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Election 2012: State Proposition Guide

Produced by KQED News and The California Report
KQED Election 2012
  • Introduction

    Jason Margolis/KQED
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    Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the upcoming election?

    Californians are voting on some big issues this election, ranging from the death penalty to taxes to food labeling. Making an informed decision can be tough.

    Don't panic.

    We've created this guide to the 2012 state ballot measures with you in mind. We took each proposition on the California ballot and pulled it apart to extract just the main points and most important arguments.

    Simple. Understandable. Portable. Shareable.

    You can take this guide with you to your polling place, download the printable version or pull it up on your smart phone or tablet.

    You can also post any part of this guide on your blog or website — simply click the embed button on any page. And of course, you can share the guide with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

    Are you ready? Good. Let's dive in...

  • Proposition 30

    Governor Jerry Brown's Tax Increases for Education and Public Safety

    Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 30 raises personal income tax rate on individuals making more than $250,000 a year and couples making more than $500,000 a year for the next seven years.
    • It raises state sales tax by a quarter of a cent for four years.
    • Those additional tax dollars would go to K-12 schools and community colleges.
    • The measure also guarantees local governments will receive a basic level of funding each year to implement realignment.
    • Revenue from Prop. 30 is built into this year's budget. If it fails, education and public safety programs would lose $5.9 billion between now and next July.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the tax increases would bring in an estimated $6 billion annually for seven years.

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    After the Legislature defeated Governor Jerry Brown's plan to increase income taxes he pledged to take the decision to the voters — Proposition 30 is the result. This year's state budget counts on the money from this proposition.

    What Prop. 30 Changes
    • Schools — Establishes a new fund: the Education Protection Account. While the fund is technically part of the general fund, the money there can only be spent on K-12 schools and community colleges.
    • Public Safety — Guarantees local governments will have funding each year for public safety services realignment, which is the process of transferring inmates from state prisons to local jails. It does so by enshrining public safety funds in the California constitution.
    The Tax Hikes

    Raises the income tax rate on individuals who earn more than $250,000 a year and couples who earn more than $500,000 a year. The income tax rate will go up on a sliding scale, from a one percent increase at the low end to a three percent hike for the highest earners. The tax lasts seven years. The measure also raises the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent for four years.

    Where the Money Goes

    It's estimated the taxes would bring in $6 billion for this year's budget. The money flows into the Education Protection Account, in the general fund. That additional money helps the state meet its education funding requirement, under Proposition 98 — that sends about 39 percent of general fund money to K-12 schools and community colleges. The California Department of Finance estimates the measure would yield an additional $2.9 billion for education next year.

    What Happens if Prop. 30 Fails

    This year's state budget includes "trigger cuts" if the measure fails. K-12 schools and community colleges would lose $5.35 billion. The University of California and California State University systems would each lose $250 million. City police departments, CalFire, the park system, flood control programs and others would also lose several million dollars each.

    What Happens if Props 30 and 38 Both Pass

    The state constitution says that when income tax measures conflict, the one with the most votes prevails. So if Prop. 38 passes with more votes, income tax rates would increase according to Prop. 38 and trigger Prop. 30's cuts. The Franchise Tax Board or the courts would have to step in to determine whether Prop. 30's sales tax increase or guarantee of realignment funding would still be enacted.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    Californians who have prospered should give more to sustain public schools. They also say the measure establishes the first guarantee for public safety funding in the California Constitution.

    Governor Brown, the League of Women Voters, the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, SEIU Local 1000 and the Democratic State Central Committee support the measure.

    Opponents say...

    the measure is a large tax increase, hurts small business and doesn't guarantee new money for education beyond existing general fund spending.

    Main opponents are the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Joel Fox, president of the Small Business Action Committee and author of political blog Fox&Hounds.

    Additional Resources:

  • Proposition 31

    Revises the State Budget Process

    Wikimedia Commons

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 31 establishes a two-year budget cycle instead of the current one-year budget cycle.
    • It permits the Governor to make unilateral budget cuts during fiscal emergencies if the Legislature does not act within 45 days.
    • It requires all bills in the California Senate or Assembly to be published three days prior to a vote.
    • Lawmakers must identify a funding source for new programs or tax deductions that would cost more than $25 million.
    • It requires performance reviews of all state and local programs, and sets performance goals for all state and local budgets.
    • It allows local governments to alter how some state laws and regulations apply to them, unless the legislature or state agency vetoes the changes.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the measure will cost millions to tens of millions of dollars annually. It would also transfer $200 million annually from the state to local governments.

