This is the second post for anyone who wants to talk California Propositions.
pacem appellant graciously agreed to share his views on the California propositions this year.
The intention is to provide a jumping off point for discussion, and a place for BJ folks to share their views, not to suggest to anyone how they should vote.
The 12 propositions are covered in 2 posts.
Friday’s post covered 14, 17-19, 21-23 and 25.
Today’s post covers 15, 16, 20 and 24.
pacem appellant (aka Vincent Jorgensen)
I’m a California native, born and raised in the Bay Area. For the past several years, in every election in which there are propositions on the ballot, I’ve been researching the propositions and posting my findings and recommendations to my Facebook feed. It spurs a healthy discussion among my friends, and it’s led to my mind changing, too.This November, there are 12 propositions on the ballot, which isn’t record-setting, but still daunting. There were 17 on one ballot in 2016. The record, by the way, is 48, and was set in 1914.
For those unaware, ballot propositions are a staple of California politics, dating back to 1910. They are placed on the ballot either by the legislature or by citizens. With enough signatures, it’s possible to get any pet issue before the voters. I’ve been tasked with voting on whether to ban the sale of horse meat as food (that one passed), as well as modifying the state constitution to ban gay marriage (that one sadly passed, too). Because of the relatively low threshold for the number of qualifying signatures, most ballot proponents simply buy enough signatures to get their issue onto the ballot. A common sight is paid petitioners standing outside the grocery store trying to get shoppers to sign their names to a slew of potential referenda. Once a proposition is passed into law, the legislature can’t overturn it, only another citizen initiative can (like this cycle’s Prop 15).
This year we have four initiatives that were placed there by the legislature (16, 17, 18, and 19). The rest are citizen initiatives. We are tasked with deciding changes to who can vote, how taxes are assessed, who’s an employee (and who’s not), and criminal justice. I take this responsibility very seriously. I hope my fellow Golden State residents find my research and musings useful. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well.
For my sources, I primarily used the following (and reference them at the end of each proposition)
CA Secretary of State
League of Women Voters
The L.A. Times
Proposition 15: Shh! We’re partially rolling back prop 13, but don’t tell anybody
Increases Funding Sources for Public Schools, Community Colleges, and Local Government Services by Changing Tax Assessment of Commercial and Industrial Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment
Legislative Summary: Increases funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local governments by requiring that commercial and industrial real property be taxed based on current market value. Exempts from this change: residential properties; agricultural properties; and owners of commercial and industrial properties with combined value of $3 million or less.
Pros: It’s a partial rollback of the CA’s infamous Prop 13. In 1978, Prop 13 passed into law when I was but a wee babe, and has been screwing with CA’s ability to collect revenue and pay for government programs ever since. Schools were the hardest hit. Schools are funded out of local taxes and some state grants, but the bulk of the money comes from property taxes. While Prop 13 did stop grannies from getting priced out of their suddenly crazy expensive beach-front retirement home that they bought in the 1940s, it also allowed ginormous (and not so ginormous) corporations like Safeway to amass huge amounts of property and hold it virtually tax free, since property is only reassessed when it changes hands and large corporations buy and sell property much less frequently than small businesses and homeowners. However, as the price of goods and services continued to rise, the amount of revenue the counties could assess effectively remained flat. Local municipalities try to compensate with parcel taxes and sales taxes, but these are regressive and hurt homeowners the most: a $500 parcel tax e.g. might be nothing for Safeway, but is the difference between Christmas presents or a missed mortgage payment for actual people.
Cons: If you’re an extremely large, land-holding corporate entity in CA, you’re going to have to pay fair-market value on your property. If you are a homeowner, a farmer, or a small business (classified as whose property holdings value less than $3 million), then this proposition has absolutely no effect on you.
My rec 15: Hard YES. As a homeowner in CA, I feel especially irked that in this crazy expensive housing market, time tax-dodging corporations have left it to us to shoulder the burden.
Ballotpedia for Prop 15
Secretary of State Ballot Proposition for Prop 15
Proposition 16: We’re calling a do-over on affirmative action!
Allows Diversity as a Factor in Public Employment, Education, and Contracting Decisions. Legislative Constitutional Amendment
Legislative Summary: Repeals Prop 209 (1996). Prop 209 prohibits the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
Pros: When prop 209 passed in 1996, a prominent African-American UC Regent argued that affirmative action hurt minorities more than it helped them. In the intervening 25 years, we’ve learned that he was wrong. The vagaries of fortune are more punishing on women and minorities. Ideally, there would be a level playing field for all people, but the one we have now is tilted heavily to the white cis male.
