I'm going through the eleven propositions highlighting moments I thought were funny. I'm not an especially informed voter, but writing this motivates me to inform myself a bit more. Note that I may point out silly things said even by the side I agree with, but I make no claims of impartiality or balance.
Proposition 30 temporarily increases sales tax by 1/4 %, and increase the marginal income tax rate of filers who earn over 250K a year (that number is larger for joint filers and households). The $6 billion additional revenues will prevent impending $6 billion cuts to education programs.
[Opponents:] PROP. 30 IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS: It doesn't guarantee even one new dollar of funding for classrooms."NOT WHAT IT SEEMS" sure is an all-purpose argument. I found this funny because the proposition is explicitly meant to prevent cuts, not to increase spending.
Proposition 31 reforms something about the budgeting process, and I don't really understand it.
[Supporters:] [Proposition 31 will] Prevent state government from spending money we don't have.As I recall, California is in debt, and thus all the money we spend is technically money we don't have. For some reason, I think eliminating the entire California budget is not a winning proposition.
Proposition 32 prohibits unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It also prohibits them from making "political contributions", which is one of multiple ways to spend money on politics (it does not prohibit "independent expenditures", which are another way).
The proposition is kind of funny in itself. It's supposed to look "fair", because it applies to both unions and corporations, but only unions really get money from payroll deductions. Corporations get money from profits.
[Supporters:] SPECIAL INTERESTS ARE NOT TELLING YOU THE TRUTH.LOL buzzwords and generic arguments.
[Opponents:] [Prop. 32] costs Californians over a MILLION DOLLARS for phony reform.If you put it in all caps, it sounds like a lot, but in reality that's pebbles.
Proposition 33 allows auto insurance companies to discriminate prices based on whether the person has been covered by auto insurance over the past five years. Exemptions are made for people who didn't have auto insurance due to layoffs or furloughs or military service. The opponents point out that the proposition is 99% funded by Mercury Insurance's chairman.
[Named supporters include:] Estercita AldingerAnother buzzword! Guess what small business it is. Hint: It's auto insurance.
Small Business Owner
Proposition 34 repeals the death penalty, and applies retroactively to people already sentenced to death. The proposition also gives a one-time $100 million to law enforcement. The legislative analyst estimates that it will otherwise save at least $100 million a year in court costs.
[Supporters:] Evidence shows MORE THAN 100 INNOCENT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH in the U.S., and some have been executed!Look where in the sentence they stopped using all caps. One wonders why they're talking about the entire U.S. rather than just California.
[Opponents:] Abolishing the death penalty costs taxpayers $100 MILLION OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS AND MANY MILLIONS MORE IN THE FUTURE.This is so hilariously misleading. The $100 million is not an ongoing cost, but a one-time cost which was attached to the bill but appears otherwise unrelated to the death penalty. I don't know where the "many millions more" comes from, but I'm going to believe the legislative analyst instead.
[Opponents:] JERRY BROWN SAYS THERE ARE NO INNOCENT INMATES ON CALIFORNIA'S DEATH ROW.Well, sure, Jerry Brown would know. And I bet the California court system agrees. If the courts thought any of them were innocent, they wouldn't be on death row!
Proposition 35 increases penalties for human trafficking, requires that traffickers register as sex offenders, and that sex offenders provide information about their internet activities. There's some other stuff in there too.
The bill is opposed by sex workers, but they're obviously fighting a losing battle because hardly anyone is going to have sympathy for Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project, Inc.
The part that I found funny was that the opponents were obviously such amateurs. Instead of using the traditional ALL CAPS, they instead provided urls to articles. Who's gonna bother typing all those things into their browsers? It's like they think the way to win an election is to provide information, rather than to mislead and appeal to emotion.
Proposition 36 reforms the three strikes law such that the third strike must be a serious or violent felony (rather than any old felony). Some people convicted under the three strikes law may petition to have this new rule apply to them. The legislative analyst estimates that this will save $70 million a year, increasing up to $90 million a year.