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    One thing most Californians seem to agree on is that state government should be transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible. Proposition 31 is a grab-bag attempt at all those reforms and more.

    What Prop. 31 Changes

    Establishes a two-year budget cycle. Beyond that it's complicated, so here are details:

    Authorizes New Community Action Plans

    This measure defines specific goals for the state budget and all local government budgets: increase employment, improve education, decrease poverty, decrease crime and improve health. It allows local governments to establish "Community Strategic Action Plans" to meet these goals, and requires that someone report on how programs are meeting them.

    It allows local governments to alter how some state laws and regulations apply to them, unless the legislature or state agency vetoes the changes.

    How Do You Pay for the Action Plans?

    The measure allocates $200 million a year in sales tax revenue for local governments that have adopted Action Plans. Local governments could also transfer property taxes among themselves as they see fit. California taxpayers pay about $50 billion annually in property taxes.

    Changes How Lawmakers Balance the State Budget

    Legislators would have to identify a funding source for each new program, expanded program or tax cut that costs more than $25 million. Currently, lawmakers must balance the overall state budget, but do not have to identify specific offsets for each budget increase or cut.

    Expands Governor's Budget Power

    Currently, when the Governor declares a fiscal emergency, the Legislature has 45 days to address the revenue shortfalls. Under Prop. 31, if lawmakers fail to act the Governor could make unilateral budget cuts.

    Bill Publishing

    The measure would stop legislators from hijacking a bill at the last minute to include often-unrelated measures. Lawmakers could still gut a bill but they would have to publish all bills, including the budget, three days prior to a vote.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    the measure increases local control and imposes rigorous oversight of state and local budgets.

    Proposition 31 was put forward and is largely funded by the political arm of the reform group California Forward. The California Republican Party also supports the measure, although some local branches are against it.

    Opponents say...

    new oversight requirements would cost millions to tens of millions of dollars annually. The measure also puts at risk state regulations meant to protect things like the public health or the environment by allowing local governments to alter these regulations.

    Opponents include the California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Conservation Voters, California Tax Reform Association and Health Access California. The East Bay Tea Party is also against the measure.

  • Proposition 32

    Limits Certain Political Donations

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 32 prohibits unions and certain types of corporations from donating directly to political candidates and ballot measure campaigns. Exempts individuals, LLCs, partnerships and real estate trusts.
    • It exempts the largest and fastest-growing type of political spending, known as "independent expenditures." This is the political spending of super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts.
    • It prohibits organizations from using payroll deductions for any kind of political purpose, even if the employee has given permission. This prohibition primarily affects unions, since corporations raise political money through other means.
    • It prohibits government contractors from contributing to elected officials who play a role in awarding their contracts.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the measure would cost $1 million annually for enforcement.

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    Proposition 32 would prohibit unions and some kinds of corporations from contributing directly to candidates or campaigns. It would ban government contractors from contributing to elected officials who play a role in awarding their contracts. It would also prohibit using payroll-deducted funds for any political purpose.

    What's tricky about Prop. 32 is the fine print.

    Restrictions on Fundraising

    The measure would specifically restrict unions' method of fundraising for political purposes, since unions are about the only entities that use payroll deductions from their members to raise money for political causes. Corporations tend to make political donations from their own coffers.

    This is the third ballot measure in 15 years that businesses have put forth to limit unions' political fundraising.

    Independent Expenditures

    Most political spending is either a political contribution for a candidate or a campaign, or an independent expenditure. Prop. 32 limits political contributions but not independent expenditures.

    An independent expenditure is money spent on behalf of the candidate or a campaign, without being directed by that candidate or campaign. This is the political spending of so-called super PACs and other political organizations, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts.

    Who's Spending What?

    Businesses currently outspend unions in California politics. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, from 2001 to 2011, top labor unions spent $284 million in California on initiatives, candidates and parties. During that same time, top contributors among business interests spent $700 million. Neither of these figures includes donations to super PACs.

    If you include PACs and independent expenditures, businesses nationally had a 15 to 1 fundraising advantage over labor unions in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    the measure would stop special interest groups from controlling Sacramento.