Cons: The status quo is maintained. Women and minorities will continue to have hindered access to public education and employment. We will continue to delude ourselves that the American dream is colorblind, raceblind, and genderblind. White people can feel smug that they succeed because of merit and that minorities fail because of a lack of moral rectitude.
My Rec 16: Yes. When I was in college in California (UC Berkeley, Go Bears!) Prop 209 was a huge deal and led to lots of protests. It was also the first election in which I was eligible to vote. One prominent campus pro-affirmative action group took the extreme action of confiscating all the copies of the student newspaper which contained a letter-to-the-editor in favor of ending affirmative action. It wasn’t a good look for that group, and a lot of students were annoyed with their antics (I being one of those students), leading to opposition to affirmative action just because its most ardent proponents had the most fascist tactics. Regardless of what was happening in the People’s Republic of Berkeley, the proposition went on to pass statewide. Since then, women and minority businesses have been “decimated” in the state (The CA Senate’s assessment’s word). In the last 25 years, we have learned that systemic racism and misogyny are implanted deep in the American psyche, and we aren’t going to excise them with wishful thinking.
Ballotpedia for Prop 16
Secretary of State Ballot Proposition for Prop 16
Proposition 20: Criminal justice reform for dummies
Restricts Parole for Certain Offenses Currently Considered to Be Non-Violent. Authorizes Felony Sentences for Certain Offenses Currently Treated Only as Misdemeanors. Initiative Statute
Legislative Summary: Imposes restrictions on parole program for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term for their primary offense. Expands list of offenses that disqualify an inmate from this parole program. Changes standards and requirements governing parole decisions under this program. Authorizes felony charges for specified theft crimes currently chargeable only as misdemeanors, including some theft crimes where the value is between $250 and $950. Requires persons convicted of specified misdemeanors to submit to collection of DNA samples for state database.
Pros: Props 47 and 57, and AB 109, passed between 2011 and 2016, were intended to reduce the state’s prison inmate population by shifting prisoners down to local jails and changing several non-violent crimes from being classified as felonies to misdemeanors. Prop 20 is a slight rollback of some of these reforms, upgrading misdemeanors such as firearm theft, vehicle theft, and unlawful use of a credit card to potential felonies, and adds two new felonies into the state code–serial crime and organized retail crime. Also, if a person is convicted of some crimes like shoplifting, grand theft, drug possession, or prostitution with a minor, requires that they submit DNA to a database.
Cons: Asking the general population of CA to vote on criminal justice reform has usually not played out well in the long term. Humans are a vindictive lot, and we like to punch down whenever possible. We passed three-strikes reform via the ballot in the 90s, and we’ve had to roll it back pretty much all the way. In the ballot proposition itself, I find this wording extremely disingenuous: “Protecting every person in our state, including our most vulnerable children, from violent crime is of the utmost importance. Murderers, rapists, child molesters and other violent criminals should not be released early from prison.” Current law does not do this, and this scary wording hints at other motivations for the proponents of this reform.
My Rec 20: No.
Ballotpedia for Prop 20
Secretary of State Ballot Proposition for Prop 20
Proposition 24: Now for some real user power
Amends Consumer Privacy Laws. Initiative Statute
Legislative Summary: Permits consumers to: (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—such as precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; union membership; private communications; and certain sexual orientation, health, and biometric information. Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with these laws. Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary.
Pros: As the Electronic Frontier Foundation put it in neither endorsing or condemning, Prop 24 is “a mixed bag of partial steps backwards and forwards.” One of the partial steps forward is preventing the collection of PI for “consumers” (the word used in the legislation, not mine) under the age of 16, and tripling the penalty for non-compliance. As someone with preteen children, I’m very concerned about how my children are subjected to online marketing.
Cons: The legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) to specifically address new online privacy concerns. A SF-based real-estate mogul felt that the protections didn’t go far enough, and hence this ballot (he had withdrawn his original proposition 2018 after the Assembly took up the CCPA). As such, the CCPA has barely been effective for two years and whether it’s sufficient has yet to be determined.
