Fri, Oct 1, 2010 -- 10:00 AM
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 -- 10:00 AM
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Our election coverage continues with a debate on Proposition 26, which would require that any new California state and local fees be approved by two-thirds vote. Currently, these are passed by majority vote.
Host: John Myers
- John Dunlap, director of Environmental Solutions Worldwide, Inc. and a proponent of Prop. 26
- Lenny Goldberg, executive director of the California Tax Reform Association and an opponent of Prop. 26
Read a transcript of the program below.
00:00:12 JOHN MYERS
From KQED public radio this is Forum. Good morning. I'm John Myers sitting in for Dave Iverson from our studios in Sacramento. What's the difference between a fee and a tax? Well, supporters of a measure on the November ballot say there isn't much difference in the way fees have been assessed in California, that's why voters should approve Proposition 26. Prop 26 would make it harder to impose fees both at the state and local level, but opponents say making those fees harder to impose threatens scores of important worthwhile programs that are funded my fees on certain groups
00:00:42 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
From polluters to users of a particular service. This hour on Forum, the pros and cons of Prop 26. Guests representing both viewpoints will make their case and you, the audience, also get to chime in. That's coming up on Forum after the news.
00:01:00 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
From KQED public radio this is Forum. Good morning, I'm John Myers sitting in for Dave Iverson this morning from our studio in Sacramento. And we begin this hour on Forum with a brief history lesson about taxes and fees in California and for our purposes, we're gonna roll back to 1991. Now that was the year the state began collecting a fee on businesses that make products containing lead. The money collected goes to screen children at risk for lead poisoning and identify the sources of lead contamination that's responsible, but the fee was controversial in the business community and so the Sinclair
00:01:31 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Paint Company took the state to court arguing the fee was really a tax hidden in disguise. Now, their argument went to the heart of the differences in a fee and a tax. A tax is generally thought of as an assessment to pay for broad general public services, schools, prisons, health and human services, but a fee is thought of something as paying for a particular service or program that helps specific citizens or businesses. Now Sinclair Paint thought the lead fee that they were being charged was being used way too broadly, that is was
00:02:00 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Really a tax. But the State Supreme Court in 1997 rejected that argument from the Sinclair Pain Company, saying the fee was legal, and in this case, saying that a fee to combat impacts of a certain product was proper. Now fast forward to now and that's why Proposition 26 in some ways is on the ballot because a fee can be (STAMMERS) imposed by a simple majority in each legislative chamber or a simple majority vote of a local governing body. The supporters of Prop 26 say that's the problem. Fees are easier to impose
00:02:26 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Than taxes in California so law makers are always crafting clever ways of disguising taxes as fees. They think a fee should be more narrowly defined and that's what they want you to do by passing Prop 26. Prop 26 could make some current fees a tax, thus making them subject to the two-thirds vote which we know is so hard to get here, uh, (STAMMERS) and opponents of Prop 26 say that's part of the problem and we're gonna let them, uh, present their views and have you (STAMMERS) the audience weigh in and see
00:02:53 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
What you think and your questions as we look at Proposition 26, which is on the November ballot, the pros and cons here. Let me tell you who is here with us to discuss the measure. First, by phone, we want to say good morning to John Dunlap who is a former chairman of the California Air Resources Board and, uh, is a supporter of Proposition 26, joining us by phone this morning. Mr. Dunlap, good morning.
00:03:12 JOHN DUNLAP
Thank you. Glad to be with you today, John.
00:03:14 JOHN MYERS
Thanks for (STAMMERS) doing it and, uh, on the no on 26 side, uh, Lenny Goldberg who is, uh, with the California Tax Reform Association and is with the No on 26 Campaign and, uh, he's in the studio with us, Lenny, good morning.
00:03:27 LENNY GOLDBERG
Good morning, John, thanks for having me here.
00:03:29 JOHN MYERS
Happy to do it. Uh, so we, uh, (STAMMERS) we start usually here with the, uh, the yes side, uh, John Dunlap, uh, (STAMMERS) I've laid out this, uh, probably long but (STAMMERS) I think, uh, important context of how we got this taxes and fees argument. Why should the voters pass Prop 26 on election day?
00:03:43 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, I think you did a good job with the overview. Really, it comes down to this problem. The state and local politicians have been using a loophole in law, in the law to raise taxes by disguising them as fees because fees are easier to pass than tax increases, and you mentioned that also in your opening, (STAMMERS) which circumvents the constitutional vote requirements for passing taxes on goods like food, gas, cell phones, and even emergency services. These hidden taxes add billions of dollars in higher costs that tax
00:04:14 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Payers and consumers are saddled with that they must pay. Prop 26 combats that and it closes this loophole protecting tax payers and consumers against efforts by the state legislature and local politicians to increase taxes by disguising them as fees. This, as you mentioned, requires voter approval of hidden taxes at the local level and a two-thirds vote on hidden taxes by the state legislature. That's really (STAMMERS) the problem and the solution, but (STAMMERS) you need to know there, at the state level, legislators, uh, meet the two-thirds vote requirements for new or increased
00:04:47 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Hidden taxes just like all other taxes provided for in 26, and at the local level local politicians and governments must submit hidden taxes to the voters just like other taxes.
00:04:59 JOHN MYERS
Uh, Mr. Dunlap, uh, let me follow up but actually, let me ask you a technical question first. If you have a cell phone near your phone you might want to turn it off. I heard it vibrating there. They tend to interfere with, uh, the radio signal.
00:05:08 JOHN DUNLAP
Sure. You got it.
00:05:09 JOHN MYERS
Um, uh, but (STAMMERS) let me ask you a follow up. (STAMMERS) You talked about, um, you said what we've heard a lot is that a lot of, a lot of things that are really taxes have been disguised as fees, (STAMMERS) and I guess the question I would ask is, um, is that the exception or is that the rule. I mean, you know, some people could say the anecdotes (STAMMERS) are interesting but they are just that, anecdotes, and that maybe that power isn't abused on a continual basis. What would you say to that?
