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California Ballot Propositions, 2006
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, October 12, 2006

The 2006 election is quickly approaching, which means that it is time once again to review, reflect, and reject them. (Or support them, as the case may be. I just couldn't resist the alliteration, though). And it's quite a crop of ballot measures on tap this year, including several that were put on the ballot by the aging San Francisco hippies that run the legislature.

That's never a good sign.

So, let's see what we've got here, shall we? We'll start with the propositions that the legislature put on the ballot.


* Protects transportation funding for traffic congestion relief projects, safety improvements, and local streets and roads.
* Prohibits the state sales tax on motor vehicle fuels from being used for any purpose other than transportation improvements.
* Authorizes loans of these funds only in the case of severe state fiscal hardship. Requires loans of revenues from states sales tax on motor vehicle fuels to be fully repaid within the three years. Restricts loans to no more than twice in any 10-year period.

My Vote: OK. Sure. Why not? It requires no increases in either taxing or spending, and prevents the state from raiding the fuel tax revenues, which are supposed to be used to maintain the roads, in order to cover shortfalls in the general fund. So, I'll go along with this one.

* Makes safety improvements and repairs to state highways; upgrades freeways to reduce congestion; repairs local streets and roads; upgrades highways along major transportation corridors.
* Improves seismic safety of local bridges.
* Expands public transit.
* Helps complete the state’s network of car pool lanes.
* Reduces air pollution.
* Improves anti-terrorism security at shipping ports.
* Provides for a bond issue not to exceed nineteen billion nine hundred twenty-five million dollars ($19,925,000,000).
* Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay off bonds.

My Vote: Call me soft on terrorism, uncaring about earthquake safety, and an environmental rapist, but, no. While the State is financially better off than it was a few years ago, we simply aren't in a position to borrow another $20 billion. Well, actually, we are in a position to borrow $20 billion. Paying it off, however, is still a bit problematic. If we still need all that highway money and what-not, I have two words: Toll Roads. But, wait, it gets better...

* Funds may be used for the purpose of providing shelters for battered women and their children, clean and safe housing for low-income senior citizens; homeownership assistance for the disabled, military veterans, and working families; and repairs and accessibility improvements to apartment for families and disabled citizens.
* The state shall issue bonds totaling two billion eight hundred fifty million dollars ($2,850,000,000) paid from existing state funds at an average annual cost of two hundred and four million dollars ($204,000,000) per year over the 30 year life of the bonds.
* Requires reporting and publication of annual independent audited reports showing use of funds, and limits administration and overhead costs.
* Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay off bonds.

My Vote: No. For those keeping a running total, we're now up to about $23 billion in proposed bonds.

* This ten billion four hundred sixteen million dollar ($10,416,000,000) bond issue will provide needed funding to relieve public school overcrowding and to repair older schools.
* It will improve earthquake safety and fund vocational educational facilities in public schools. Bond funds must be spent according to strict accountability measures.
* Funds will also be used to repair and upgrade existing public college and university buildings and to build new classrooms to accommodate the growing student enrollment in the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University.
* Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay off bonds.

My Vote: Did you guess, "No"? Well, then, you're right. Another $10 Billion in bonds—which, by the way, will cost about $20 billion in actual money to retire over the next three decades. Bringing our bond total to $33 billion. The lej lust loves those bonds.

* This act rebuilds and repairs California’s most vulnerable flood control structures to protect homes and prevent loss of life from flood-related disasters, including levee failures, flash floods, and mudslides.
* Protects California’s drinking water supply system by rebuilding delta levees that are vulnerable to earthquakes and storms.
* Authorizes a $4.09 billion dollar bond act.
* Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay off bonds.

My Vote: Again, no. We're up to $37 billion in bonds, by the way, which will cost about $74 billion to pay back.

