Monday, October 18, 2010

California Ballot Propositions, continued

Okay, I'll cover three today:

Prop 22: Prevent the state from borrowing or taking money from various state and local funds and governments: One problem we have here in California is that so many of the few taxes we *do* pass are dedicated to a specific purpose. Thing is, the state has a lot of priorities that need funding, and locking money into one priority might mean underfunding something that's a higher priority. We faced this problem with the state's Healthy Children program, for example -- a ballot proposition locked in a tax for children's mental health programs, a tax so generous that a huge surplus had accumulated in a fund for that program, but there was no funding source for the Healthy Children health insurance program. So the Governator proposed chopping 100% from the Healthy Children program -- i.e., eliminating the program. Meaning California would have the most mentally stable sick children in the nation. The Legislature did a probably-illegal raid on the children's mental health fund (amongst others) so that children would have basic access to health insurance, because this is what the majority of people in California want -- they want mentally healthy kids, sure, but they want kids to have access to basic healthcare too and there would have been hell to pay if the Leg hadn't made that raid.

So anyhow, Prop 22 intends to take the power to balance priorities away from the Legislature and give it to... erm... who? In these tight times, who would decide priorities? Some voter who's been dead for 10 years now because of a ballot proposition that passed in 1979?! That's nuts. We have a way to handle legislators who don't balance priorities correctly, and that's to vote the bastards out. In the meantime, I want them there in Sacramento doing their job of balancing budget priorities so that the money goes to what's most important to the people of California, and Prop 22 would put some dead man who last voted in 1979 in charge, a notion that's, well, just fucking nuts, yo. So vote *NO* on Prop 22.

Okay, Prop 23: The "Protect Big Oil" proposition to effectively repeal the state's global warming law. Jesus fucking Great Penguin on a kippered herring, the only thing hated more than taxes is Big Oil, and these stupid-ass teabaggers want to stand up for big oil?! Not no, but HELL no. Vote this turkey down big time. Big Oil is just gonna have to deal with reality rather than try to pretend things can go on like they are forever.

Prop 24: This one repeals some tax breaks that the Legislature gave to Big Business last session. Now, the apologists for billionaires like Larry Ellison whine that taxes are driving companies away from California. That's a damned lie. Taxes account for less than 1% of the expenses of companies doing business in California. Remember, taxes are only levied on PROFITS, which are what's left when you deduct all the other costs of doing business. The biggest expense driving companies out of California is PAYROLL. And this expense is driven by the high cost of property in California -- people demand high salaries because that's the only way they can afford to live in California. And what's driving the high cost of property in California is two things: Geography (most of the major metropolitan areas are ringed by mountains and can't easily expand), and Prop 13, which makes it too expensive to move because you'd be assessed full value rather than a 30 year old value on your home for property tax purposes, and thus reduces the number of homes coming onto the market to a trickle because people literally can't afford to sell their homes because the property tax hit of buying even a tiny replacement condo would kill them.

So anyhow, giving Larry Ellison a few billion dollars in tax breaks at a time when the state is basically bankrupt is just fucking *insane*. It isn't as if Larry isn't making money, he's sitting on a stash of over $20 BILLION in cash, he has so much cash he literally can't find places to stash it all. All of us are having to pitch in to help during these hard times. Pass Prop 24, and add Larry Ellison to that list. Vote YES on Prop 24.

-- Badtux the Voting Penguin

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