00:05:34 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, (STAMMERS) I'll give you the best example I can. Yesterday I was talking to one of the Cali PA, um, agencies, a program manager handling, uh, compliance, uh, had the responsibility for compliance outreach and education. Two hundred employees plus in this program, their job is to make sure that people are complying with, uh, regulations and their job is to provide, uh, outreach help, make sure people understand why their being regulated. This gentleman made an offer three months ago to a colleague of
00:06:06 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Mine to provide a, some consultation to help this company with compliance when he was approached about it, um, yesterday he said that there's been a change in priorities within his management and they no longer have the ability to provide this service. Well, this service is paid for through regulatory fees and, um, through some bureaucrat just changing it, it's a bait and switch. They've decided not to provide the service that the businesses have a right to expect, uh, to receive help in. (STAMMERS) And quickly, John, I should say, legitimate fees fall in, really, three areas. Fees for a
00:06:43 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Benefit, fees for a governmental service, and fees for a regulation. And that example is timely and proves the point completely that there's games being played.
00:06:53 JOHN MYERS
That's, uh, John Dunlap, uh, former, uh, chair of the State Air Resources Board and, uh, a supporter of Proposition 26 which would (STAMMERS) make it harder to, uh, increase fees in California. Lenny Goldberg with the California Tax Reform Association and the No on 26 Campaign, why should we vote no?
00:07:08 LENNY GOLDBERG
Well, I urge people to read this although the language is very obscure, it's probably difficult to read, (STAMMERS) but here's what's so extreme and flawed about Prop 26. You can find maybe all the money from fees that here and there has not been spent and that was a pretty obscure example that Mr. Dunlap used, but basically, what we use fees for are to, are when companies, like oil companies, uh, and tobacco companies, cause public harm. It was exactly, (STAMMERS) your introduction was excellent, John. The, uh,
00:07:45 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Sinclair Paint was to clean up lead paint in the environment. We have fees on oil companies to prevent and clean up oil spills. We have fees on hazardous waste to do clean up. What this, this measure is so extreme that is says, (STAMMERS) and Mr. Dunlap said it exactly right, he said only fees for service or fees for benefit. This does not pay for fees for the cost that you impose, and so it says very clearly in the measure that if there is any public cost imposed, if there's any benefit to the public from this fee rather than just
00:08:20 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
The cost of providing the license or service, you, it is a tax, and that means they, you know, (STAMMERS) the proponents have a long list of fees, hazardous waste fees, uh, oil spill cleanup fees, even things at the local level such as traffic impact fees and public safety cost mitigation fees, this is their own language. When you have an arena or a rock festival or a promoter, it is, not only deals with the state level and says fees are now taxes so to vote for an oil spill cleanup fee, you have to vote for a tax increase which we know
00:08:55 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
People are pledged not to do. But at the local level, every time there a trenching fee when some cable company wants to dig up the street, every time there is a rock festival and you have a traffic impact fee, (STAMMERS) those are the examples that the proponent, you wouldn't believe me if I said this is what's gonna be affected by Prop 26. You would believe me if the proponent said it, and that means every time at the local level you've got to a two-thirds vote of the people in order to get (STAMMERS) those who
00:09:26 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Cause a public cost to clean up their mess. So what happens? What happens is either you can't provide the services, that's one, but really, the costs shift to the tax payers.
00:09:35 JOHN MYERS
So let me ask you, Lenny Goldberg, if I could, a follow up. As I said (STAMMERS) in the intro here, I tried to give some of the history as we've all referenced about, uh, the Sinclair Paint Company and their concerns about (STAMMERS) the fee on, you know, base with lead in paint, but the reality is, lead is not a problem in paint anymore, and yet the fee is still on the books.
00:09:51 LENNY GOLDBERG
Well, it's the clean up, the cost of having, of those having put them there and the paint companies are doing that. You know, what's interesting about the Supreme Court decision that you reference, it said this is completely consistent with the voters' intent of Proposition 13, which is to say taxes pay, (STAMMERS) we're not gonna pay increased taxes except by a super majority vote, but a (STAMMERS) , what's called a regulatory fee which is to clean up the mess that you placed in the environment, hazardous waste,
00:10:23 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Uh, oil spill, all of those fees are legitimate if, to have a public benefit. What's so extreme about Prop 26 is that it really says in its plain language that if there's any benefit to the public, it becomes a tax, so if you are hurry diggin' up a street and it causes a weakness in the street, you don't have to pay for that cost, the tax payer has to pay for that cost.
00:10:46 JOHN MYERS
John Dunlap, uh, (STAMMERS) you're a supporter of 26, what do you say to Mr. Goldberg's criticism?
00:10:50 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, (STAMMERS) first of all, Mr. Goldberg is, as you'd expect opponents to do, (STAMMERS) they select very selective points, points that necessarily would reflect a point of view that's extreme. (STAMMERS) Let me make three key points here. Prop 26 will not diminish the ability of the state's environmental (STAMMERS) agencies to implement and enforce environmental laws. It will not affect liability provisions in those laws that insure that polluters pay for the damages they cause. There are a host of specific environmental liability provisions that are
00:11:26 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Available to regulators, for example, in their compliance tool kits today and they will not be affected. Lastly, it will not impact legitimate environmental fees, legitimate fees like those that cover the cost of the service, for example, can still be passed with a majority vote of the legislature or approved by local officials. Fees for things like drivers licenses, fishing licenses or penalties for violating the law are still considered fees under Prop 26. And lastly, I would say (STAMMERS) that the bottom line here is this, we're, you have to,
00:11:58 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
You have to enact taxes in public ways. Mr. Goldberg, (STAMMERS) I'm amused, continually amused that he and others think it's okay because the test is hard. It's hard to pass a test in government to increase taxes, and the question really needs to be to the opponents, I think, John, is why are you against having it being put to the voters or putting the legislators on the line to have 'em vote for them? What's wrong with that? We have a representative government, do it.
00:12:30 JOHN MYERS
Well, let me ask you before, (STAMMERS) I think it's a valid point to ask Mr. Goldberg, (STAMMERS) but Mr. Dunlap, let me ask you something that Lenny Goldberg brought up here about some of the fees that would change on the local level that would be subject to a vote of the people, uh, some hazard waste fees, even these fees, I guess, for an event, if you had a concert, that would be charged to the promoter, that the, (STAMMERS) would you agree with that, that the voters would then have to approve in a local area imposing a fee on a promoter for a big concert?
00:12:54 JOHN DUNLAP
Uh, no, (STAMMERS) I would disagree with that. I also (STAMMERS) would add, (STAMMERS) I think, put it this way, the opponents like to say that there's some kind of a take away, and this is important, John. (STAMMERS) There is no take away whatsoever for existing, uh, fees, taxes, to November, uh, to the November election for local government of this year, 2010, nothing changes, it's going forward. For the state government, nothing changes as of January 1, 2010. So there is no take
00:13:27 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Away whatsoever. Again, hidden taxes need to be brought (STAMMERS) to a vote, either popular vote at the local level or push the legislators to put up the necessary votes to pass it. That's the bottom line. There's a fundamental disagreement about does the government work for you or work against you.