My Rec 24: No. Even though the arguments against it contain some weak sauce (“unelected regulatory agency”, “invention turned into stagnation”, blah-blah-blah), I give credence to the EFF’s unenthusiastic non-dorsement. The ACLU has many concerns as well. Lastly, if this passes by initiative statute, the legislature will have a HARDER time amending privacy laws in the future, as each change would have to go before all the voters. Proponents think that not being able to be “watered-down” by lobbyists is a bug, but deliberative action is a feature of democracy. With the speed at which tech innovation happens, it would actually slow down the state’s ability to adapt in the future.
Reposted from the previous thread about propositions:
If you don’t believe in rent control, then you can’t support Prop 13 or any of its various “old people get special tax status” manifestations. Prop 13 was and is rent control for homeowners, and I say that as a CA landed gentry homeowner. I hate that thing, always have, always will.
Links to these to CA Proposition threads are in the sidebar under Election Action!
For easy access in case this info is useful, but you’re not quite ready to start going through the propositions yet.
I agree 100% with these recommendations. 24 in particular was the subject of much debate in my Democratic Club virtual meeting this week. We concluded with “no endorsement”, but the “no” arguments seemed more compelling. The prop is a mess.
I like that we’re doing this. Can we do these for other states too?
@Kropacetic: Yep! I did one for Illinois maybe a week or two ago, and when there was disagreement on propositions (or whatever states call them) between a coupe of people I respect in MA and in CA, I thought this might be a good idea.
It wrote up the one for IL, and paced appellant wrote up CA. Is there one you would like to write up for discussion?
Or anyone else?
Proposition 15: Shh! We’re partially rolling back prop 13, but don’t tell anybody
A soft YES, in pandemic and post pandemic world, the assumption that even big companies can easily absorb tax increases is faulty. This should be addressed by the legislature, but the proposition is fairly solidly drawn and is fairly reasonable.
Proposition 16: We’re calling a do-over on affirmative action!
Another soft YES. There are huge problems with crappy schools and bad teachers that never seem to get addressed, along with ongoing issues related to poverty and discrimination. Affirmative action with respect to education is a band aid. It is probably a good thing with respect to business, but over the years I have seen how business has developed huge expertise in continuing to be assholes towards women and nonwhite people. A YES, but keep pushing.
Proposition 20: Criminal justice reform for dummies
NO. A big NO. A shitty proposition that is red meat for the law and order crowd. What I hate most about these people is that they want to throw more people in prison, but don’t want to build more prisons and don’t care if prison conditions are hellholes for guards and inmates. Cowards who love to be cruel.
Proposition 24: Now for some real user power
Amends Consumer Privacy Laws. Initiative Statute
NO. A dumb, poorly written proposition. Some of the people behind this are rascals who should not be trusted.
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
@pacem appellant: Thanks, very helpful!
@FelonyGovt: I hate government-by-proposition with the heat of, well, at least hundreds of suns. My rule of thumb is that if it’s a bad law (poorly drafted, muddled, or something that should properly be left to the leg), I vote against it no matter how well-intentioned it is or how much I agree with the sentiment or the cause behind it.
Prop 13 passed my senior year of high school, and I have watched our state go steadily downhill in so many heartbreaking ways ever since, especially but not only in education. Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann were selfish assholes for the ages.
@craigie: Prop 13 addressed a real problem really badly(I voted against it on the first ballot I voted). The increase in home values in the mid-70’s increased property taxes by quite alot and older folk(many on a fixed income since there weren’t COLA’s in those days) were literally at risk of losing their homes.
lotta scrolling on the front page for non-CA people.
Yeah, but the problem is the Legislature can’t due to Prop. 13.
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: I hate the initiative system as well. I’ve been in California for almost 40 years now and I still don’t like the idea – people put up a badly written law and special interests run deceptive ads about it.
James E Powell
Agree with you on 15. I don’t like tax policy by plebiscite. But I think it’s the only way to split commercial property off from Prop 13.
@WaterGirl: I could do one for MA this weekend. Though, disclaimer, I’m highly invested in one of ours.
Now I’m curious what other states even have this process. Sherman! To the Google machine!
I appreciate these, Vincent. Thank you. I mainly agree with your recommendations, especially Prop 24. I already have to click through special screens on every website I visit due to the 2018 law to tell them as a Californian whether or not they can sell my personal information. Many of them are laden with lawyer gobbledygook that goes on and on, like app permissions, and I strongly suspect that if I had the stamina and eyesight to get through it all actually allows them to collect more, rather than less, information. One particularly blatant retailer required me to fill out a form with my name, address, phone number and email! They lost my eyes and purchase.
