EGP Ballot Recommendations – Tuesday, June 5 2012 Election

By EGP Editorial

State Ballot Measures
Proposition 28: Limits on Legislators’ Term in Office. Initiative Constitutional Amendment —
Prop 28 aims to restructure Proposition 140, passed more than twenty some years ago, mandating term limits. Currently state legislators are limited to two three year terms for a total of six years in the Assembly, and two four year terms for a total of eight years in the State Senate. Proposition 28 would allow legislators to spend a total of 12 years in one house or a total of 12 years split between both houses.

One of the unintended and negative consequences resulting from the passage of Prop 140 in 1990 has been that our state senators and assembly members now spend a great deal of time raising money for the next election, rather than focused on the business of state government. Newly electeds spend little time on learning how to make legislation and pass budgets, or to work collaboratively with members of their party or those across the aisle. As a result, they are more likely to act on information from special interests, whether they represent corporations or professional state workers.

Because they are constantly in election mode, money from lobbyists for both these groups wields even greater influence than any average voter can possibly exert. This game of musical chairs, going from office to office has just driven the voters nuts. It has also caused a loss of institutional memory and responsibility when it comes to making decisions that have long term impacts.

There is no guarantee that Prop 28 will turn our legislators into thoughtful law makers, but its worth a try.

Recommend a YES vote.

Proposition 29: Imposes Additional Tax on Cigarettes for Cancer Research. Initiative Statute —This proposition will add $1 in tax to every pack of cigarettes sold in California. It will also create a nine-member committee to administer the $735 million the tax is expected to raise.

The proposition is being fought  by a coalition of tobacco companies and is being supported by a coalition of anti-smoking groups. So it’s a little awkward for us to say no to good people fighting a good cause, but it’s the wrong time to be talking about new taxes that won’t be used to help California pay off a massive $15-16 billion dollar debt, which is sure to hit senior care, education and health care with additional huge revenue cuts. The debt also threatens the jobs of government workers and teachers, as well as other essential services.

It makes no sense to us to adopt a measure that will raise money to create ongoing programs when the source of the revenue is destined to diminish over time, as we have seen with other initiatives. We cannot support this tax measure during our current fiscal climate.

Recommend a NO vote.

Los Angeles County Measures
Measure H: Los Angeles County Hotel Occupancy Tax Continuation Measure—If passed, this measure will readopt and ratify an occupancy tax originally adopted in 1991. Revenues from the tax are currently used to pay for general fund services, such as parks, libraries, senior services, and law enforcement. Changes in state law require this measure in order to maintain it at its current rate. Measure H will not increase the current rate or impose a new one, but will keep the occupancy rate at 12.11 percent at all hotels located in unincorporated county areas.

The tax is not new and does not constitute a burden on local residents or businesses. It is a valuable revenue stream that should be preserved.

Recommend a YES vote.

Measure L: Los Angeles County Landfill Tax Continuation Measure— This measure will amend and readopt an existing county ordinance to the collection of a business license tax on disposal facilities. The tax is 10 percent of gross receipts imposed on landfill operations in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

The tax pays for much needed services in the County and should be continued.

Recommend a YES vote.

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May 17, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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