[Opponents:] A hidden provision in 36 will allow thousands of dangerous criminals get their prison sentence REDUCED and then RELEASED FROM PRISON early.It's not exactly hidden. It's right there in the official summary!
[Opponents:] 36 WON'T REDUCE TAXES.Yes indeed. It is not a tax reduction bill. I read the summary.
Proposition 37 requires that genetically engineered foods be labeled as such.
[Supporters:] Proposition 37 will help protect your family's health. The FDA says "providing more information to consumers about bioengineered foods would be useful." Without accurate labeling, you risk eating foods you are allergic to.That sure is a quote mine if I ever saw one! I also like how they switch to talking about allergies as if that were a relevant point.
[Opponents:] [Prop. 37] EXEMPTS [from labeling] TWO-THIRDS OF THE FOODS CALIFORNIANS CONSUME--including products made by corporations funding the 37 campaign.That just makes me wonder how they are counting foods.
[Opponents:] [Prop. 37] would cost taxpayers millions.There's an error there: they forgot to put "MILLIONS" in all caps.
Proposition 38 is another bill that temporarily increases taxes for education funding, just like proposition 30. The tax looks less progressive, and I get the sense that 38 has less support than 30. Proposition 38 and 30 are conflicting initiatives, and the one that gets more votes is the one that will take effect. (Technically, if 38 gets more votes, part of 30 will still go into effect.)
[Opponents use this as a section title:] $120 Billion Income Tax Hike on Most CaliforniansHere they inflate the numbers by omitting the fact that it's $120 billion over 12 years.
[Opponents:] If you earn $17,346 or more per year in taxable income, Prop. 38 raises your California personal income tax rate by as much as 21% on top of what you pay the Federal government.There are two jokes hidden here. First, by 21% they really mean that for certain tax brackets, the income tax increases from 9.3% to 11.3%. Second, the tax bracket for which this occurs is not the one above $17,346, but the one above $500K. lolmath. This one was so shameless that it actually got mentioned in the rebuttal!
Proposition 39 changes the way multistate businesses calculate the taxes, leading to an increase in annual revenues of about $1 billion. $550 million of that is dedicated to energy efficency and clean energy jobs, while the rest would likely be spent on public schools and community colleges.
[Named proponents include:] Tom Steyer, ChairmanMy boyfriend pointed out that Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs was a front organization. If you look up Tom Steyer, he does many notable things, and Wikipedia doesn't consider Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs to be among them. I was interested to see what "small business" Jane Skeeter owns. Apparently, it's a glass sculpture company. Actually, that's kind of cool!
Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs
California Small Business Owner
[Supporters:] LEGISLATURES AND LOBBYISTS CREATED THE LOOPHOLE IN A BACKROOM DEAL IN 2009.
[Opponents:] Prop. 39 ALSO ADDS NEW BUREAUCRACY--MILLIONS IN SALARIES AND PENSIONS FOR POLITICAL CRONIES.Everyone is using the all caps buzzwords!
Proposition 40 is a referendum to approve the new state senate districts created by the Citizens Redistricting Commision, which was created in 2008 to reduce gerrymandering. Apparently, no one opposes Proposition 40.
My boyfriend had to explain this one to me. People may challenge state senate districts by making a state proposition. Confusingly, the challengers want a NO vote on the proposition, since by convention a YES means approving the districts. Here, the NO sponsors appear to be senators who wanted more gerrymandered districts for this election. However, the California supreme court ruled that even if Proposition 40 got voted down, it would only apply to the next election, not this one. Following this ruling, the sponsors withdrew their campaign.
By withdrawing their sponsorship, the senators are basically admitting dishonesty. If they truly thought the districts were bad, they would continue to ask for a NO vote. But they really only wanted a NO because they thought it would help them get reelected this one time.