Abortion, sex offenders, and taxes on cigarettes and oil are the focus of some of the issues to be decided on Election Day, when California voters will decide the fate of 13 propositions on the 2006 ballot.
Voters must also decide whether the state should borrow about $37 billion in bonds to pay for repairs and upgrades to the state’s transportation, flood protection and educational infrastructure. These measures were placed on the ballot by the California Legislature.
Listed here are brief descriptions of the 13 propositions on the November statewide ballot. For more detailed information about these measures, including arguments for and against these measures, visit the League of Women Voters election Web site.
Transportation Funding Protection
If enacted, would amend the state constitution to limit the use of funds raised by the state gasoline tax for use in transportation projects, such as road maintenance and congestion relief. Gas tax revenue could only be loaned to other programs no more than twice during a 10-year period, only during periods of financial hardship, and loans must be repaid within three years.
Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Bonds
If enacted, would allow the state to sell about $19.9 billion in bonds for use in transportation projects. The bond money would be used for projects such as freeway and highway upgrades, more carpool lanes, local street repairs, public transportation and port security. The state would have to repay the bonds at a cost of about $38.9 billion over the next 30 years, along with other as-yet-unknown maintenance costs.
Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006
If enacted, would allow the state to sell about $2.9 billion in bonds for use in various housing and development projects. Proposed projects include housing for battered women and low-income senior citizens, homeownership assistance for military veterans and working families, and apartment upgrades for families and the disabled. All projects would be subject to independent audits and cost restrictions. The bonds would cost the state about $204 million a year for the next 30 years, to be paid from the state’s general fund.
Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities
The proposition would allow the state to sell $10.4 billion in bonds to make repairs and improvements to educational facilities in California. Funds would be used for seismic retrofitting and vocational education programs in public schools, renovations, and additional classroom space for the state’s community colleges and public universities. The money would be spent according to strict accountability measures. California would have to spend about $20.3 billion, or $680 million a year, to pay off the principal and interest of the bond.
Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention
The measure would allow the state to sell $4.1 billion in bonds to rebuild and repair the state’s flood control system. The money would strengthen levees in order to protect homes and the drinking water supply system from earthquakes, floods, and other disasters. California would have to spend about $8 billion over the next 30 years to repay the bonds.
Sex Offenders. Sexually Violent Predators. Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring
If enacted, some sex offenders would be subject to longer sentences and parole terms. Sex offenders who are released from prison would be required to wear global positioning system (GPS) devices while on parole, and for life following their release from prison. Registered sex offenders would be prohibited from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, and more offenders would be eligible for commitment to state mental health facilities. There is an expected cost of about $200 million annually within 10 years to enact this measure, along with one-time construction costs of several hundred million dollars.
Water Quality, Safety and Supply. Flood Control. Natural Resource Protection. Park Improvements
Separate from Proposition 1E, this measure would allow the state to sell $5.4 billion in bonds for projects related to flood control. The money could also be obligated to protecting natural resources, parks and recreation projects, and safe drinking water projects. Measure would cost the state $10.5 billion over 30 years to repay the bonds.
Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy
If enacted, this measure would amend the state constitution to prohibit pregnant unemancipated minors from undergoing an abortion until 48 hours after the physician notifies one of the patient’s parents or legal guardian, except in an emergency or with a parental waiver. Physicians could be subject to a fine for violations.
Tax on Cigarettes
The measure would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2.60 to fund various health and tobacco-related programs, including children’s health coverage. Taxes on other tobacco products would indirectly increase. The tax increase is estimated to raise $2.1 billion annually for the specific health programs.
Alternative Energy. Research, Production, Incentives. Tax on California Oil Producers
If enacted, this measure would establish a $4 billion “Clean Alternative Energy Program” to provide incentives for alternative energy use and education. The program seeks to reduce California’s dependence on oil and gas consumption by 25 percent, and funds would be raised through a tax on California oil producers. Tax revenues for the alternative energy programs could range from $225 to $485 million.
Education Funding. Real Property Parcel Tax
Measure would impose a $50 parcel tax on homeowners to raise funds for K-12 education. Certain elderly and disabled homeowners would be exempt from the tax. Annual revenue directed toward certain K-12 programs would be about $450 million.
Political Campaigns. Public Financing. Corporate Tax Increase. Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Limits
If enacted, eligible political candidates for state offices could receive public funding for their campaigns through a 0.2 percent tax increase on corporations and financial institutions. Measure would limit campaign contribution and spending. Taxes are expected to bring in $200 million annually for use in political campaigns.
Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property
This measure would amend the state constitution to prevent state and local governments from condemning and demolishing private property for use by other private interests. The measure would also require state and local governments to increase compensation to property owners for losses resulting from changes in the law.
Sources//League of Women Voters (www.smartvoter.org), California Secretary of State’s Office