The annual state budget for California is $97 billion. This year, the legislature is proposing a bond issue for a single year that amounts to almost 40% of the annual budget. I'm sure that many of these things might be wonderful things to fund, but, considering that the state already has $49 billion in bonds outstanding as of 1 August 2006, I find it hard to accept the proposition that the state needs to increase its total level of indebtedness by 75% in a single year.

So, those are the goodies the legislature has for us this year. Now, let's take a look at what the voter-petitioned ballot initiatives have in store for us.

* Increases penalties for violent and habitual sex offenders and child molesters.
* Prohibits registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of any school or park.
* Requires lifetime Global Positioning System monitoring of felony registered sex offenders.
* Expands definition of a sexually violent predator.
* Changes current two-year involuntary civil commitment for a sexually violent predator to an indeterminate commitment, subject to annual review by the Director of Mental Health and subsequent ability of sexually violent predator to petition court for sexually violent predator’s conditional release or unconditional discharge.

My Vote: Nope. Essentially, this proposition changes the law to so that, if you are ever convicted of a sexual offense, you face lifetime GPS monitoring from the government, or they can just stick you in a mental hospital for the rest of your life. I know, of course, that it's for the children. But the most onerous and expensive portions of the law would apply basically to misdemeanor offenders, and others convicted of non-violent crimes. And I'm very antsy about any law that requires lifetime GPS monitoring, even of criminals.

* Funds projects relating to safe drinking water, water quality and supply, flood control, waterway and natural resource protection, water pollution and contamination control, state and local park improvements, public access to natural resources, and water conservation efforts.
* Provides funding for emergency drinking water, and exempts such expenditures from public contract and procurement requirements to ensure immediate action for public safety.
* Authorizes $5,388,000,000 in general obligation bonds to fund projects and expenditures, to be repaid from the state’s General Fund.

My Vote: Hey, look! It's another $6 billion in proposed bonds! Hey, look! It's me saying "NO!", again.

* Amends California Constitution to prohibit abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent or legal guardian, except in medical emergency or with parental waiver.
* Permits minor to obtain court order waiving notice based on clear and convincing evidence of minor’s maturity or best interests.
* Mandates various reporting requirements, including reports from physicians regarding abortions performed on minors.
* Authorizes monetary damages against physicians for violation.
* Requires minor’s consent to abortion, with certain exceptions.
* Permits judicial relief if minor’s consent coerced.

My Vote: Yes. Now, California is a state where minors are prohibited from getting their ears pierced or getting tattoos without parental consent, on the presumption that minors are not competent to make these decisions for themselves. You might think that, since the above is true, a minor's similar incompetence to make decisions concerning invasive medical procedures would be similarly beyond question. You'd be wrong, of course. Abortion, after all, is a politically favored medical procedure, for which the normal rules of common sense and parental authority doesn't apply.

* Imposes additional 13 cent tax on each cigarette distributed ($2.60 per pack), and indirectly increases tax on other tobacco products.
* Provides funding to qualified hospitals for emergency services, nursing education and health insurance to eligible children.
* Revenue also allocated to specified purposes including tobacco-use-prevention programs, enforcement of tobacco-related laws, and research, prevention, treatment of various conditions including cancers (breast, cervical, prostate, colorectal), heart disease, stroke, asthma and obesity.
* Exempts recipient hospitals from antitrust laws in certain circumstances.
* Revenue excluded from appropriation limits and minimum education funding (Proposition 98) calculations.

My Vote: No. We simply have to stop this practice of going after smokers, overeaters, or other unfavored groups simply to hijack more money from them. The idea of a junk-food tax has already been floated in Sacramento, by the way. "Oh, but those smokers and overeaters cost us so much money!" OK. Then stop the government from paying for it. Problem solved.

* Establishes $4 billion program with goal to reduce petroleum consumption by 25%, with research and production incentives for alternative energy, alternative energy vehicles, energy efficient technologies, and for education and training.
* Funded by tax of 1.5% to 6% (depending on oil price per barrel) on producers of oil extracted in California. Prohibits producers from passing tax to consumers.
* Program administered by new California Energy Alternatives Program Authority.
* Prohibits changing tax while indebtedness remains.
* Revenue excluded from appropriation limits and minimum education funding (Proposition 98) calculations.

