, veterans, and farm workers. These bonds will be sold to private investors, and the legislature will repay them with money taken from the General Fund.
Both the State Senate and Assembly approved the proposition, and there was no major opposition to it.
Propositon 2: Passed
This proposition now allows the State to allocate $2 billion to house people in need of mental-health services. Both houses of the state legislature approved the ballot item, probably because the money is already available. It was funded in 2004, when the state passed Proposition 63 which levied an additional 1 percent tax on residents who had at least $1 million in income. Therefore, the money for the bonds will come from that revenue, not from new taxes or the General Fund.
Proposition 3: Failed
This is one of the propositions that was placed on the ballot because enough signatures were collected from registered voters. It would have authorized the State to issue $8.8 billion in general obligation bonds for water infrastructure, groundwater and surface-water storage, and dam repair. It would also have provided funds for watershed and fishery improvements and restoration.
The measure was supported by Rep. Jim Costa, but it was opposed by the San Diego Union Tribune, which claimed that the proposition was just “throwing money at a problem.” This seems to have been one of those urban v. rural issues that were seen to affect national elections, as well. Water, as we in Madera know well, is a crucial factor here in the Central Valley; San Diego, which benefits from the runoff of the Colorado River, has different problems and priorities.
Proposition 4: Passed
The State is now authorized to issue $1.4 billion in bonds for children’s hospitals. The money will be used to build, renovate, and expand hospitals which concentrate on children. It also authorizes these funds to be spent on new equipment or for the replacement of existing equipment. It was placed on the ballot because enough signatures were obtained, and it was not opposed by any major organizations, although a private citizen wrote an argument against its passage. It was endorsed by the California Children’s Hospital Association, California Teachers Association, and several hospital-specific groups.
Proposition 5: Failed
If this proposition had passed, it would have allowed residents older than 55, severely disabled, or whose property was destroyed or contaminated to transfer their tax assessments from their older home to their new home, regardless of the value or location of the new home.
It was backed by the California Association of Realtors, arguing that it would assist older Californians who wished to downsize by selling larger older homes and buying smaller ones, although a new small home might well cost significantly more than an older, large one. The California Teachers Association opposed the motion. Teacher salaries often increase only when the tax base expands.
Had this proposition passed, I think it would have been a tremendous help for those who lost everything to the fire that decimated Paradise. Many of the residents were retired and had purchased their homes a decade or more ago, when prices and, hence, assessed valuation were considerably lower.
Proposition 6: Failed
This may have been the most controversial ballot measure. Its approval would have repealed the 2017 legislature-imposed additional gasoline tax and vehicle registration fee. It was placed on the ballot because its backers collected enough signatures from registered voters although it was opposed by Governor Jerry Brown and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. It is estimated that it would have reduce projected state revenue by $2.9 billion for Fiscal Year (FI) 2020 and $4.9 billion for FI 2021.
Proposition 7: Passed
This measure has no fiscal impact on Californians, it simply allows the legislature to eliminate the current system of changing our clocks from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time in the spring and then changing back again in the Fall.
Proposition 8: Failed
If this measure had passed, it would have required kidney dialysis clinics to refund all revenue above 115 percent of the cost of direct patient care to their patients or their insurance providers. It was opposed by the California Medical Association and the National Kidney Foundation. But, if it had passed, it could have saved millions of dollars per year in reduced patient-care costs.
Proposition 9: Removed
This would have divided California into multiple, smaller states, but was removed from the ballot by the State Supreme Court.
Proposition 10: Failed
Had Proposition 10 passed, it would have revoked the existing Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and allowed local governments throughout the state to adopt rent-control measures on residential property.
It was opposed by both gubernatorial candidates, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom and John Cox. It was backed by the California Teachers Association and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. Opponents raised nearly $34.8 million; proponents collected a little more than $12.6 million.
Proposition 11: Passed
As a result of the election, private-sector emergency ambulance employees are required to remain “on call” during work breaks. Although it was backed by American Medical Response, it was opposed by the California Teachers Association. Perhaps unionized teachers saw the proposition as a possible precedent for other employee unions.
Proposition 12: Passed
There are now new standards for the confinement of specified farm animals and a ban on the sale of certain products that may be harmful to animals or to human beings who may consume animal products. In a decidedly mixed message, it was backed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and opposed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
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Please note: Analyses of the propositions was done by CALmatters, a non-partisan, non-profit group. Any opinions, expressed or implied, are my own.
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Jim Glynn may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.