As someone who was more than a wee babe when prop 13 passed, I agree that this is a very necessary correction to that law. The inclusion of commercial property was a bone of contention even then, and the law passed largely based on its effect on homeowners, of whom I was one at the time.
Sadly, it was not overpriced beach property that senior citizens were being taxed out of, but everyone who had bought their home prior to 1970. I bought in 73, and when the bill passed, my home was worth 4 times what I paid for it 3.5 years before. Needless to say, my income was not 4 times what it had been when I qualified for the mortgage. My parents were even more affected, having bought their home in 1965 or 66 (I don’t remember when it closed) and just entering retirement. Their property was half an hour closer to LA, so going up even faster than mine out in the far suburbs.
The 2% inflation factor in the law was too low – I think it was supposed to be based on some 50 or 100 year average housing inflation – but at the time they kept saying that inflation on housing would revert to the mean. HA!
Based on all the proposed changes to prop 13 and the obvious damage it has done and the refusal of the originators to even consider anything but including more property under it, I have come to the conclusion that the destruction of the California school system was deliberately intended. They had recently ruled that school funding that was inherently inequitable because of different property violations was illegally discriminatory and needed to be corrected by state funding. This brought all school districts down to the same level as the worst schools, rather than let the state bring the poor schools up to the level of the largely white neighborhoods.
Hard and fervent Yes on 15.
Here in the Pacific Northwest the process has most certainly made life worse and progressive objectives more difficult to achieve. On balance I would say it has been a big negative in both OR and WA.
@James E Powell: Because Prop 13 was an initiative statute, another initiative is the ONLY way to change it. Among other things Prop 13 also required a supermajority of the legislature to raise any taxes, so even fixing the funding problem legislatively with non-property taxes became impossible, as did school bond at the local level. I don’t remember if the supermajority for local bonds was changed by Prop 13 or not, but after the baby boom passed getting enough voters to approve school bonds became difficult to impossible, depending on the district.
@satby: sorry, i remembered to break it up on the first post yesterday, forgot on this one. will remedy in a second.
thanks for the reminder!
I’ll need to go back and see what I’d highlighted on 24. So so so ready to vote for a split roll on 15! It’s been the worst thing that ever happened to this state under the guise of fixing a real problem. It’s been a straight jacket in governance and turned the best public school system in the nation into the model for reducing it to the point where for profit charter schools could get a foothold, learning be damned.
@satby: Even for CA people, that’s a lot of scrolling.
@Kropacetic: Great! I’ll watch for it. Thanks.
Even when everyone doesn’t agree, it’s a starting point for a discussion.
But the legislature can clean it up afterwards, a common occurrence with MA initiative petitions. This system can be an avenue for good social progress without having to rely on politicians taking tough votes. Though I hate the frequent attempts to use it to set tax policy.
What the first CA prop post showed me because I followed up with Ballotpedia is that a lot of states us propositions, far more than I thought. I’d bet some states, like CA, do this a lot more than others but I think that over half the states actually use the process. So posts on them is a really good idea.
@Ruckus: With the volunteer for MA, three are covered at this point, which sounds like about 10% of the total number.
I’ll take all the help I can get in lining up people for the other 25 or so. :-)
Actually that’s not true for all states. CA ballot propositions can not be overruled by the legislature. Prop 13 is a prime example of bad law made by proposition that the legislature can not change. It sounded OK, given all the misinformation given out by the proponents but the end result years later is a huge mess.
@Kent: Fortunately this year Washington has only two. The copulator of rodentia Eyman focused all his energy on his quixotic governor run so he didn’t have time to put anything up.
Side note re: the governor’s race: the Republicans really shot themselves in the foot here. Nominating a no-name sheriff from a tiny town in eastern Washington was so mind boggling stupid. I wonder if they’re trying for California Republican irrelevance.
@FelonyGovt: The initiative process isn’t perfect.
But I definitely think that we’re better off having it than not having it, at least here in Ohio. The initiative process can (and has) produced some real benefits here, and you can point to examples from other states, as well.