My Vote: No. First, note the pie-in-the-sky utopianism of assuming that petroleum consumption can be cut by 25% by government fiat, in a state where practically no public transportation exists, and where it can't really be built due to the sheer physical size of the urban areas. In your cramped little cities back east, I'm sure subways and whatnot are just peachy. Out here in California, where your one-way commute to work is 45 miles, it's a really expensive thing to try and build piublic transportation Second, note the requirement that the costs of this tax cannot be passed to customers (and let's forget, for a moment, about any discussion over how you'd enforce that). Now, oil companies, despite all the shrieking and wailing about their obscene profits, actually have a profit margin of about 10%. Compare that to, say Citigroup's profit margin of about 15%. What this law would essentially do is reduce profits for oil companies to a margin of between 4%-8%. And it would so so in such a way so that, as oil prices rise, profits are reduced even more. Once again, this is nothing more than a naked use of tax law to coerce additional money from politically unfavored groups.

* Provides additional public school funding for kindergarten through grade 12.
* Funded by $50 tax on each real property parcel.
* Exempts certain elderly and disabled homeowners.
* Funds must be used for class size reduction, textbooks, school safety, Academic Success facility grants, and data system to evaluate educational program effectiveness.
* Provides for reimbursement to General Fund to offset anticipated decrease in income tax revenues due to increased deductions attributable to new parcel tax.
* Requires school district audits, penalties for fund misuse.
* Revenue excluded from minimum education funding (Proposition 98) calculations.

My Vote: Actually, I'm thinking "Yes" here. It is a generalized, equitable, small increase in property taxes. It would add $50 bucks to my annual property tax bill of $2500, and the money would go to one of the things property taxes are supposed to go to: schools. Moreover, it would be deductible from my state income taxes, which means, essentially, I'd be ponying up that 50 bucks anyway, whether this proposition passes or not. So, with the above in mind, I can go for this.

* Provides that candidates for state elective office meeting certain eligibility requirements, including collection of a specified number of $5.00 contributions from voters, may voluntarily receive public campaign funding from Fair Political Practices Commission, in amounts varying by elective office and election type.
* Increases income tax rate on corporations and financial institutions by 0.2 percent to fund program.
* Imposes new limits on campaign contributions to state-office candidates and campaign committees, and new restrictions on contributions by lobbyists, state contractors.
* Limits certain contributions and expenditures by corporations.

My Vote: No, No, No! First, I despise the very idea of publicly funded political campaigns. Second, I despise the idea that individuals should be limited in the amount of support they want to contribute to political campaigns. The only type of campaign finance reform I'm interested in would be to a) eliminate all limits on individual political contribution, b) allow onlyindividual campaign contributions, and c) require immediate public reporting of all donations. Other than that, I'm not interested in any type of campaign finance reform at all. And I'm really not interested in the government funding political campaigns for any reason.

* Bars state and local governments from condemning or damaging private property to promote other private projects or uses.
* Limits government’s authority to adopt certain land use, housing, consumer, environmental and workplace laws and regulations, except when necessary to preserve public health or safety.
* Voids unpublished eminent domain court decisions.
* Defines “just compensation.”
* Government must occupy condemned property or lease property for public use.
* Condemned private property must be offered for resale to prior owner or owner’s heir at current fair market value if government abandons condemnation’s objective.
* Exempts certain governmental actions.

My Vote: Absolutely frickin' YES! This is a post-Kelo measure to limit the ability of governments to use eminent domain and take private property. This one proposition would be worth going to the polls and voting for even if it was the only thing on the ballot. It meets my primary test, which is, "Limiting government: good".


So, there you have it. I'm sure that some of you will disagree with my choices, but I've made 'em, and I'm sticking to 'em.

