The propositions are in, and Californians will once again have the opportunity to alter the state’s future in November.
The ballot has eleven propositions that include promises for better school funding, a full repeal of the death penalty, stricter penalties for human sex traffickers and a referendum for state Senate redistricting.
According to CSUF political science professor Matt Jarvis, Ph.D., most of the items on the ballot are “quirky” to California, which are likely to gain support in the Democratically-controlled state legislature, but then be criticized by Republicans for their alleged ineffectiveness once they are passed.
“(Propositions) 34 through 37 are just standard fun things we do here in California,” said Jarvis. He said that California is one of two states who regularly use propositions in public elections.
Jarvis said that the most important ballot issue to students is Proposition 30, which he said would keep tuition at the same price or dramatically increase if it does not pass.
Proposition 30 would raise taxes for citizens earning $250,000 or more a year and sales tax by a quarter-cent. The goal is to raise $6 billion for K-12 public schools and community colleges per Proposition 98. This requires that money be allocated for K-12 public schools and community colleges first, and then to public universities and services.
“From the student’s narrow perspective, (Proposition) 30’s a win,” Jarvis said, citing the relatively low cost to students that the measure would create.
Another hot-button issue is addressed by Proposition 34, which calls for an immediate and complete repeal of the death penalty. It would replace execution with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; it also retroactively applies to those already sentenced to death.
The fiscal impact, according to the measure, would be a one-time state cost of $100 million from 2012-13 through 2015-16 for law enforcement agencies to “help solve more homicide and rape cases.”
Proposition 35 elevates the criminal penalties for those convicted of human trafficking. The ballot states that prison sentences could go from 15 years to life. Additionally, fines could reach up to $1.5 million, which would be specifically used for victim services and law enforcement.
Similar to Proposition 30, another measure on the ballot will raise taxes for education — but this tax affects even the lowest earners. These taxes incrementally increase for each tier of earners.
However, it would not promise to fund public universities and services when the required money for K-12 public schools and community colleges are filled.
Among the last propositions is Proposition 40, that if passed will delay the revised state Senate boundaries from taking effect until the next statewide election.
Jarvis said that Proposition 40 is doomed to fail because no one is behind it anymore. When the State Senate redistricting measure was passed, the voter-approved California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) was supposed to give Republicans another seat in the state legislature.
But when the CCRC redrew district boundaries, it basically left everything the same.
“A number of state senators didn’t like their districts, but the (Republican) party as a whole said ‘Yeah, we’re going to lose your district but we’ll gain it somewhere else,’” Jarvis said. “So, as a whole, it wasn’t hurting Republicans in this cycle, and in the next cycle, it will benefit them with about one seat. So the party said, ‘Why did we do this?’”
Jarvis added that party lines on Proposition 40 have become apathetic on the measure because of its lack of benefit to either party.
Students can expect to receive their sample ballots in the mail at the end of September.