    Two of California's top three billionaire spenders, Jerry Perenchi and Charles Munger, have donated substantially to Prop. 32. Other supporters include the California Republican Party, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association and Democrats for Education Reform.

    Opponents say...

    the measure unfairly limits unions and would not stop special interest spending, since it does nothing to stem the flood of money to super PACs.

    Major opponents of Prop. 32 include the League of Women Voters, the California Democratic Party and most labor unions, including the California School Employees Association, the AFL-CIO and SEIU.

  • Proposition 33

    Changes Car Insurance Rates

    Craig Miller/KQED

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 33 would allow drivers to maintain a "continuous coverage" auto insurance discount even if they switch insurers.
    • Drivers with lapses in coverage during a five-year period could face increased auto rates, with three exceptions.
    • Currently, the California insurance commissioner reviews and approves auto insurance rates. Prop. 33 would allow insurers to raise rates for drivers who have not had continuous coverage, without getting approval from California's insurance commissioner.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the net impact would be insignificant.

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    California's insurance commissioner regulates rates and determines what discounts auto insurance companies can give to drivers. Insurance companies use up to 16 factors to set rates, including how many miles you drive, your past accident history and how long you've been insured with the same company.

    What Proposition 33 Changes

    When you want to change your auto insurance company, you can lose the company's "loyalty" discount. Prop. 33 would allow auto insurance companies in California to charge you more or less based on how long you've been insured with any company under a new "continuous coverage" provision.

    Who's Eligible for Lower Rates

    Drivers who have maintained their auto insurance for five years. Drivers who aren't insured, or who have had a lapse in coverage in the last five years, are eligible for rate deductions if the lapse was:

    • 90 days or less, for any reason
    • 18 months or less if the reason was unemployment due to being laid off or furloughed
    • for active military service

    So if you've had a lapse in auto insurance because you were ill, or decided to take the bus for a year, or never had insurance to begin with, auto insurers would be allowed to charge you a higher rate, without getting approval from the state commissioner.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    the measure would lower auto insurance rates for responsible drivers. People could take advantage of discounts and pressure their current insurers for lower rates by being able to switch companies and maintain a "continuous coverage" discount.

    Prop. 33 is almost entirely funded by George Joseph, the chairman of Mercury General Corporation, an insurance company. In 2010, Mercury Corporation spent $16 million on a similar measure, Proposition 17, which was defeated. As of late September Joseph had donated $8.4 million to the current campaign.

    Other supporters include the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters and the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

    Opponents say...

    the measure would weaken consumer protections and allow auto insurers to raise rates unilaterally. They also argue that it would lead to more uninsured motorists because the rate hike would discourage people from buying insurance.

    Consumer Watchdog is the main opponent of Prop. 33, and was a major opponent of Proposition 17. By late September, the Santa Monica-based organization had raised $94,000. Other opponents include the political arm of Consumer Reports, the Consumer Federation of California and the California Nurses Association.

  • Proposition 34

    Repeals the Death Penalty

    Scott Shafer/KQED

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 34 repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
    • It applies retroactively.
    • It requires people convicted of murder to work while in prison and specifies that part of their pay will go to crime victims.
    • It creates a new fund to help law enforcement solve rapes and homicides more quickly. A total of $100 million would be transferred from the general fund to this project over four years.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates California would initially save $100 million a year, and would transfer part of this to the new fund for four years. Eventually, the state would save $130 million annually.

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    Currently, a person convicted of first-degree murder in California can be sentenced either to death or life in prison without parole when certain "special circumstances" have been proven, for example, the killer used a bomb, or the victim had been kidnapped or was a police officer.

    Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1978, about 900 people have been sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed, 83 have died before their execution date and 75 have had their sentences reduced by the court as of July 2012, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

    What Proposition 34 Does

    Eliminates the death penalty, making first-degree murder with special circumstances punishable only by life in prison without parole. It also changes the sentence of the 725 offenders who are currently on Death Row to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

    Does it Save Money?

    Court proceedings to execute an inmate can take decades, according to the state Legislative Analyst's Office. The LAO estimates that if the death penalty is repealed the state and counties could save about $100 million annually in trial and appeals litigation and corrections costs; after several years that savings would grow to an estimated $130 million annually.