00:13:46 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) John Dunlap, uh, the former chair of the state Air Resources Board is a supporter of Prop 26, and we're speaking about that measure on the November ballot here for this hour on Forum. It would, uh, make it harder to, uh, to assess fees in certain places, require a two-thirds vote of the legislature and in some cases, uh, two-thirds vote of the people in local communities. Lenny Goldberg, you're an opponent of Prop 26, I know you want to respond to some stuff from Mr. Dunlap, but when you do that,
00:14:09 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Also to address what he said a moment ago which is that we should make it hard in some cases, we should not make it easy to assess fee after fee after fee.
00:14:16 LENNY GOLDBERG
Uh, well, there's so many things that are completely wrong with what he said. Let me, (STAMMERS) if you'll give me the time, let me start. First of all, uh, the reason that very conservative county supervisors and city council members are opposed to this measure strongly, the League of Cities and CSAC and many, many individuals is because it totally interferes with the operation of doing business at the local level. They have said, some conservatives have said, we get all these mandates from the state and from the
00:14:43 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Federal government on water quality, let us say, we have to do planning and we have to do, uh, make changes, the only way to do that is with fees. Every time, every fee we have to do now would go to two-thirds vote of the people because it has to do not with the direct service, but it has to do with setting ourselves up to be able to manage our systems. Uh, local government, conservative Republican local government officials are overwhelmingly against this. The second thing, you know, it's interesting, he brought up the
00:15:12 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Take away. What this takes away is a billion dollars from the state budget. That is (STAMMERS) one of the most, uh, this is a flaw in the initiative I think he would admit that they made a mistake and they said there's this very, very broad provision that says (STAMMERS) if any tax payer has any increase, it's a two-thirds vote, (STAMMERS) even if it's a tax cut, uh, in general or if it's a benefit (STAMMERS) to the budget. We had a
00:15:38 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Billion dollar budget flexibility on the gas tax swap, and I won't go into the details of that, but inadvertently, this throws that out. So we have 11 billion dollars over the next ten years just taken out of the budget by Proposition 26.
00:15:51 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) Well, let me get, I know you've got several things...
00:15:52 LENNY GOLDBERG
(OVERLAPPING) Oh, okay. That was the take away that he mentioned.
00:15:53 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) but that is a part that I want to ask Mr. Dunlap about because, and again, I want to try (STAMMERS) to make it understandable for the audience. This is kind of the problem with bein' the budget reporter for us as well. I've heard this many times and I'm not gonna try to pull apart last year's budget deal, but part of last year's budget deal did include this controversial thing of the swapping (STAMMERS) of revenues.
00:16:10 LENNY GOLDBERG
(OVERLAPPING) It wasn't even controversial, everybody liked it.
00:16:12 JOHN MYERS
Sorry. Controversial (STAMMERS) in the sense of its complicated nature and whether or not it's good government, but it was a swap of different, uh, revenues, it was referred to as a gas tax swap, and the concern here is that Prop 26 has a retroactive, uh, affect on that and would undo that and would blow an extra hole (STAMMERS) in an already beleaguered state budget. John Dunlap, is that accurate?
00:16:34 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, (STAMMERS) here's the thing. The folks that proposed and worked on that gas tax swap did it fully understanding that Prop 26 was in the works, signatures were gathered and it would likely quality. The proponents (STAMMERS) , folks like the Chamber of Commerce and others have indicated they would support, uh, the folks that support 26 would support legitimizing, uh, the gas tax swap going forward, uh, through legislative vote or whatever it would take, so there is a...
00:17:02 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) But that would require separate legislation.
00:17:04 JOHN DUNLAP
(STAMMERS) That would require a separate process, but the folks that are backing Prop 26 support that gas tax provision, that billion dollar shortfall being corrected, so it isn't this barrier as Mr. Goldberg would have you, try to have you believe that folks, um, pro 26 would be against legitimizing that billion dollar gas swap, that's, gas tax swap, that's not true.
00:17:28 LENNY GOLDBERG
Well, you know...
00:17:29 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) Lenny Goldberg.
00:17:29 LENNY GOLDBERG
(STAMMERS) That's very, very interesting because if (STAMMERS) you all wrote this thing wrong, and so it overturned the gas tax swap, you're all for it but you couldn't get the votes to make, give it a two-thirds and make it legitimate so it wouldn't cost the budget a billion dollars, so we have now, that's an admission, in fact, that we knew this was comin' and we couldn't do anything about it. So I, with this flawed initiative that cost the budget a billion dollars in increased deficit and even though you support it, you can't
00:17:57 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Get it done, you should probably withdraw the initiative and say we gotta go back to the drawing board. But let me go through some of these (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
00:18:03 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) Well, you can't withdraw the initiative at this point (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
00:18:05 LENNY GOLDBERG
(OVERLAPPING) Well, (STAMMERS) they can cancel their campaign and not spend the millions of dollars that comes from oil, tobacco and alcohol.
00:18:11 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) Let me let Mr. Dunlap get in because he wanted to make a comment. Go ahead.
00:18:13 JOHN DUNLAP
Lenny, who said it can't get done? Who said it can't get done?
00:18:18 LENNY GOLDBERG
Well, you guys didn't get it done, you were aware of the flaw, you didn't get the two-thirds vote, did you, so you knew this was gonna cost a billion dollars.
00:18:24 JOHN DUNLAP
(OVERLAPPING) (STAMMERS) We weren't engaged in that. We were qualifying for the ballot Prop 26, you're...
00:18:29 LENNY GOLDBERG
Chamber of Commerce was engaged.
00:18:30 JOHN DUNLAP
00:18:30 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) (STAMMERS) Let me, uh, maybe you'll make an agreement, the disagreement, on why it didn't get fixed, (STAMMERS) but it seems that both sides here do say (STAMMERS) that there is a possible impact on the previous budget deal with the yes side, Mr. Dunlap saying, uh, there are ways and the supporters of 26...
00:18:47 JOHN DUNLAP
00:18:48 JOHN MYERS
Would support fixing that, (STAMMERS) Mr. Goldberg...