So, there.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I agree with you on all of ’em. On a related note, thank God I don’t live in California.
Now, oil companies, despite all the shrieking and wailing about their obscene profits, actually have a profit margin of about 10%. Compare that to, say Citigroup’s profit margin of about 15%.
I prefer to compare it to Intel’s (18%) and Google’s (25%). That usually shuts the shrieking commies up.
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
I agree with you on all of them except 85. Maybe 88, I’m still percolating on that one, though you do make a good argument for it.

I’m definitely with you on 90. When I was 16, my family got eminent domained out of the house we’d lived in all my life. To clear the land for condos. You might say it’s a bit of a sore spot with me.
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
I think you’ve missed a trick on Prop. 88:
Moreover, it would be deductible from my state income taxes, which means, essentially, I’d be ponying up that 50 bucks anyway...
Deductible is not the same as credited. It would more likely be deducted from your income, so you’d save the 8% or whatever the state’s marginal tax bite is.
Written By: sammler
I think the only one, if you decided to be for it, I wouldn’t agree with you on is prop 88. The reason I say so is because I don’t have enough information about who would determine how the funds were used to reduce class size, what text books were to be used, how are schools to be made safer, and what kind of data system will be used to evaluate educational programs.

All of these areas are dangerous areas to me. We already have systems across the country that do a number on "evaluating educational program effectiveness". We have plenty of crappy measures to ensure student safety (although I have yet to hear any serious talk about enrolling teachers into gun classes and then arming them, or any faculty/staff).

I LOVE the idea of "Academic Success faculty grants", but I tremble when I think of the many ways "success" might be defined, allowing even more money to be thrown at the wrong type of education. Will success again equal effort?

"Funded by $50 tax on each real property parcel." Please tell me they’re not going to throw more money at the problem. Why can they not put forth a proposition that intends to restructure the way funds are used now?

Audits to see if funds are misused? Awesome! What’s the measuring stick and who gets to create that measuring stick? How is it enforced?

The fact is most of this stuff will end up working against the students, and tax payers, if it is not overseen by the right people. The right people in this case might be people with extensive expertise from the private sector of education; of course running the risk of proving that private schools are better at education than public schools (something we all know, yet government refuses to acknowledge, based of course on their spending record).

My favorite line in all of this is "’Defines just compensation’." Thank you Californians for putting it up, and I will thank you again when it passes.

I do have a couple of questions:

"Provides for reimbursement to General Fund to offset..." where does the reimbursement come from?
"Prohibits changing tax while indebtedness remains" = forever???

I see many great ideas in the propositions, if executed correctly. I also see many dangerous monsters in the same great ideas if not executed correctly. Props 85 and 90 and 1a get a yes. Everything else is found too dangerous to be trusted with most state governments in this country. Sorry for the long post; killing time at the end of my 3rd shift.
Written By: Ike
URL: http://
Thanks for this, Dale. I’ve not had a chance to review that booklet and I knew there were a slew of props this november.
Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
I’m going to chime in against 88 too. This is one of many attacks on Prop 13 (Limits on Property Taxes). I’m totally against statewide property taxes for schools. Both my local High School and Elementary school districts have already passed (multiple) bond issues for local school improvements. These payments are already added to our property tax bills. There have already been multiple multi-billion dollar bonds for Schools in CA. (paid for with General Fund money)

* Provides for reimbursement to General Fund to offset anticipated decrease in income tax revenues due to increased deductions attributable to new parcel tax.

California has a formula that Schools get a certain percentage of the annual state budget. Just like the lottery, a new income source for schools will allow the state to take money that was previously destined for schools and waste it on something else.
Even though this is "for the kids", the money will go elsewhere.

Finally, Although I could care less about "progessivity", the owner of a small house in Watts, gets the same tax increase as a multimillion dollar house on the beach.

Lets stick to local school funding initiatives. and drop this measure.