    Those savings would be somewhat offset by a special fund the measure would create that sets aside $100 million for grants to local law enforcement to help investigate homicides and sex crimes. That money would come from the General Fund over four years. In 2009, about 47 percent of homicides and 68 percent of rapes were unsolved, according to the Attorney General's office.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    the measure would save California millions of dollars and prevent the possibility of executing an innocent person.

    Former San Quentin warden Jeanne Woodford initiated the measure. The ACLU, California Democratic Party, League of Women Voters and the California Conference of Catholic Bishops support the measure.

    Opponents say...

    the measure lets criminals escape justice.

    Many law enforcement associations oppose the measure, including the California State Sheriffs' Association and the California District Attorneys Association. The state Republican Party is also against the measure.

  • Proposition 35

    Increases Penalties for Human Trafficking

    Thinkstock

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 35 increases the prison terms and fines for human trafficking.
    • It expands the definition of human trafficking to include distribution of child pornography.
    • It directs the money collected from fines to victims' services and law enforcement.
    • It requires sex offenders to give local law enforcement their online identities and Internet access information.
    • It requires training for police officers in how to handle human trafficking cases.
    • It prohibits using evidence of the victim's prior sexual conduct in court.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates local governments across the state could spend a few million dollars in one-time training costs, plus a few million dollars annually on increased prosecution and corrections costs. Fines would generate several million dollars annually for victims' services, prevention and rescue operations.

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    There are two categories of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Most human trafficking cases are tried in federal courts, so Proposition 35 would affect the small number of cases handled by California courts. As of March 2012, only 18 such offenders were in state prison.

    What Prop. 35 Changes

    Prop. 35 would expand the definition of human trafficking to include crimes related to creating and distributing child pornography. So a person could be convicted of human trafficking for duplicating child pornography, even if the offender had no contact with the child.

    Increased Penalties

    The maximum prison term would go from five years to eight years for labor trafficking; five years to 20 years for sex trafficking; and eight years to life in prison for forcibly sex trafficking a minor. The maximum fine would go up from $100,000 to $1.5 million.

    The measure requires sex traffickers to register as sex offenders. Registered sex offenders would have to give the local police or sheriff's department the names of their Internet providers and their online identities, such as user names and email addresses.

    Where Does the Money Go?

    Seventy percent of the money from fines would go to victims' support services and 30 percent would go to law enforcement activities related to trafficking, including prevention, witness protection and rescue operations.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    the measure would prevent human trafficking through increased penalties, law enforcement training and monitoring.

    The majority of funding for Prop. 35 comes from former Facebook executive Chris Kelly, who founded the Safer California Foundation. California Against Slavery, the California Police Chiefs Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California also back the measure.

    Opponents say...

    the measure limits online free speech. The measure could make it harder to help victims leave sex work by ending the crime of misdemeanor prostitution. The measure could be challenged in court because including the "intent to distribute obscene matter" could be considered unconstitutionally vague and lengthening prison sentences could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

    The ACLU of Northern California has come out against the measure. The Erotic Providers Legal, Education and Research Project Inc. is the major opponent.

  • Proposition 36

    Revises the Three Strikes Law

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 36 revises criminal penalties so people convicted of a third-strike felony will receive a life sentence only when the crime was serious or violent.
    • It maintains life sentences for felons with non-serious, non-violent third strike convictions if prior convictions were for rape, murder or child molestation.
    • Current prisoners convicted of a non-serious, non-violent third-strike felony could apply for a reduced sentence.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the resentencing trials would cost a few million dollars over several years. However, that would be more than offset by $70 to $90 million annual savings.

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    In 1994, voters passed Proposition 184, the Three Strikes law. It changed the sentencing for anyone convicted of a felony who also has a previous violent or serious felony conviction.

    What's a Violent or Serious Felony?

    Violent felonies include murder, robbery and rape. Most violent felonies are considered serious. But there are other felonies, such as non-confrontational residential burglary, that are considered serious, but not violent. Then there are felonies that are neither violent nor serious, such as stealing a car or possessing illegal drugs, not including marijuana.

    How Three Strikes Currently Works

    If a person has previously been convicted of a violent or serious felony and is convicted of a new felony, the court can decide to sentence them under the Three Strikes law.