Back in early 2011, the Ohio legislature passed something called SB5. It would’ve made it illegal for public-sector employees in Ohio to engage in collective bargaining (which would’ve completely de-fanged public employee unions throughout the state). There was an immediate initiative drive undertaken to overturn SB5, and Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved that measure in November of 2011, striking down SB5. If it weren’t for that initiative drive, the faculty union that I belong to wouldn’t have the right to engage in collective bargaining, and there’s a really good chance I would’ve lost my job when COVID triggered a panic by our university administration and board. (*)
So, yeah, I’m self-interested here, but that’s an example of the initiative process working to the benefit of the good guys. A lot of the anti-gerrymandering reforms that have been launched over the last 5-10 years have also been done through the initiative process. It’s a mixed bag, but there are some actual wins in there.
(*) Fun fact about SB5. It was written shortly after the faculty at the institution that I graduated from launched a successful unionization drive, and established a campus chapter of the AAUP. The University had fought the chapter’s organization tooth and nail, and after they lost that fight, the University’s legal counsel drafted what became SB5. The version that was passed by the Ohio legislature was adopted, pretty much lock, stock, and barrel, from that draft.
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: Completely agree, this is a terrible way to write laws and has caused untold amounts of fuckery here. However, I haven’t seen any ads against 15 in my admittedly limited exposure to them, and it makes me wonder if they aren’t counting on people automatically voting no, because we’ve had so many terrible props over the years.
Case in point is the one on Uber and Lyft discussed yesterday. Completely support for them, but the law itself is flawed. The woman who pushed it through the legislature gave exemptions to a long list of random occupations, but refused to exclude freelance writers despite heavy opposition from freelance writers, who quite reasonably believe they will lose work because it’s cheaper for publications to hire out of state than figure out benefits, etc. for them.
I can’t figure out what’s up with Prop 20. It sounds like standard Republican “lock ’em up and throw away the key” fare, but as I type this there are four separate ads on my Balloon Juice page for “No on 20” that show scary black people protesting with unflattering pics of Govs Gav and Moonbeam touting that they’re agin it too because it’s “a prison spending scam.” Real criminal justice reformers don’t have the money for that and don’t use that kind of fear mongering, so it’s a puzzle. All I can guess is that it’s a fight between the correctional officers’ union, which has a lot of power and is as awful as police unions tend to be, and private prison owners who want more bodies to lock up for money, but don’t want to expand payroll to do it. In fights like that I root for injuries and plan to leave that line blank.
@Ruckus: Yeah, I know it played out bad for CA. Tax laws couldn’t be fixed for years until a legislative supermajority was seated, if I remember correctly.
@Yutsano: Are they obvious yes or no in Washington? Or would discussion be helpful?
@Kropacetic: The supermajority rule, as I recall, was also passed by initiative. Tax policy by initiative should not be a thing IMHO.
@Humanities Prof: Your FUN FACT pisses me off, and I’m not even in Ohio!
If you have any in Ohio this year, we could use someone to write something up as a starting point for discussion.
@patrick Il: Are you volunteering for Virginia? :-)
@WaterGirl: Yeah, that revelation pissed ME off big-time when I learned about it, as well. The phrase “sore losers” does not even begin to cover it.
University administrations and boards here in Ohio are all sorts of fucked up. It’s a product of having virtually-uninterrupted Republican control of the governor’s office over the past 20-30 years, since all university trustees are appointed by the governor.
It’s “fun” (to the extent that it is) because I have somewhat-but-not-entirely-tongue-in-cheek suggested that the reason Barack Obama carried Ohio in 2012 was because the faculty at my alma mater unionized. The anti-SB5 fight REALLY galvanized a lot of left-leaning organizations throughout the state, and those organizations did a lot of the ground work for Obama’s 2012 campaign.
According to Ballotpedia, there are no statewide ballot issues in Ohio this year, unless I’m mis-reading the site’s information. I haven’t seen any advertising for initiatives, either, so that’s one (largely worthless) data point suggesting there aren’t any.
@WaterGirl: Okay so Ballotpedia lied to me and there’s actually six.I guess the page I looked at didn’t include the legislative advisories. I’ll get back to you regarding how they should go I haven’t showered yet today!
@patrick Il: I’m not expert on Virginia. We can provide a platform for Virginia folks to discuss it and figure that out.
@Yutsano: Sounds good. I thought we had only one in Illinois, but it turned out we had two decisions like that to make.
I lived for 13 years in Texas, which does not have the initiative and referendum process. I shudder to think how much WORSE things would be in Texas if the voters were able to use that sort of process like in CA. I absolutely guarantee that TX would be a much worse and meaner place than it is today if you gave voters the ability to do things like cut back property taxes state-wide. Which they would gleefully do as most property taxes go towards educating “brown” students.
