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Jonathan Kraut: Indecent propositions


Three weeks before election day typically we would be bombarded with ads for and against propositions on the ballot. This May we still hear the ever-present echo of “police, teachers, firefighters, parents, and small businesses” are for or against a gubernatorial or local candidate. But the airwaves are conspicuously absent of ads related to the five statewide propositions on this June’s ballot.

I thought I would review each ballot measure since these items are probably not on your radar.

Proposition 68 if passed would authorize the sale of $4.1 billion in state bonds for “parks, environment, and water.”

Sounds noble. We do need to fund more reliable water delivery systems.

While there is little opposition to Prop 68, remember that the cost to taxpayers is approximately double the amount of the bond- selling $4.1 billion in bonds usually means spending $8.2 billion to include interest and management expenses.

What I don’t like about Prop 68 is that the language of the bill attempts to tie in curing obesity with offering more recreational opportunities. There is also a lot of verbiage as to how money would be spent but not much on what it will do.

This Prop, well-labelled but weakly defined, is a mixed bag. If you support conservancy at any cost vote yes and if you are a conservative money-hawk vote no.

Proposition 69 would prohibit the use of taxes raised on diesel sales in 2017 by the legislature for items other than transportation. The legislature already proclaimed all tax revenues from diesel sales would go to transportation.

While Prop 69 seems to be designed to lull voters to sleep about paying that extra twelve cents a gallon for gas. This Prop actually lifts restrictions on future gasoline tax spending restrictions- apparently the real objective of the proposition.

I would absolutely vote no on Prop 69. We get nothing for allowing future gas taxes to be spent on anything instead of just for transportation.

In 2024 Governor Brown’s cap-and-trade program will go into effect having industry pay for their allocation of pollution emissions. Cap-and-trade is another way to tax the public by forcing businesses to pass these fees on to the consumer.

Proposition 70 attempts to better account for the use of these fees by requiring a supermajority, i.e. a 70% vote by each the State Assembly and the State Senate, to approve the expenditure of these funds.

If passed, Prop 70 essentially removes either party from having full control over how cap-and-trade taxes are used. Prop 70 doesn’t end the crazy cap-and-trade program, but still I would vote yes on 70 to curb one-party authority.

Prop 71 gives State government six weeks to implement a voter passed proposition after an election instead of five days after the election is certified. Because the date of certification varies, this uncertainty may cause administrative complications.

This proposition seems to make sense- assign a specific date for implementation, allowing for better planning and administrative certainty. I would vote yes on 71.

Finally, we have a proposition, although insignificant, that actually encourages conservation. Prop 72 specifies that adding the value of implementing a water collection system on your property cannot be assessed to increase your property taxes.

In other words, this Prop would encourage installing apparatus to collect rain water and yet would not increase property taxes.

Reading these ho-hum set of choices to make in June, the obvious question is why have we not been asked to make choices that actually impact our well-being, cutting government waste, and ending crazy state policies?

Where is the proposition that cracks down on the encampments of drug addicts who befoul our streets and the drug dealers to perpetuate addiction?

Where is the prop that prevents the legislature from creating taxes and fees without gaining voter consent?

Where is the proposition that strips government servants of their pensions if they are convicted of a crime while in or related to public service?

Where is the prop that ends food stamps, subsistence, and welfare for those who commit crimes or buy illegal drugs with this taxpayer funding?

Where is the measure that funds mandatory long-term incarceration of serial burglars and identity thieves?

Where is the proposition that evicts unlawful vagrants from a property in 5 days instead of 120 days for not paying rent?

Where is the prop that requires incarceration of the full criminal sentence as ordered by a judge instead allowing early release?

And where is the proposition that outlaws deceptive, impotent, and misleading propositions?

Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations firm, is the CFO of a private security firm, is the COO of at an Acting Conservatory, is a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.

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