Other issues:
1E. Tom Mcclinttock supports this one. This bond measure builds something that will last the 30 years it takes to pay off the bond. He claims fixing the levys (I don’t want to use "levies" here) is needed to prevent damage similar to New Orleans.

85. While I support Parental Notification (who doesn’t) I don’t agree with the definition of abortion this measure (and the previous measure on this that failed) inserts into the State Constitution.

86. A recent news article stated this measure will create a bigger black market in cigarettes. According to the article a tractor-trailer load of cigarettes with the California Tax sticker would be with $250,000,000. A more than worthwhile target for a truck-jacker.

90. There are some who say this measure goes too far (takings clause). That’s the problem with the initiative process. One side presents it’s proposed law. Better worded were laws failed in the legislature. Even so, I strongly support Prop 90.

Some measures are put on by those trying to make a buck. Remember the first five association funded with cigarette tax money and the state stem cell research giveaway. Indian Casinos used another measure to get highway interchanges built for them. This time the hospitals are trying it with prop 86.

The other kind of measure is where the legislature fails to act. Prop 90 fits in here and the legislature failed to pass McClinttock’s SCA15. Prop 90 is needed to fix the abuse now allowed by the Supreme Courts Kelo decision.

Written By: Steve
URL: http://
the lef loves bonds.

oh come on. The California Constitution requires a vote before issuing public debt. And since the private sector pays for capital improvements with debt, why shouldn’t the public sector?

the voters of this state a long time ago decided to build a lot of infrastructure, from roads to schools to water projects. (One result of which is that California has a GDP that shoud give it a seat at the G8.) Maintaining and upgrading the aging infrastructure is an obligation of current residents. Failing to maintain the infrastructure will only impose much higher costs later.

If you vote for no other bond, you should really vote for the two water bonds. They pay for critical maintenance, repair and upgrades to the state’s water and flood control system.
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
I received an e-mail stating
Unlike other property taxes, this new parcel property tax takes only a 50% vote to pass (most property taxes take a two-thirds majority vote to pass under Proposition 13).
Can anyone confirm this?
Written By: Dan
URL: http://
I respect your principled positions on the ballot props. However, I would suggest you consider two points:

(1) Prop 85: As you say, the state presumes that a 17-year-old girl is incompetent to decide whether to get her ears pierced (or, if Prop 85 passes, to have an abortion). Do you presume the same thing? If so, please state, as it forms the basis of your position. Otherwise your support of Prop 85 amounts to acquiescing to the state’s restrictions on our freedom.

On the other hand, if your support of Prop 85 is influenced by a belief in the rights of the unborn, please state that.

(2) Prop 90: Do you really believe all zoning laws are harmful? Prop 90 requires the government to compensate property owners every time they restrict land usage. This will effectively halt all new zoning regulations, as it has in Oregon where a measure similar to Prop 90 passed two years ago. This could mean prisons next to neighborhoods, chemical plants next to schools, etc. If you feel this is okay, go ahead and vote for Prop 90. I think zoning laws are actually beneficial when used in moderation.

Happy voting!
Pete Stahl
Written By: Pete Stahl
(1) Prop 85: As you say, the state presumes that a 17-year-old girl is incompetent to decide whether to get her ears pierced (or, if Prop 85 passes, to have an abortion). Do you presume the same thing? If so, please state, as it forms the basis of your position. Otherwise your support of Prop 85 amounts to acquiescing to the state’s restrictions on our freedom.
I presume minors are not fully capable of making wise decision. I presume that parents are the appropriate locus for these decisions to be made. To the extent that the state emancipates minors, it restricts the freedom of parents to raise their children in a manner consistent with their values.
Do you really believe all zoning laws are harmful?
No, but I believe takings tend to be, especially post-Kelo. If the zoning thing needs further attention later, so be it. The important thing is to eliminate takings now. If you’re saying that zoning changes are so important that we should scrap the prevention of takings, too, well, then, that’s just crazy talk.
Written By: Dale Franks
No on everything.
Written By: Harry
URL: http://

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