Don’t look for many Obama political ads in November.
Don’t look for many Romney ads, either.
That’s because California is locked up for Obama, said Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce.
Zaremberg offered an overview of the political scene in California, with a special focus on the upcoming November election. Prior to joining the chamber, he was chief legislative adviser to Governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson.
Drawing strong interest will be two competing measures that would raise taxes, one pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown, one by wealthy activist Mollie Munger.
Brown’s measure would tap mainly high-income Californians and pour the proceeds into the state’s general fund. Munger’s would tax a broader base of citizens and send the funds raised directly into public education.
Zaremberg believes both will have trouble at the polls, in part because voters will be confused by them.
He said Brown’s has the stronger chance of winning, though. That’s because it would fall largely on the rich.
“If Brown crafted a tax that would fall equally on all taxpayers, it wouldn’t have a chance of passing,” he said.
Even so, he said Brown’s proposal would only prolong the state’s roller-coaster budgeting woes, as it would build an even heavier reliance on the volatile income cycles of California’s most affluent residents.
One of the hottest measures is aimed at limiting political influence by unions. It would effectively stop the flow of payroll-deduction money for political spending. Backed by interests in Orange County, the measure would also limit payroll deductions by companies for political purposes.
The real purpose, Zaremberg said, is to limit the political power of unions, and unions will spend big money, probably $50 million or more, to try and defeat it.
Another controversial November measure seeks to end the death penalty in California. Zaremberg said the death penalty is “dysfunctional” and very expensive to carry out.
An ideal ballot measure, he said, might propose ways to streamline the death penalty and make it less financially burdensome.
“Unfortunately, the November measure simply asks whether a dysfunctional death penalty should continue, or whether it should be tossed out,” he said.
The June primary was the first election under new rules that should provide more competition among candidates, he said.
Under the old system, only the most extreme candidates typically won primary elections and advanced to the general elections. Now, candidates must appeal to a wider range of voters, which should lead, at least over time, to legislators who are less divided and more moderate.
The new system, he said, should give voters more power over those who serve in Sacramento.
Contact Editor Rich Hanner at firstname.lastname@example.org.