00:18:50 JOHN DUNLAP
00:18:50 JOHN MYERS
Has an opposite view there, so let me, we'll just settle that one just for a moment here. Mr. Dunlap, let me ask you (STAMMERS) a slightly different question here for a moment, and that is, um, Prop 26 impacts both what happens here at the state capitol and in scores of municipalities around California, and Mr. Goldberg referenced the fact that the State Association of Counties and the California League of Cities both oppose Prop 26, (STAMMERS) and I guess one of my questions is, is there a, um, frenzy
00:19:19 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
To fees on the local level? Why does this deal with local in addition to what happens in the state budget?
00:19:24 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, (STAMMERS) it comes down to this, John. It, first of all, I have a lot of friends in local government, I've served at the local government level, they have a tough job. State government, uh, is accused often times by local government as pushing laws on them, unfunded mandates, and I think Mr. Goldberg pointed it out properly, (STAMMERS) that's a real concern for the resources that they have. However, I think that folks at the local level, not all, (STAMMERS) but some have found ways to circumvent the process
00:19:54 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
(STAMMERS) and everybody holds up the city of Bell as an example, as an egregious example of things really getting off the rails. But I come back and I think the campaign (STAMMERS) comes back to the fundamental point. There is nothing wrong with building support the old fashioned way, getting people behind legitimate taxes, legitimate fees, if you will, and having support, have it daylighted. (SIC) The idea of having them be able to maneuver and pass a tax, calling it a program fee, or baiting and switching, uh, tax
00:20:29 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Payers is just, people have had enough of it, and I think you've seen it. The Bell example (STAMMERS) is the worst one. But it, people are very suspicious, voters are very suspicious and, um, (STAMMERS) I refuse to believe that you can't get support for, uh, (STAMMERS) new taxes, new programs, but you need to do it up front and you shouldn't have a way to circumvent the process, and back to the cities and the counties, the reason they're concerned, they're concerned that they can't pass the hurdle, uh, some
00:21:04 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Of them, perhaps, are concerned that, um, you know, it's gonna take too long. I don't know what it is but they should daylight these things.
00:21:08 JOHN MYERS
And if I could, really quickly, let me, uh, (STAMMERS) and we will have to take a break here and I want to get our callers (STAMMERS) involved in this, again, we're talking about Proposition 26, the pros and cons, um, and actually, let me give out the phone number first because that way, we want to make sure we get those callers in to ask their questions. 866-733-6786. That's toll free, 866-733-6786, or you can e-mail us Forum at KQED dot org.
00:21:33 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
John Dunlap with the yes side, really quickly here, um, I want to flip it back to the legislative level if I could 'cause I asked you about the impact on the local level, and you're talkin' about the need (STAMMERS) to have the consensus on these kinds of things. The reality is, with the exception of the budget deal in the 2008, 2009 era that raised taxes, that was the first tax increase, really, um, in a very long time in California, so if you're talking about that you believe that consensus is attainable, wouldn't this effectively
00:22:01 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Mean that a lot of these things, a lot of these programs that are funded by these fees, would never get the money because you cannot get that consensus (STAMMERS) on increased revenues?
00:22:08 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, (STAMMERS) it certainly is going to be difficult and it should be difficult. Um, you gave the great example, (STAMMERS) it was about the Sinclair issue. You know, lead based paint hasn't been sold in the state of California since the 1970s. Make a call to the folks running that program, they'll act like that fee is hard wired forever. So even in that example, (STAMMERS) when it ought to be turned off, that program ought to be sunset, uh, (STAMMERS) it's fulfilled its useful purpose, there's a
00:22:38 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Reluctance of government to do that, and I think that's the point, John, that raising taxes or playing games with how they are assessed, people, voters are tired of it, and that's why Lenny and others are so concerned that, uh, these things are gonna be daylighted and people are gonna be embarrassed, they're gonna have a tougher job at doing things to the voters rather than, uh, serving the voters.
00:23:01 JOHN MYERS
Okay, thank you. John Dunlap, uh, former chair of the State Air Resources Board, supporter of, uh, Proposition 26, and Lenny Goldberg here in studio, uh, an opponent of Prop 26, um, with the California Tax Reform Association. Again, we're gonna ask for your calls here in the second half hour to, uh, ask our guests some questions on Proposition 26 which would make it, uh, harder to increase fees in California, both through the legislature and on the local level. Uh, toll free, 866-733-6786, or you can e-mail us at Forum at KQED
00:23:29 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Dot org. I'm John Myers in for Dave Iverson, and you are listening to us here on KQED.
00:23:59 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
And you're listening to Forum on KQED, I'm John Myers in for Dave Iverson this morning as we talk about Proposition 26 on the November ballot, the measure that would make it harder to assess fees, both, uh, at the state level here in Sacramento and on the local level by requiring a two-thirds vote in the legislature and two-thirds vote of local voters in communities around the state. And we have, um, a supporter and opponent here with us, um, John Dunlap of Yes on 26, a former chair of the State Air Resources Board,
00:24:26 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Lenny Goldberg of the California Tax Reform Association is an opponent of 26, and, uh, Mr. Dunlap, uh, took us into the half hour before, Lenny, uh, you had some comments you wanted to make in response to that and then we'll our callers in.
00:24:37 LENNY GOLDBERG
Well, you know, it's interesting what he said, he said legitimate fees like drivers licenses and fishing licenses won't be affected. That is true. The ordinary tax payer, the ordinary fee payer won't, get no benefits from Prop 26. The benefits are going to go, and I'll read the ballot label, the fees that address adverse impacts on society or the environment caused by the fee payers business. What that means is that if you got, if you make a mess, you pay, right now, you pay a fee to clean it up. If you have hazardous waste, you
00:25:08 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Pay fees to the Department of Toxic Substances Control and they do, they figure out how to clean up the hazardous waste spills. Most of our environmental programs are based on addressing the adverse impacts of programs (STAMMERS) of the activity of the oil company, of the hazardous waste generator, and that's, those are all, most of our environmental and water resource programs are funded by fees on the polluters. What this does is says explicitly, you and me, we're gonna keep payin' our fees for goin' to the parks or for, uh, or for our drivers or fishing
00:25:47 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Licenses, but the big polluters are gonna be completely off the hook because they don't have to pay the cost of cleaning it up, and I listen, you listen very carefully to (STAMMERS) what Mr. Dunlap said, and he said, this doesn't change the enforcement of our environmental laws or liability, what it does change is the need to pay into a fund to clean up the mess that you made and that is completely changed. It allows for penalties but it does not allow for fees for hazardous waste control, for oil spill cleanup, um, for
00:26:17 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
(STAMMERS) any adverse impact on the environment including at the local level. You know, I, (STAMMERS) he said these examples are extreme. There are four pages of examples put out by the proponents that say hazardous waste cleanup, uh, traffic control impacts, public safety costs, the cops are opposed to this, the highway patrol is opposed to this, the firefighters are opposed to this.