    • Second strike offense — the sentence for any new felony conviction (not just serious or violent) doubles the normal term. So a mandatory four-year sentence becomes eight years.
    • Third strike offense — if a person has two or more previous serious or violent felony convictions then the sentence for any new felony (not just serious or violent) is a life term with the possibility of parole after 25 years. In March 2012, about 9,000 California prison inmates were third-strikers, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.
    What Proposition 36 Changes

    The measure reduces the sentence for a third-strike felony that's non-serious and non-violent from life in prison, to a prison sentence that is twice the usual term. About a third of current three-strikers would be eligible to apply for a reduced sentence.

    Exceptions

    People convicted of certain third felonies related to drugs, sex or guns would still be subject to a life sentence. People with prior convictions for rape, murder or child molestation would also be subject to a life sentence.

    The Cost

    Prisoners who currently face life in prison because of a non-violent, non-serious third felony could apply for a reduced sentence. But they would still be required to serve double the normal sentence for their crime.

    The LAO estimates that the resentencing trials would cost a few million dollars over several years. However, that would be more than offset by $70 to $90 million annual savings from shortening some prison stays.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    the measure makes the punishment fit the crime. It would also save California millions of dollars annually and help with prison overcrowding.

    Stanford Law School Professor David Mills drafted the measure with lawyers from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in consultation with law enforcement officials. The District Attorneys in San Francisco and Santa Clara support the measure. Major financial backers include David Mills, the NAACP and George Soros.

    Opponents say...

    the measure reduces prison sentences and could release criminals with previous violent felonies. They also argue that the measure is unnecessary as judges already have some leeway in deciding when to apply Three Strikes.

    Most law enforcement organizations are against the measure, including: the California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriff's Association, California District Attorneys Association and Los Angeles Police Protective League. The Peace Officers Research Association of California is the main financial backer of the opposition campaign.

  • Proposition 37

    Labels Genetically Engineered Foods

    David McNew/Getty Images

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 37 requires labels on all raw foods that have been genetically engineered, and all processed foods that contain ingredients that were genetically engineered.
    • Genetically engineered foods could not be labeled "natural," a term that is not currently regulated.
    • Certain products are exempt, including: alcoholic beverages, prepared foods, medicine and animal feed.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates Prop. 37 will cost up to $1 million for the state Department of Public Health inspections.

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    As consumers we have been eating genetically engineered foods since 1994. Most genetic modifications are to seeds to help them grow in adverse climates, mature faster or become resistant to pests or herbicides.

    In 2011, 88 percent of all corn and 94 percent of all soybeans produced in America were grown from genetically engineered (GE) seeds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other common GE crops are canola, papaya, sugar beets and zucchini.

    What Proposition 37 Changes:

    Currently, consumers do not know what foods have been genetically engineered. Under Prop 37, all foods that have been genetically engineered, or contain GE ingredients will be labeled.

    What's Exempt

    The measure exempts alcoholic beverages, medicines, food served at restaurants, pet food and animals that eat GE foods. So milk and beef from cows that eat GE corn would not be labeled, but soymilk from GE soybeans would be. Organic foods, since they already must not be genetically engineered would also not be labeled.

    Who's Responsible

    Retailers, such as grocery stores, would be required to label bulk foods and produce. For every product without a label, retailers would have to get a sworn statement from the provider of the product or receive independent certification.

    Medical Opinions

    More than 40 countries label GE foods, including all European Union nations, India and China. America does not. The Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization say genetically engineered foods do not present a safety concern. The American Medical Association agrees that's what current research shows, but says it would like to see more testing.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    there's a dearth of peer-reviewed studies on the effects of GE foods on human health, and therefore such foods should be labeled. Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced.

    Major donors include the Organic Consumers Fund, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and Nature's Path Foods, who had raised $3.9 million dollars by late September.

    Opponents say...

    people seeking non-GE foods can eat organic products. Some scientific organizations say labeling is a scare tactic. They argue genetic engineering is a tool that can help fight hunger and ward off pests.

    Companies also warn the measure could drive the price of food up, as they will pass the cost of complying to the consumer.

    The list of opponents includes many large food corporations, such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, General Mills, Sara Lee, Kraft and Nestle. Monsanto, a leading producer of GE seeds, is the largest donor against the campaign. All told, opponents had raised about $32.5 million by late September.