Cowgirl in the Sandi
I like that we’re doing this too – it’s very helpful. Thanks Watergirl and pacem appellan!
I’m a California voter and permanent absentee as I’m in the military stained in Georgia so I find this very useful.
I differed with the recommendations yesterday but I’m in agreement with all of these today and for the reasons given.
Anonymous At Work
I would like to re-read these with Yes/No modified by hardness, even Hard/Normal/Soft. I did a similar analysis with Arkansas for my relatives there and did that. For example, I always “NO” on sales taxes as funding mechanism, but I “soften” it with that qualification.
And the middle-school slap-fight on the ballot between optometrists and ophthalmologists…? Boy, that was hard and only swayed by my dislike of doing this “stuff” via Amendments…
PS: I can reproduce it if requested…
@Kropacetic: No, that is not correct. Statutes enacted by the initiative process can only be changed by the initiative process, the Legislature can’t change it even with a supermajority. Prop 13 is worse, it’s an amendment to the State Constitution. Yeah, we can amend the State Constitution by majority vote, that’s how we roll here in the Golden State.
Thanks for these pacem and WG.
In other news, https://www.propublica.org/article/foreign-hackers-cripple-texas-countys-email-system-raising-election-security-concerns
Even though the election system wasn’t directly attacked, nobody knows who could then get into the systems and what they might do. We can’t let our guard down.
@Kent: Well, like I said, it’s a mixed bag.
Methods of political action are tools. Any tool can be misused. It’s 100% true that a lot of ballot initiatives are used to advance special interests, or that they’re deliberately structured to convince people they’re advocating one goal when they’re actually doing the exact opposite.
And in Texas, I’m sure that you are correct when you say that adopting it could open the door for all sorts of fuckery. But the key word there is “could,” not “would.” The precise guidelines on what can and can’t be done through the initiative process are defined by state law, and they vary quite a bit from one state to another. I’d need to brush up on it a bit more, but I don’t think Ohio voters can enact changes to state tax policy via the initiative/referendum; I think that’s entirely a legislative responsibility. There was a similar restriction on the scope of initiatives in Michigan when I lived there many moons ago.
All I can say about it is that most of my experiences are based on what I’ve seen in Ohio over the past 18+ years. And we’ve been able to get a number of actually-beneficial things done through the initiative process that never would’ve happened through the “normal” legislative process.
@patrick Il: Everything I have read by people who understand VA politics and are Democrats say to vote NO on the redistricting amendment.
There are several other good stories about it at BlueViriginia.US
Sam Wang at Princeton wrote up a big fancy PDF in February saying that it’s good amendment, but he doesn’t understand VA politics and puts, IMHO, far too much trust in the VA Supreme Court (who really shouldn’t be involved anyway). (Wang’s a professor of neuroscience.) To be clear, Wang is good at crunching election numbers, but he’s out of his depth in this amendment, IMHO.
http://gerrymander.princeton.edu/assets/docs/PGP_VA_Report_final.pdf (40 pages)
tl;dr – The Democrats in the VA legislature have good bills to create real redistricting reform. The present proposed Amendment would lock-in GOP power or prevent real reform.
@Another Scott: Thank you.. The message seemed mixed, so I appreciate your advice.
@patrick Il: Another few things to remember – lots of GOP money from out of state (including from Moscow Mitch) is pushing the Vote Yes side. RWNJ Amanda Chase is urging people to vote for it, as shown in the tweeted comments.
I am sorry but it’s not rent control for homeowners. If your property gained SO much value (say from $150k in the 80ies to 2.5m now) that you cannot afford 1.25% per year you have multiple options:
– sell and do whatever you want with $2.35m.
– if you believe it will gain in value but you can’t afford the tax, take a mortgage/line of credit and pay the tax.
– since the most common reason is to have one of the kids inherit a multimillion property how about they chip in?
This comes down to I got mine fuck you and Prop 13 is one of the main reasons for insane property prices in CA that make it near impossible to buy. The commie hellhole of Texas has high property taxes yet their real estate market is doing just fine and no frail grandmas are sleeping under the bridge.
Dude, how is sitting on an asset that increased tenfold in value mean “losing their home”?
@Sebastian: A colleague’s tiny childhood home is something like 1/2 block from FB or Apple out there. He said it’s now worth $2.5M or something. It’s insane.