00:26:39 JOHN MYERS
Well, let me ask Mr. Dunlap about those. Mr. Dunlap, (STAMMERS) will it be, uh, are those fees subject then to, uh, to a super majority vote?
00:26:46 JOHN DUNLAP
No. Mr. Goldberg's been waving around a list that he got off a website citing that that's a list the campaign...
00:26:52 LENNY GOLDBERG
(OVERLAPPING) From the proponents.
00:26:53 JOHN DUNLAP
Yeah, it's a list (STAMMERS) that is, uh, a complete list of all the hidden (STAMMERS) taxes. It's only a fraction, uh, (STAMMERS) the things listed on that list are, there's a fraction of 'em that we've been talking about. It's an early piece and, you know, he's been using it as a campaign prop. The bottom line...
00:27:10 JOHN MYERS
But (STAMMERS) are they accurate? Are they accurate, if I could ask?
00:27:12 JOHN DUNLAP
A fraction of them are, yes, but not that complete list. Certainly not the, not most of the examples that he cited.
00:27:16 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) Which ones?
00:27:15 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, at another time we can run through those. But the bottom line is this, I served as the chief deputy director as the Department of Toxics. I worked in management at the South Coast Air District. (STAMMERS) I ran the California Air Resources Board. I know a thing or two about environmental protection. There is no way Prop 26 is gonna gut the ability to hold people accountable and liable for any violations of those, uh, important landmark environmental laws. It's just not true. We had one of the imminent, uh, pre-imminent legal experts on environmental protection law in California,
00:27:50 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Maureen Gorson, a colleague of mine, a former Cali PA Deputy Secretary for Law Enforcement and General Counsel look top to bottom (STAMMERS) on 26, there's no gutting of environmental protection laws. And that is absurd to suggest otherwise.
00:28:03 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) Okay, let's get...
00:28:05 LENNY GOLDBERG
Just very quickly.
00:28:06 JOHN MYERS
00:28:07 LENNY GOLDBERG
It has not changed (STAMMERS) the environmental protection laws. It pay, it changes the ability to pay for the environmental protection laws which are done by those who create adverse impacts on the environment. It does, he's very clear, it does not change the law, that is correct. It change the ability to pay for it, takes it away from polluters and shifts it to tax payers.
00:28:30 JOHN DUNLAP
(STAMMERS) But there's no look (WORD?) provision prior to the end of (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
00:28:34 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) (STAMMERS) But...
00:28:34 LENNY GOLDBERG
(OVERLAPPING) Okay, this is (STAMMERS) a huge flaw, (STAMMERS) let me go to one flaw.
00:28:39 JOHN MYERS
Well, Lenny, (STAMMERS) he needs to respond here and I've got to get some callers on, too.
00:28:40 LENNY GOLDBERG
(OVERLAPPING) Okay, sure. Sure.
00:28:41 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) Mr. Dunlap, go ahead.
00:28:43 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, what I was suggesting is, and I mentioned earlier, John, that local governments, anything local government does up until the election day, had done previously is protected. Anything that the state has done up to January 1, 2010, is protected. So the idea is...
00:29:00 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) So last January.
00:29:01 JOHN DUNLAP
Correct. (STAMMERS) this past January. (STAMMERS) Any opponent that suggests otherwise, that there's this take away, or want to mislead voters into thinking they're going to lose something relative to these important programs or they're going to have programs tossed on the waste heap that are already in existence, that's just patently false. That scare tactic to try to scare voters.
00:29:23 JOHN MYERS
00:29:24 LENNY GOLDBERG
(OVERLAPPING) There's a huge flaw here. In your previous initiative you had, uh, an adjustment for inflation and work load. (STAMMERS) This doesn't have it, it locks the current level in the constitution, we can never improve it. They have to admit that that was a mistake and a flaw.
00:29:38 JOHN MYERS
Well, (STAMMERS) and I've really got to get some callers on 'cause they've been waiting a long time. Mr. Dunlap, can address that (STAMMERS) in ten seconds? I hate to do it to you but let's...
00:29:44 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, again, it comes back to the fundamental issue, quickly, that what, you want to make it difficult, hard, you want people to daylight and discuss increases in hidden fees or taxes, and so, uh, we remain unapologetic to try to daylight (STAMMERS) this information. You know, small business bankruptcies are up 81 percent. We've got some challenges in our economy.
00:30:07 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) We need to get some folks on here 'cause I want to make sure that the audience gets their questions in. This is a, (STAMMERS) an interactive program, so let me go to Graham who's been waiting, uh, calling from Sacramento. Good morning, Graham.
Yes, hi, um, you know, uh, Mr. Dunlap, uh, continually, uh, points to the fact that, uh, this doesn't change anything that's currently on the books, um, but the world doesn't stop today (STAMMERS) or in January of next year. Uh, communities continue to have changing and evolving needs. I work on transportation policy and my organization's extremely concerned about the impact that Proposition 26 will have on communities and the state's ability to adequately fund transportation infrastructure and transportation related, uh, public safety programs, things like pot holes and, uh, police, uh, response
00:31:00 GRAHAM (CONTINUED)
Time, uh, are potentially impacted by this initiative. Uh, if it becomes impossible to get, uh, two-thirds support for future fees, uh, and we all know how difficult it is to get to a two-thirds vote given the politics of the day, uh...
00:31:15 JOHN MYERS
You're basically locking us into the reality that we're currently facing and in the...
00:31:19 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) Thank you. Thank you.
00:31:20 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) Thank you. Let me, for full disclosure, can you tell me the group that you support, 'cause I want to make sure (STAMMERS) if you've got a stake in the fight.
Absolutely. No, I work with the organization Transform headquartered in Oakland.
00:31:30 JOHN MYERS
Okay. Thank you, Graham, and let me, uh, let me get Mr. Dunlap to respond. What about this notion that it could impact some of these local transportation issues, filling pot holes, things like that, what would you say?