  • Proposition 38

    Molly Munger's Tax Increases for Early Education and K-12

    Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 38 increases income tax rates on almost all Californians until 2025.
    • The money would go to K-12 public schools and early education programs, on top of school funding guaranteed by state law. For the first four years, revenues would also help pay down California's debt.
    • Prop. 38 isn't tied to this year's state budget, so if this measure passes with more votes than Prop, 30, it will trigger $5.9 billion in cuts to education and public safety programs.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates Prop. 38 would bring in about $10 billion annually in increased taxes. During the initial four years, about $6 billion would be used for schools, $1 billion for early education programs and $3 billion for debt payments.

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    One of two income tax propositions on this year's ballot, Proposition 38 increases tax rates on most Californians from 2013 through 2024, to fund public education and pay down the state debt.

    Because Prop. 38 isn't tied to this year's state budget, if it passes with more votes than Prop. 30, education and public safety programs would still lose $5.9 billion between now and next July. That's because state legislatures included "trigger cuts" to trim the budget if Prop. 30 fails.

    What Prop. 38 Changes

    Here's the breakdown of the tax increases:

    Single filer's annual taxable income Joint filers' annual taxable income Tax increase under Prop. 38
    $0 – $7,316 $0 – $14,632 0%
    7,316 – 17,346 14,632 – 34,692 0.4
    17,346 – 27,377 34,692 – 54,754 0.7
    27,377 – 38,004 54,754 – 76,008 1.1
    38,004 – 48,029 76,008 – 96,058 1.4
    48,029 – 100,000 96,058 – 200,000 1.6
    100,000 – 250,000 200,000 – 500,000 1.8
    200,000 – 500,000 500,000 – 1,000,000 1.9
    500,000 – 1,000,000 1,000,000 – 2,000,000 2
    1,000,000 – 2,500,000 2,000,000 – 5,000,000 2.1
    More than 2,500,000 More than 5,000,000 2.2
    Where Does the Money Go

    The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the measure would raise $10 billion for next year's state budget. During the first four years, 60 percent of revenues would go to K-12 schools, 30 percent to repaying state debt and 10 percent to early childhood education. Beginning in fiscal year 2018, the funding would shift: 85 percent of revenues would go to K-12 schools and 15 percent to early childhood programs.

    These revenues would be added to the money K-12 schools already receive from the state's general fund.

    How Schools Can Use the Money

    Right now, district school boards decide how to spend most of the money they get. Prop 38 has strict rules on how school districts can spend the money, with specific amounts designated for technology and low-income students, for example. None of the Prop. 38 funding could be spent on salaries or pensions. Prop. 30 designates the new tax money for classroom spending only, with none to be spent on administration.

    What Happens if Proposition 30 and 38 Both Pass

    The state constitution says when income tax measures conflict, the one with the most votes prevails. So if Prop. 38 passes with more votes, income tax rates would increase according to Prop. 38 and, without Prop. 30, automatic budget cuts would be triggered. The Franchise Tax Board or courts would then have to step in to decide whether Prop. 30's sales tax or guarantee of realignment funding would still take effect.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    the measure guarantees additional funding for education outside of the general fund.

    Lawyer Molly Munger is the main supporter and funder of Prop. 38. By late September she had spent almost $30 million on the proposition. The California State Parent Teacher Association supports Prop. 38. Most supporters of Prop. 30, such as the California Democratic Party and teachers' unions, have not taken a stand on Prop. 38.

    Opponents say...

    the measure is a huge tax hike for middle-income taxpayers and small businesses, whose owners pay income taxes as individuals instead of as corporations.

    The California Business PAC, sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce, is one of the few donors against the measure, as of mid-September. The California State Sheriffs' Association is also opposed.

  • Proposition 39

    Increases Taxes on Multistate Business, Funds Clean Energy

    Sandy Huffaker/Getty

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 39 would require "multistate businesses" to calculate their California income tax based on what percentage of their sales are in the state.
    • Currently, multistate businesses can choose instead to pay taxes based on three factors, including the number of employees they have in the state. This can lower taxes for businesses who have fewer employees here.
    • It dedicates up to $550 million annually for five years to fund alternative energy projects.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates California would gain about $1 billion in additional tax revenues. For the first five years, about half of that would go to alternative energy projects.

