Prop 30: YES “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education”

What it does: Prop 30 generates $6-9 billion per year for essential services like schools, by raising the income tax on individuals making over$250,000 per year for 7 years, and raising the sales tax by ¼ cent for 4 years.

Why we support it: The California Dream was built on a system of public schools and colleges that gave every Californian access to the educationneeded to get ahead. We can’t keep cutting our schools and still keep the economy strong for the next generation. Prop 30 would significantly increase spending to K-12 schools, community colleges, and help close the state’s budget gap. Prop 30 asks California’s wealthiest to pay a little morein income taxes so that the middle class doesn’t have to bear the burden. 78% of the revenue raised through this proposition would come from California’s top 1%. Prop 30 is our best bet for raising money for our schools from the folks who have the most to give. Vote yes.

Prop 31: NO “State Budget. State and Local Government.”

What it does: Prop 31 would impose restrictions on how the state can spend money, open up new ways for local governments to spend money, giving the Governor unilateral power to make budget decisions during a fiscal emergency, and making it harder to fund basic programs like schools.

Why we oppose it: While Prop 31 would do some interesting things like make the state budget cycle two years instead of one, there are too many risks in this proposition for us to be able to support it. With the State struggling to meet it’s financial obligations and continually cutting critical public services like K-12 schools, this initiative transfers $200 million per year from state revenues into a special account to pay for experimental county programs. It also gives the Governor unilateral power to cut the state’s budget during a fiscal emergency if the state legislature fails to act. This is not the time to gamble with money that should be spent on our highest priorities.

Prop 32: NO “Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction”

What it does: Prop 32 would prohibit labor unions like teachers, nurses and firefighters from using payroll deductions for political purposes, while still allowing big-money Super PACs to give unlimited amounts.

Why we oppose it: Prop 32 allows secretive Super PACs to raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate special interests and billionaire businessmen, while drastically undercutting the political power of labor unions made up of everyday people.

Prop 32 is not what it seems. It promises “political reform,” but is really designed by special interests to help them and hurt their opponents – everyday workers in California. Prop 32 does nothing to prevent anonymous donors from spending unlimited amounts to influence elections. It was intentionally written to create special exemptions for Wall Street investment firms, hedge funds, insurance companies, real-estate developers and many other powerful interests. In addition, there’s nothing to stop corporations from creating secretive front groups and making unlimited campaign expenditures.

Prop 33: NO “Auto Insurance Companies. Prices based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage.”

What it does: Prop 33 would punish people who have not consistently had car insurance by increasing their rates.

Why we oppose it: Prop 32 is another deceptive auto-insurance trick that would raise auto-insurance rates for millions of responsible drivers in California. If the so-called Mercury Surcharge passes, there will be more uninsured drivers, raising premiums for all drivers. If Prop 33 passes it will lead to higher Uninsured Motorist premiums for all insured drivers. It would be a big step backward for consumer protection, and for a state thathas seen a sharp climb in insurance coverage since voters passed auto insurance rate regulation in 1988. The Mercury initiative would actually surcharge millions of drivers in ways that are currently illegal, and raise premiums for all drivers because it would create more uninsured motorists on the road. During these tough economic times, people don’t need to be punished and charged more just for trying to have car insurance.

Prop 34: YES “Death Penalty”

What it does: Prop. 34 will replace California’s death penalty with a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole as the maximum punishment for murder.

Why we support it: The death penalty disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color, and also costs our state more money per year than simply sentencing people to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Under Prop 34, convicted killers will remain behind bars forever – while eliminating the risk of executing an innocent person and saving our state $130 million per year. Prop 34 requires persons convicted of murder to work and pay restitution into a victim’s compensation fund.

Prop 35: NO “Human Trafficking Penalties”

What it does: Prop 35 increases punishments and fees on human traffickers, and requires convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders.

Why we oppose it: While we clearly oppose human trafficking, Prop 35 doesn’t protect trafficking victims and increases criminalization of low-income, immigrant, communities of color. Humans are trafficked to work as sex workers, domestic workers, farmworkers, sweatshop workers and more. Proposition 35 would require people convicted of human trafficking, including some who may not have committed any sexual offense at all, to register as sex offenders. Moreover, there are no provisions for victims of trafficking to receive visas that would allow them to remain in the United States, leading to deportation. We are committed to stopping human trafficking, but this proposition is too broad and misdirected. 

Prop 36: YES “Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders.”

What it does: Prop 36 revises the Three Strikes Law to impose a life sentence only when new felony conviction is “serious or violent.”

Why we support it: California’s Three-Strikes Law hasn’t been working – it mandates an automatic life sentence after a third felony conviction, regardless of the crime. California’s prisons are over crowded with “third-strikers” who’ve committed non-violent, drug related crimes. Many of these people are drug addicts who need treatment, not a lifetime in prison. Prop 36 would revise California’s Three Strikes Law and impose a life sentence only when a new felony conviction is serious or violent. Prop 36 could save over $100 million every year to fund schools, prevent crime, and decrease the need for tax increases by reducing the costs of incarcerating and providing health care for aging non-violent inmates.

Prop 37: YES “Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling”

What it does: Prop 37 would require genetically modified food to be labeled as such.

Why we support it: We support Yes on Prop 37 because it would ensure genetically modified food is clearly labeled. We already have food labels showing nutrition, allergy information and other facts consumers want to know. This measure simply adds information telling us if food is produced using genetic engineering – and it costs us nothing as taxpayers.

Prop 38: NO “Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs”

What it does: Prop 38 increases the income tax rate for Californians, beginning with individuals earning $7,316 per year, in order to raise $10 billion annually for K-12 schools and early childhood programs.

Why we oppose it: With families suffering from unemployment, foreclosure and a lagging economy, we believe that the wealthiest Californians canafford to pay a little more instead of poor and working-class families picking up the bill, which is what Prop 38 would require. While there is no question we need more revenue to support schools and early childhood programs, Prop 38 is not the right way to go about it. It would do nothing to help higher education, public safety and critical services, but it would require even low-income families to pay more in income taxes.

Prop 39: YES “Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding.”

What it does: Prop 39 would close a corporate tax loop hole and make sure that corporations doing business in California pay their taxes in California.

Why we support it: Corporations need to pay their fair share of tax dollars into our state, and Prop 39 would ensure corporations pay their taxes using California’s business tax formula. It would bring in about $1 billion dollars a year and will grow over time. Those dollars would go back to everyday Californians like us by funding over 40,000 construction and clean energy jobs. Corporations should pay their fair share to ensure that we all have good jobs and clean communities.

Prop 40: YES “Referendum on Redistricting State Senate Districts”

What it does: Prop 40 would confirm the redistricting maps for State Senate lines that were drafted over the last two years by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Why we support it: In 2010, millions of Californians participated in the U.S. Census. The Census information was used to develop new maps for State Senate district lines. If Prop 40 wins, it would make these new maps official. Since the bi-partisan Citizens Redistricting Commission took the testimony of tens of thousands of Californians from around the state, we think these new maps are more balanced and accurate than the old system, which let politicians decide their own districts. We think Prop 40 lifts up a more democratic process in California. And, if Prop 40 doesn’t pass, a Sacramento staffer will be allowed to redraw the district boundaries by themselves. That sounds like more Sacramento business as usual…and that can’t be good for Oakland.