00:31:39 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, I, first of all, I can't comment about it, whether a (STAMMERS) pot hole won't be filled or not, (STAMMERS) I don't believe that's the case and certainly nobody's ever suggested that (STAMMERS) up to this call. But the bottom line is, just because it's hard, just because it takes effort, you know, people talk about programs being funded as if there's a disconnect, a complete disconnect with the people that pay for them. Prop 26 stops hidden taxes. It forces people that are proposing them to have them daylighted. I'm
00:32:10 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Sorry that folks perceive it as hard or difficult or the politics of today seem overwhelming. But enough is enough. State and local politicians have proposed and enacted a combined, uh, amount of ten billion dollars over the last, uh, couple years and we can't sustain that, (STAMMERS) and certainly in the economy that we have in this, uh, in this state, and we can't sustain it over the long haul. No matter how important these programs may appear to be, you have to prioritize them, we have to have a process by which
00:32:44 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
They can exposed and we need to get public support for them if people want to pay for them.
00:32:48 JOHN MYERS
And let me go back to the calls. Again, we're talking about Proposition 26 on the November ballot. Uh, Doug in Oakland. Doug, good morning.
Uh, good morning, and I'm listening to this in some disbelief. What is so terrible about majority rule? What is wrong with following what the founders very explicitly said in Federalist 58 when Madison wrote that if you had super majorities, you would end up having particular interests blocking the general good of the community by preventing equitable measures from being done. This problem (STAMMERS) of wanting to block fees because, well, a minority doesn't like to have a fee imposed for their business because of costs they would impose on the general community. (STAMMERS) I
00:33:27 DOUG (CONTINUED)
Just, I'm listening to this stuff in disbelief. Where is the sense of decency at this point in time where things falling apart all over this country and here we have one more group putting on their own special interest change in the constitution to block the ability of the state to govern itself. It's ridiculous.
00:33:44 JOHN MYERS
Doug, thank you, and we got a little bit of a scratchy phone line there. John Dunlap, I mean, (STAMMERS) I do have to come back to you on this, I mean, (STAMMERS) just in the sense that, I mean, (STAMMERS) what's wrong with a majority vote?
00:33:54 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, (STAMMERS) I, first of all, at the local level it's provided for. You know, they can put it on the ballot (STAMMERS) at the local level and, um, get a majority vote for things they do locally. But the bottom line is, you know, we've been, there's been a drumbeat of additional fees that have been hidden. The logic behind them, uh, isn't always clear that there's a direct relationship that people are being, matter of fact, (STAMMERS) at the legislative hearing that we had talking about 26, Mr. Goldberg and I
00:34:24 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Participated, (STAMMERS) we had folks on the opposition side lamenting, lamenting the fact that these good programs, uh, wouldn't have, uh, so called good programs, wouldn't have an avenue, a path of least resistance to impose more fees on people. They were openly discussing, boy, isn't that a shame. Isn't it a shame that we can't just do this willy-nilly. This is a line of demarcation, it's a process, (STAMMERS) it's completely consistent with, um, what our founders were after relative to having, uh, majority rule. (STAMMERS) Follow the constitution.
00:35:01 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) Lenny Goldberg, something tells me you disagree with this.
00:35:03 LENNY GOLDBERG
Well, the question is, (STAMMERS) it was perfectly phrased about special interests. This is from oil, tobacco and alcohol. Two million dollars from Phillip-Morris, a million from Chevron, the list goes on and on. The reason they want this is precisely what the caller said, that they are able to protect as a special interest against any of the, (STAMMERS) to protect themselves from the damage they do. Now what's interesting is that it's not that this is a two-thirds vote for fees. This redefines fees, which are totally legitimate,
00:35:40 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Related to the damage done, as taxes. And as you know, (STAMMERS) many legislators have taken pledges not to increase taxes. So a normal vote for an increase in fees can't get two-thirds, it's a very tricky measure to protect oil, tobacco and alcohol.
00:35:55 JOHN MYERS
Okay, and then let me, uh, let me, uh, let me thank, uh, Doug for the call that he had, (STAMMERS) and speaking about money and politics and funding, uh, Steve in San Francisco has a question along those lines. Steve, good morning.
Oh, yes, hi, good morning. Yeah, (STAMMERS) I have a comment and a question. Uh, the gentleman mentioned that it was the special interest groups like tobacco and oil, which, by the way, I don't, you know, could care less one way or the other, but who's supporting you? Is it the civil service unions? The police unions, the pension plans that are out of control? I mean, who's putting money up to support your side of this story, and that's a special interest as well. Is it not, sir? Uh, I'm very concerned about this because
00:36:34 STEVE (CONTINUED)
The civil service in the state of California is completely out of control in my opinion. Lots of items that can be done by private industry, could be subbed out instead of being used as a monopoly for government workers, and I'm very concerned about that issue, so I guess my question is, who's supporting your side of it? Where's the money coming from, Calpers? Where?
00:36:54 JOHN MYERS
Steve, thank you. Uh, Lenny Goldberg, who's supporting the no side?
00:36:55 LENNY GOLDBERG
(OVERLAPPING) Sure. Uh, you know, for the first few months, we had virtually no financial support, and yet virtually every editorial in the state came, we got, we traveled, got a little money to travel around the state and get every editorial, virtually everyone saying this goes way too far and it's too extreme. At this point, though, when we became aware that it cost the general fund budget deficit 11 billion dollars over ten years, then teachers and firefighters and police organizations, uh, (STAMMERS) and public
00:37:26 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Employee groups came in and said, you know, this is like a disaster for our budget, this is a disaster for local government, we have to, uh, fund a small campaign.
00:37:36 JOHN MYERS
And that's organized labor in which case we kind of go back to the same fight we have here always, don't we, organized labor versus business interests?
00:37:41 LENNY GOLDBERG
Well, it's actually, (STAMMERS) there are huge numbers of groups, this is environmentalists, this is public health, these are, uh, public safety, these are local government concerns, (STAMMERS) the, this is the League of Women Voters. The opponents of this are one of the broadest coalitions ever put together. When you need funding, you have teachers and firefighters and police who are, and nurses who are helping with that funding.
00:38:08 JOHN MYERS
And John Dunlap, I mean, the same question of you because (STAMMERS) a listener wrote in as well, Michael, who wanted to know about the money behind the Prop 26 effort, uh, alcohol companies, uh, the state Chamber of Commerce, others, (STAMMERS) why would they put all this in, you know, it's self serving, (STAMMERS) the person would say.