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    A corporation "does business" in California based on how much property or how many employees it has here, or how much it earns here.

    A company that has one quarter of its sales, property, or payroll in California is "doing business" here. So is a company that earns more than $500,000 here, has property worth more $50,000 or spends more than $50,000 on payroll in the state.

    Right now multistate businesses can choose the formula for determining how they pay income taxes. And while only a small portion of businesses in California work across multiple states, they pay the majority of the state's corporate income tax. In fiscal year 2010-11, the corporate income tax raised $9.6 billion, the third-largest general fund revenue source.

    What Proposition 39 Changes

    Multistate businesses would have to pay their income tax based on what percentage of their sales are in California. A company that sells one-quarter of its product here would pay income tax on one-quarter of total profit. Companies would no longer have a tax incentive to keep their California staff small.

    The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the change would bring in an extra $1 billion annually.

    Where Does the Money Go?

    Prop. 39 establishes a new state fund: the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund. For five years, half of the new money raised (up to $550 million) would go into that fund, to be spent on:

    • Energy efficient retrofits and alternative energy projects in public facilities, such as solar panels on a school roof;
    • Financial and technical assistance for the retrofits;
    • Job training in clean energy and energy efficiency for veterans and disadvantaged youth.

    The rest of the money would go into the state's general fund.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    the measure closes a tax loophole costing California $1 billion annually. That money could then support clean energy and education.

    Prop. 39 is almost entirely financed by hedge fund manager Thomas F. Steyer, who is also the co-chair of Californians for Clean Energy & Jobs, the other major funder. Supporters include the Latin Business Association and the Los Angeles Business Council.

    Opponents say...

    the measure attacks businesses that provide jobs. They also argue that the measure spends up to $22 million on a new clean energy bureaucracy that has little accountability.

    As of late September there were no committees registered with the California Secretary of State opposing Prop. 39. In the official state voter guide, the following organizations oppose it: California Manufacturers & Technology Association, National Tax Limitation Committee, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and Friends for Saving California Jobs.

  • Proposition 40

    Referendum: Approves Current State Senate District Boundaries

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    At a Glance

    • Proposition 40 is one of those backwards measures, where a "yes" vote doesn't change anything, and a "no" vote changes a lot.
    • A yes vote on Prop. 40 keeps in place the new state Senate district boundaries created by the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
    • A no vote throws out the state Senate districts created by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The California Supreme Court would then appoint officials to redraw state Senate district boundaries.
    • The original backers of this measure no longer support it.
    • Budget Impact: The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that if Californians vote no, the state would spend about $500,000 and counties statewide would spend another $500,000 to develop materials, such as new precinct maps.

    Embed

    • This Proposition
    • Entire Guide

    Political district boundaries get re-drawn every 10 years after the U.S. Census has determined how many people are living where. In 2008 and 2010, voters passed measures creating a Citizens Redistricting Commission to redraw the boundaries of Congressional, California Senate and Assembly and Board of Equalization districts. Those are now California's current district boundaries.

    What Proposition 40 Changes

    Nothing. But it still takes a "yes" vote to keep in place the state Senate districts created by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. If Prop. 40 fails, those districts get thrown out, and the new districts would be drawn by a panel of officials appointed by the California Supreme Court.

    Why is Prop. 40 on the Ballot?

    The California Republican Party sponsored this referendum to overturn the new state Senate districts. The GOP then asked the state Supreme Court to rule on whether the new maps or the old maps would be used for the November 2012 election. In January, the state's high court ruled that the district maps drawn by the Citizens Commission must be used in 2012.

    So on July 12, the supporters of Prop. 40 announced they're no longer campaigning for people to vote "no." However, the measure remains on the ballot because there's no way to remove measures that have qualified via a signature campaign.

    A Little Context

    Before 2010, the state legislature decided California's political boundaries. The Citizens Redistricting Commission was an effort spearheaded by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to make the process more transparent and less political.

    Arguments For and Against:

    Supporters say...

    voting "yes" protects the work of an independent commission created by voters.

    The League of Women Voters of California, AARP California, California Chamber of Commerce, the California Democratic Party and now the California Republican Party all support a yes vote.

    Opponents say...

    The California Republican Party has withdrawn its support for a "no" vote.

By: Lisa Pickoff-White
Edited by: Kat Snow
Design/development: Phil Cho