California Democratic Party’s Official Positions on Ballot Measures

California Democratic Party’s Official Positions on Ballot Measures (Nov. 2012)

YES on Prop. 30: Schools & Local Public Safety Protection Act

The measure promoted by Governor Jerry Brown would increase personal income taxes on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years and the sales tax by ¼ cent for four years. While the funds would be earmarked for K-12 and community colleges, it would free up other state funds for vital needs of California. If it fails there will likely be a reduction in the length of the school year.

NO on Prop. 31: Unilateral Budget Cuts

Proposes an amendment to the state constitution to require a two-year state budget. It would also prohibit the Legislature from authorizing expenditures of more than $25 million unless new revenues or spending cuts are identified. The measure also allows the Governor to cut the budget unilaterally during declared “fiscal emergencies” if the Legislature fails to act.

NO on Prop. 32: Special Exemptions Act

Backed by right-wing and anti-worker business interests, this measure prohibits union political fundraising through payroll deductions. It would also ban unions from giving to candidates. While backers are promoting it as reform, it would do nothing to prevent multimillionaires and many businesses from contributing to campaigns, and it would increase the role of shadowy “super PACs” in political spending. Prop. 32 would dry up funding for Democrats and tilt the playing field heavily to favor businesses and the wealthy.

NO on Prop. 33: Auto Insurance Rate Increases

This industry-sponsored initiative is designed to undermine the Fair Insurance Rates Initiative. It would base auto insurance rates on whether a driver has had continuous coverage rather than on the risk of car accidents. The result would raise premiums for good drivers and punish people who stop driving for legitimate reasons.

YES on Prop. 34: SAFE CaliforniaAct

Repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. It would apply retroactively to the 700+ inmates on death row. Convicted killers will remain behind bars forever – and the state would no longer risk executing innocent people. The Legislative Analyst says the measure could create net annual savings in the high tens of millions of dollars.

YES on Prop. 35: Stop Human Trafficking

Also known as the CASE Act, this measure would increase criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15 years-to-life and fines up to $1,500,000. It would also require those convicted of trafficking to register as sex offenders and to provide information regarding their Internet access and identities they use in online activities.

YES on Prop. 36: Three StrikesReformAct

This measure would revise the law to require that the third felony that triggers a life sentence under “three strikes” must be a serious or violent offense. Dangerous criminals would stay in prison, and taxpayers would save over $100 million annually.

YES on Prop. 37: Labels for Genetically Modified Food

Requires labeling on food made from plants or animals with genetic material modified in certain ways. It would prohibit labeling or advertising such food as “natural” and would exempt foods that are certified organic and food sold in restaurants.

NO on Prop. 38: Middle Class Income Tax Hike

Also known as the “Munger Initiative,” this measure contains serious flaws that would hurt middle-class families and the working poor and blow an immediate $6 billion hole in the state’s education budget. It increases tax rates for every Californian with taxable income, locking those increases in for 12 years regardless of the budget situation in future years. While it claims to raise money for schools, due to a flaw in the initiative schools would not receive any new funding until the end of 2013.

YES on Prop. 39: Multistate Corporate Tax Formula (No Position has been changed to Yes on Prop 39)

Increases energy efficiency and clean energy jobs in the state

YES on Prop. 40: Referendum on New Senate Districts

This is a referendum and not an initiative, so a YES vote is needed to affirm the current law and keep the new State Senate districts in place. This measure was sponsored by the Republican Party to challenge the redistricting of the Senate. The Republicans have abandoned the campaign, but the matter is still on the ballot.