00:38:23 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, let's talk about the supporters of 26, it's a fair question. California Chamber of Commerce, California Tax Payers Association, a myriad, uh, of local small chambers of commerce, small businesses by name, they're all listed. This couldn't be more of a grass roots, um, uh, you know, bottom up issue. The idea that this is, (STAMMERS) I appreciate Mr. Goldberg's comments about big oil and big tobacco, etcetera. The bottom line is, this, this issue is gonna be dealt with at the ballot box by... regular old voters, and
00:38:59 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
They're gonna see through the idea of trying to protect, uh, hidden taxes or trying to daylight those things. So the idea that this campaign's being dictated by interests is absurd. The idea that there's gonna be some take away, something sudden that's gonna happen in government, uh, that's gonna take away services is absurd. The bottom line is, there's a line being drawn in the sand. People want to daylight these issues and stop hidden taxes, we can no longer afford them.
00:39:26 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) Mr. Dunlap, while you're there, uh, Luis, one of our listeners e-mailed and said, and I don't know the answer to this, though I suspect I might. (STAMMERS) He wanted to know the $300 added to a traffic fine when it's late, fee, fine or tax? And does this affect it?
00:39:40 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, that's (LAUGH) , that's a good question and the reason I'm laughing is because all of us, you know, that have been in (STAMMERS) the situation, never have a traffic citation. Look it, the folks that support Prop 26 aren't anti law enforcement, they're not anti holding people accountable. Now, I can't tell you if that $300 is used properly, um, or not, but I can tell you this, (STAMMERS) there needs to be some evaluation at some level about, uh, insuring that it is, (STAMMERS) but I cannot answer that off the top of
00:40:11 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
My head. Some of us would think that (STAMMERS) the increase in some of those, um, traffic citation amounts has been severe, um, others think that (STAMMERS) it's necessary, uh, to serve as a deterrent, but I can't answer that.
00:40:24 JOHN MYERS
Let me go back to the phones now. Uh, Willie is joining us. Good morning.
Uh, good morning. Um, I am in sympathy with the notion of trying to make the process of raising fees more public, I definitely am, um, to expose these things to (STAMMERS) more public view, but I have severe reservations about the, (STAMMERS) one of them is, really, who is gonna benefit from this? I mean, (STAMMERS) this measure, apparently, is so vague, uh, (STAMMERS) that we don't know, you know, (STAMMERS) we don't know whether the public, in general, is gonna benefit from this because it's so
00:41:02 WILLIE (CONTINUED)
Vague, who knows how it's gonna be enforced, except, of course, that (STAMMERS) the, you know, polluters and so on will get away with it. They will be able to do that. But, um, and, uh, (STAMMERS) another aspect of this is that, if people can't, if the agencies can't charge fees that they depend on in order to be able to enforce regulations and rules, uh, that have to do with our health and our safety, then that's gonna suffer. That is
00:41:32 WILLIE (CONTINUED)
Definitely gonna suffer. And the third thing is, I don't want the constitution messed with. I mean, you, I would be sympathetic to the, more sympathetic to this whole measure, I might be inclined to vote for it if it didn't mess with our constitution. I mean, leave our constitution alone. (STAMMERS) This should have just been a law, for God's sake. Anyway, that's all...
00:41:51 JOHN MYERS
Well, we have lots of constitutional changes in California, don't we? Yeah, Willie, (STAMMERS) thank you for that. Uh, before I go to the supporter, (STAMMERS) but Lenny Goldberg, let me ask you something, (STAMMERS) because you conceded this point as well earlier. This does not change the actual laws that, uh, or govern things like polluting and things like that, (STAMMERS) this is not going to impact, um, you know, prosecution of a polluter.
00:42:11 LENNY GOLDBERG
(STAMMERS) It will not impact prosecution. What it will impact is the cleanup of the damage that they have done. (STAMMERS) Most...
00:42:19 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) Because there's not money, is that your point?
00:42:19 LENNY GOLDBERG
That's correct. Most of Cali PA programs, most of our water programs do not impact the ordinary tax payer. They are paid for by the regulated communities, but they do things that are out, are not allowed by Prop 26. They allow for cleanup programs, they do research, they do education, they do broader compliance, those all would be knocked out. Now here's the thing, he says there's no take away here. This is a fa-, another fatal flaw, there are many flaws. (STAMMERS) The take away is a billion dollar
00:42:54 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
Deficit caused by reversing the gas tax swap. We've already agreed to that's a big take away, the, and 11 billion dollars over ten years. The other take away, though, is that these programs get adjusted normally for inflation and work load and population. If there's more hazardous waste, we've have to increase the fees on the hazardous waste generators. This is a huge flaw, and Prop 37, which the oil, tobacco and alcohol interests put on the ballot ten years ago, it said we allow for an adjustment for inflation and work load.
00:43:23 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
This doesn't allow it, so what happens is that our environmental protection programs get smaller and smaller and smaller and the general fund budget, which is in huge deficit, has to, and the ordinary tax payer has to pay more and more and more. So that's at the state level, at the local level, you can't even do the ordinary (STAMMERS) course of doing business and, you know, a lot of businesses have said we're willing to pay for the damage we've done, we don't want to be, (STAMMERS) waited for another year 'til
00:43:52 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
They have a special election to tell us we can dig up a street and put a new cable in there. And you know what? Some of the supporters of this said, well, if you don't sue, we'll sue, so what we have is a huge amount of litigation, all these special elections, the inability to do business, maybe the only thing good that could come out of this is we'd have to go back and do a constitutional convention and start all over because the system would be so locked down that we would, can't even function at the local and state level.
00:44:16 JOHN MYERS
Well, uh, (STAMMERS) John Dunlap, there's a lot to respond there to, and (STAMMERS) I should point out that a listener, Adam, thinks that we're giving a disproportionate amount of time to Mr. Dunlap and the supporters. I would tell them, however, five to six to one, the phone calls and the e-mails are running opposed to Prop 26 so (STAMMERS) I think the listeners are asking lots of questions that Mr. Goldberg would ask, but to be fair, (STAMMERS) I don't have a, uh, I don't have a vested interested,
00:44:39 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
I'm just, uh, reading them out as they go, but Mr. Dunlap, uh, Mr. Goldberg gave you a lot to respond to there.