Of course, if true values were taxed, then the rate could (and likely would) be much less than 1.25% and would raise as much (or more) money as now.
Fixing unsustainable bubbles – like ridiculous housing prices in too much of California – is difficult and painful. But it needs to be done, and will likely have to be done over many, many years.
How is left as an exercise for the reader. :-/
O/T but this chick is a cross between Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman. ?
There were and are remedies for that that don’t involve destroying the tax base. Also, how is it possible that a resolution that passes with a simple majority can declare that it takes a supermajority to change it?
@Sebastian: First of all, it wasn’t 10 fold back in 1978, it was probably 3 times the value, but it was a tax that they didn’t vote for or even vote for people that raised the tax. Generally, if you’re forced to sell your home and move to pay taxes, it’s called “loosing your home”.
As I noted, I voted against Prop. 13, I thought it was poorly drafted and it was an amendment to the State Constitution so it would be difficult to change. My parents, on the other hand, voted for it and they would have probably been forced to move if it hadn’t passed.
@craigie: There were no other remedies on the ballot in March of 1978.
Resounding agreement on all these stances.
@Brachiator: Who exactly *is* behind 24? The messy mix of good and bad is obviously an attempt to slide some bad provisions into the Constitution by throwing some sops to consumers, and I am curious what’s the disguised poison here.
@WaterGirl: So I wrote a reply but it ended up being so lengthy that I just e-mailed it to you. :P The colour scheme was completely random I swear!
I’ve lived in California for parts of my life (now in WA though) and one of the things I do not miss is attempting to work through all the ******* propositions. Of course WA has its own propositions, but hey, at least there are only 6 statewide ones….
I was hearing so much shit about Prop 15 on the radio that I went on line and read it about a month ago. It raises taxes on Commercial properties and it excludes any business less than $3M. It must also tax ag land because most the ads are financed by the local farm/almond/dairy toadies. I’m voting for it but I can guarantee it’s going to lose because those running against it are running such dishonest ads and the pro side isn’t countering at all. California is a great state but with almost 40M folk here we have a bunch of people who don’t read and will suck up those lying ads.
For clarity, when Prop 13 passed in 78 it locked in how much anyone could raise property tax increases each year, unless the property is sold. Then it is taxed at it’s accessed (sales) price. Commercial properties who haven’t changed hands since the 70’s are paying no taxes at all, especially when compared to someone who bought a house in the last couple years. So Prop 15 tries to equalize stuff some.
Politico has a thing on the California Propositions.
People may have good motives, but this is too messy to be put in front of voters.
J R in WV
I do recall that several legalization of marijuana events were because of citizen initiatives.
And then just like the freedom to vote initiative in FLA being poisoned by later legislation creating a poll tax with unknown and secret amounts of money due, several pot legalization initiatives have been stabbed in the back by conservative legislators.
I’m not twisted enough to know how they pulled all that off… but apparently it’s easily possible for Republicans to undo the will of their voters.
The difference between MA and CA propositions is that here, there are usually only a few of them on the ballot. It’s rare to have as many as five. This year, there are two. Presumably the procedural bar to getting them there is higher.
@Brachiator: I’m sorry I’m late to the party. Re Prop 15, the legislature can’t fix it, since propositions can only be overturned by propositions. This is the only fix.
@Ruckus: This! I cannot emphasize this enough. The only way to undo a bad prop is through another prop. My boomer parents screwed us with Prop 13 (and frankly, Greatest and Silent gens too). Many have died or moved out of state by now. Xes and Millennials have a chance to roll back some of the excesses.
@Yutsano: Yet here we are. We have lots of policy by initiative in CA. And as I can’t repeat it often enough, when any policy is passed via a proposition, it’s up to another proposition to overturn it.
An example of this was last election, where we had to pass a proposition to overturn an enforced Daylight Savings Proposition that dated back to the 40s.
The lege couldn’t just say “no more DST”, they first had to get permission from the voters to even consider saying no more DST.
@Matt McIrvin: The bar is very low in CA to get a proposition on the ballot. Just a percentage of signatures. That percentage is set by the number of people that voted in the prior election. So after non-presidential years, the threshold is much lower.
@Chris T.: There’s a post scheduled for the Washington ones tomorrow at 5pm.
Well, this discussion flipped my daughter from a soft as can be yes on 24 to a soft as can be no.
