On Nov. 6, we will vote for 12 propositions. Of those 12, six concern social issues, which, as per our policy, we avoid comment upon because they are divisive. But how do the remaining six stack up against the Tea Party Patriot tenets of promoting "government fiscal responsibility," "constitutionally-limited government" and "support of free markets"?
Prop. 30, Governor's Tax initiative:
Fails "fiscal responsibility in government" criteria and we recommend a vote of "no." Supporters allege that it will offset proposed education spending cuts. Most likely, its revenues will prop up the insolvent teachers pension fund, a grossly mismanaged fund, and increase the size of the education bureaucracy. The California School Board Association backs the new tax but admits it provides no new funding to schools. The proposition is alleged to be a "temporary" tax; right, just like the temporary 0.25 percent sales tax it extends. Bottom line is that it is yet another tax without a reduction in spending. Competes with Prop. 38 — if both propositions are passed, the one with the most votes prevails.
Prop. 31, State Budget initiative:
Fails our "constitutionally-limited government" criteria and we recommend a vote of "no." Some are referring to this proposition as a "Trojan horse" because it attempts to change the state budgeting process but devotes 2,041 words to "Community Strategic Action Plans." That section of the proposition would establish de facto unelected regional governing groups to which cities, schools and counties would voluntarily give some of their governance. In exchange, cities, schools and counties would receive additional funding from the state (unfunded by the proposition) and receive authorization to rewrite state laws and regulations they do not agree with (that "interfere with their Action Plans"). Trial lawyers will love this.
Prop. 32, Political Contributions initiative:
This proposition meets all three of our criteria and we recommend a vote of "yes." This proposition, while not perfect, attempts to curb the "crony-unionism" that is bankrupting the state. As we have written before, the present system is a money laundering system that people go to jail for in the private sector. This initiative prohibits mandatory (payee did not expressly approve) payroll deductions for political use as determined by union and corporate management. This is the so-called "hard money" in the California political system. Estimates are that union political funding in the California system would be reduced from $100 million to $15 million, making the playing field even for all. Strong opposition by the California Teachers Unions means that this proposition has the right stuff.
Prop. 37, Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling initiative:
Fails all three of our criteria and we recommend a vote of "no." First off, we already have food regulators; why fund more? Second, the cost will be passed on to consumers in their food bills as another "hidden tax" driven by regulation. Moreover, defined labeling requirements are inconsistent, requiring labeling in one instance and not in another for the same "genetically engineered" food. It should be understood that this would be fertile ground for lawsuits and possible significant impact on products produced in the Lodi area.
Prop. 38, Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood programs initiative:
Fails "fiscal responsibility in government" criteria and we recommend a vote of "no." What can be said? Yet another good-sounding tax initiative for the schools. According to the California Department of Finance, 52 to 55 percent of the State General Fund budget is spent on K-12 and higher education. Voters should be asking why the school systems need more.
Prop. 39, Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses initiative:
Fails all three of our criteria and we recommend a vote of "no." It raises taxes by at least $1 billion annually on businesses that do not base their operations in California, and the funds would be used to fund clean energy jobs. Multistate businesses presently represent the third-largest revenue source for the state's general fund. If this proposition passes, why would these companies maintain a presence in California at all? No, this is a net job-killer.
Ed Miller is a leader of the Lodi TEA Party. Find out more by attending the Lodi Tea Party general meeting on Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the United Congregational Christian Church, 701 S. Hutchins St., Lodi.