00:44:44 JOHN DUNLAP
Yeah, let me go back to the previous caller and then Mr. Goldberg because (STAMMERS) I feel one of the things you're trying to do with your show, which I think is a terrific forum, is educate people. Let me go back to four or five fundamental things very quickly. One, Prop 26 protects our right to vote on local taxes from politicians who disguise taxes as fees. Politicians have been using gimmicks and tricks to deprive voters of their constitutional right to vote on local taxes. This forces local politicians to get voter approval on
00:45:14 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Hidden taxes, just like the constitution requires for most other local taxes. Second, Prop 26 helps protect working families from hidden taxes they can't afford. When politicians raise hidden taxes on items like food, gas or emergency services, those costs are passed on directly to us as consumers. Third, Prop 26 helps protect jobs by stopping hidden taxes on small businesses. I mentioned earlier, small, uh, business bankruptcies are up 81 percent. California small businesses cannot, uh, afford more hidden taxes. Fourth, Prop 26 forces politicians to clean up their wasteful spending and live
00:45:53 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Within their needs. Instead of cutting their wasteful spending, local politicians have been hiking taxes and fees to pay for lavish salaries and benefits, I cited the Bell example, all (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
00:46:02 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) But that could be an anecdote, Mr. Dunlap, could it not? That could be an anecdote.
00:46:06 JOHN DUNLAP
(STAMMERS) It could be, correct. (STAMMERS) So having said that, those are the fundamental things it does. Whether it's hard or difficult or it takes guts politically to daylight these things, so be it. That's the way it ought to operate. Now, again, back to Mr. Goldberg's point, I cannot leave that...
00:46:22 JOHN MYERS
(OVERLAPPING) Yeah, briefly, if you could.
00:46:23 JOHN DUNLAP
Un-responded to is the idea that these environmental programs are at risk. That is absurd. I know those programs very well. I gave an example at the outset of my comments about one program that had been funded to provide assistance to people, a consultation to help people comply with environmental regulations and a bureaucrat was able to gut that program and put it in other priorities that did not equate with what it was funded to do. That kind of nonsense should be prohibited. Prop 26 is a strong step in the right direction to daylight these things.
00:46:59 JOHN MYERS
Okay. (STAMMERS) Let me try to summarize the point of a few people, and a caller has the same point, too, so I want to say (STAMMERS) as I introduce Kevin who is joining us again from Manchester, New Hampshire. I love it when we get folks from all over the country. Kevin, and before you make your point, I want to say that Don and Lee both e-mailed in on what I think Kevin is gonna ask, so Kevin, want you represent everyone.
Well, I, you know, it's obvious that you have a catch phrase that you're trying to put out there, the daylighting issue. (STAMMERS) I don't understand why daylighting has to be tied to a 67 percent, um, uh, level of, uh, approval for any, uh, fee hikes. (STAMMERS) It seems, uh, not just difficult, you're saying, well, it should be hard. It's not just hard. Sixty-seven percent is unattainable. If you take the legislature in New Hampshire, bring them all
00:47:44 KEVIN (CONTINUED)
Outside on a beautiful September morning, uh, they couldn't, uh, get 67 percent to agree the sky is blue. (STAMMERS) It's crazy for you (STAMMERS) to, uh, insist that 67 percent, why can't you daylight these issues and have your elected officials who are elected by the populace, uh, by the electorate to make a decision? Fifty percent. Majority rules. (STAMMERS) It seems, uh, that this has been, um, uh, put in place (STAMMERS) to not make it difficult but to make it impossible.
00:48:13 JOHN MYERS
Okay, Kevin, thank you, (STAMMERS) and the e-mailers, again, said that this, they don't believe that, uh, representative democracy was ever created to be anything other (STAMMERS) than simple majorities. I have a feeling we've kind of touched on that a few times. Um, (STAMMERS) let me, Mr. Dunlap and Mr. Goldberg, both, uh, we have only a few remaining minutes, few more calls, but I do want to inject, if I can, a political reality to this (STAMMERS) and that is that I know, as a reporter covering the capitol
00:48:38 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
And covering politics, that Prop 26 pretty much got pushed down the highway at the same time as Proposition 25, which we talked about here on (STAMMERS) the first hour of Forum this morning, which is the simple, uh, majority for a vote on the budget, (STAMMERS) and I know this isn't the perfect campaigns, but the two sides were basically threatening each other to go to the ballot with their own version. One version wanted it easier to pass a budget and one group said, well, if you do that, we're gonna make it
00:49:03 JOHN MYERS (CONTINUED)
Harder to pass fees. And so, at the end of the day, I mean, and even one editorial, the Sacramento Bee said they're both partisan power plays, vote no on both of them. And so I ask (STAMMERS) the two of you is, or maybe I have to ask Mr. Dunlap this first, again, I'm gonna get in trouble with the people who think he's gotten more time here, but, you know, at a certain point, (STAMMERS) this is politics, (STAMMERS) the policy issue was driven by politics.
00:49:23 JOHN DUNLAP
Well, you know, I, I've been around the capitol a long time and been a role player in certain program areas and I've seen politics at play. (STAMMERS) John, I would be, um, I'd be missing an opportunity if I didn't educate you as to looking at the coalition that's behind this. This is not being dictated as Mr. Goldberg would have you believe by big business. This is a grass roots effort, lot of local chambers, a lot of small businesses have, um, stood up and are counted. I disagree fundamentally that those people are
00:49:54 JOHN DUNLAP (CONTINUED)
Big business. They're small, a lot of them mom and pops that are barely hanging on, and they're saying enough is enough. We can't afford the government that a lot of politicians would like us, uh, (STAMMERS) to be pushed towards. So this isn't a big business initiative, this is about protecting the pocket books of working families and small businesses, in particular, and, yes, it does have impacts with the medium size and the larger ones, but those, those issues are not being dictated, um, were not dictated as this thing was drafted.
00:50:23 JOHN MYERS
(STAMMERS) And let me stop you there to give Mr. Goldberg a time to get his word in and then we're gonna have to wrap it up.
00:50:28 LENNY GOLDBERG
Yeah, and Mr. Dunlap, all he's done is read from the propaganda of the campaign and has not answered the questions about how deeply flawed and how bad this is. Now, um, with regard to the politics, the campaign itself on the other, we're no on 26 and only no on 26, but the other side is, really doesn't even have a campaign on 26, they are no on 25, yes on 26, clearly a political ploy. This is opposed by every environmental group, every law enforcement group, the League of Women Voters, Equality California, uh,
00:51:01 LENNY GOLDBERG (CONTINUED)
League of Cities, CSAC, every, virtually every editorial. It is extreme, it is deeply flawed, and you haven't heard answers to your questions so everybody should vote no on 26.
00:51:12 JOHN MYERS
That's Lenny Goldberg who gets the last word from the No on 26 Campaign, uh, John Dunlap, uh, former chair of the State Air Resources Board, Yes on 26, we want to thank him for his time this morning, and, uh, Proposition 26 is up to the voters at this point.