I’m in NJ so I can stay with “meh.”
@pacem appellant: Prop 13 was in 1978. Reagan was President. The Republican Party and Howard Jarvis were from the Greatest Generation (WWII) and they ran the Republican party then. Vietnam ended 5 years earlier. Boomers were still pretty liberal then. Their parents and grandparents weren’t. Not saying no Boomers voted for it but your generational angst really needs to look farther back. So sorry to take the Boomer bashing away from you though. God knows we deserve it.
@kindness: Reagan took office in January 1981. Carter was President in 1978.
Why are the propositions numbered 14 through 25 instead of 1 through 12? Did 1 to 13 appear earlier in the year?
BTW on 24, any company with a presence in Europe, or contemplating one, will already have far more stringent data protection in place because of GDPR, though they might not extend it to US citizens’ data.
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: Me too. I sometimes vote No on all of the props on a ballot, even the “well-intentioned” ones, for the same reason. And the arguments for Prop. 13 were among the most disingenuous I ever saw in my life for anything. Keeping old folks from getting taxed out of their homes did not have to be accompanied by a gigantic tax giveaway to the rich and to corporations. It was just a bunch of typical Republican BS and should be a reminder to everyone that the Repubs have been lying greedheads from the get-go — not just in the last few years.
@Ken: The numbers go up every election until they roll over. So there’s the infamous prop 13 of 1978. And the prop 13-adjacent one of 2010, which would not cause a property tax reassessment for seismic upgrades (it passed). Then prop 13 of 1914 (which, had it passed, would have limited voting on bond measures to only property owners). And even one in 2000 which was for a water bond (which passed).
Yeah. I know this but keep forgetting it. I hate having to think about the nonsense surrounding ballot propositions.
@WaterGirl: Here is an opinion about California politics.
They come every year, just like the winds, and leave devastation behind. I’m still angry about your prop#8. I can’t even remember what prop#13 was all about but that one was a stupid idea as well.
I’m from there and i miss it because reasons. Once i saw that you all are going to go Reagan on us, i was just a kid, but i started thinking about escape. I ran off to Utah and go live with the Mormons .
That was also a mistake because i just can’t do that religion. But i still am living here because nice people. 40 years later.
I always love that country . I hope you will remember to take care of the country and each other.
Thanks for the great summaries.
This is one of the reasons I can’t take literal Prison Abolition seriously. If you’ve ever spoken to people, especially actual victims of crimes, it becomes painfully clear that our society is way too vindictive to ever make Prison Abolition a reality. We don’t have the grace/forgiveness and bigger-picture thinking that would be required to do so.
@UncleEbeneezer: Almost a decade ago, our house was burgled by two high teenagers. One of them was caught and I testified against him in juvenile court. When I wrote that “humans are a vindictive lot” I was drawing from a personal well of emotion. Never in my life have I wanted to hurt someone so much, even rationally knowing that there was nothing constructive that could come from this kid going to jail. He hawked my my grandfather’s ring for pot money (given to me by my grandmother on her deathbed), and the only thing I wanted was for him to hurt like I was hurting.
@Richard: Prop 8 was financed by Mormons in Utah. There was a house in our neighborhood which had big “Yes on 8” banners all over it. I didn’t have kids then, but I do now, and I don’t let them trick or treat at that house (even though I think it’s a rental and the original bigots have moved out).
That was also the same election where we had a measure to force all our egg farmers to free-range their chickens. That one passed too! Which led me to muse who were all these chicken-loving bigots and could they please leave our state now?
The egg farming legislation is still law, and prop 8 has been ruled unconstitutional by both the state and federal supreme courts.
@Brachiator: No worries! It’s easy to forget. It’s why I harp on it a lot. I sometimes forget too.
@pacem appellant: These analyses are quite helpful. Thanks. Do you know—with respect to Prop 15—whether property owned by a non profit is considered commercial? In this case, the (non profit, member owned) athletic club in our town was established in 1958, so may get quite a shock if/when Prop 15 passes…
@way2blue: Good question, but I’m having trouble finding the answer. I cannot find an explicit mention of non-profits in the text (either 401 or 501 types), but there is a carved-out exception for small businesses (fewer than 50 employees, locally controlled). However, I think non-profits, both religious and secular, are governed by a different set of property-assessment laws. Since the proposition does not mention any changes to those, I suspect that it will have no effect on non-profits.