Jonathan Kraut | Up Sides, Down Sides of Ballot Props

Jonathan Kraut

In about two weeks your mail-in ballot will be delivered. While ads for Propositions 26 and 27 are prominently featured throughout media, presentations of some of the other propositions are mysteriously absent. 

Perhaps the hope by the sponsors of those lesser-known propositions is that voters will be fooled by their titles and not read the actual proposals. So, let’s review. 

Proposition 28 asks voters to approve mandatory funding for art and music education for K-12. 

It is hard to imagine kindergartners being offered trombone classes or first graders being taught to be sculptors. However, I and many of you have benefitted from art and music instruction from middle-elementary through high school. 

Prop. 28 would earmark annual taxpayer funding of K-12 public schools, including charter schools, for music and art programs. The amount funded would be in addition to that already required by Proposition 98 passed in 1988. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, this initiative would likely result in increased spending of up to $1 billion every year. 

There are several upsides to 28. 

Many studies have shown that engaging in music and art contribute to cognitive enhancement. There are social benefits for students who are in a collaborative environment such as a band or orchestra. Also, great careers can be launched with our youth once exposed to new opportunities and creativity. 

The downside: Mandatory funding means justification for implementing higher taxes. One day we will undoubtedly be told “we have no choice but to raise taxes because it is the will of the voters.” 

I am willing to go for it. While I am generally leery about how our taxes are spent, the benefits offered to our youth seem to outweigh some likely wasting of taxpayer-approved funds. 

Proposition 29 is the third recent attempt by local unions to mandate additional staffing at and some state funding of dialysis clinics. 

In 2018, SEIU-UHW sponsored Proposition 8 and in 2020, Proposition 23. Both measures were soundly defeated. 

And here we go again. 

This proposal is another attempt to mandate the hiring of extra clinicians and draw additional funding from the taxpayers. 

Staffing dialysis clinics with medical doctors and others, not typically posted at these clinics, seems unnecessary. In addition, this prop would “forbid the exclusion of patients” who do not afford treatment, i.e., this measure passes on unpaid treatment bills and extra costs on to the taxpayers. 

I am definitely voting “no” on 29. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom is recently featured in ads against Proposition 30, which is misleadingly entitled the “Zero-Emissions Vehicles and Wildfire Prevention Initiative.” 

Prop. 30 goes after those whose personal income exceeds $2 million by adding 0.25% to their California income tax. These new collections would essentially buy or subsidize with taxpayer money new electric vehicles and home charging stations. Prop. 30 also spins off 20% of these taxes for “wildfire prevention programs.” 

Maybe we common folk would ignore new taxes that go after the rich, but buying electric vehicles for those who can afford to do so is a scam. This prop was designed by Lyft so that the taxpayers would help fund the 2030 mandatory zero-emission rules for rideshare companies. 

Gov. Newsom, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, is surprisingly is on the right side of this issue. 

“Don’t be fooled,” Newsom says in his ad. “Prop. 30 is being advertised as a climate initiative, but in reality, it was devised by a single corporation to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company. Put simply, Prop. 30 is a trojan horse that puts corporate welfare above the fiscal welfare of our entire state.” 

I fully agree. I recommend voting “no” on Prop. 30. 

Finally, we have Proposition 31, which offers to sustain the ban on flavored tobacco sales. This measure would amend and more fully clarify the State Health and Safety Code regarding flavored nicotine products. 

There seems to be no immediate taxpayer cost related to voting for or against this proposal. 

Suppliers of tobacco and vaping products argue that flavoring their products is inherently part of why people buy their goods. The tobacco industry is asking you to vote no on Prop. 31 so they can sell more of this junk and entice addiction. 

Tobacco suppliers have a point: Is it up to the public to decide what is consumable and what is not? 

I don’t want to encourage use by adding flavors, especially targeting youth, to a “recreational addictive substance” that could lead to death from cancer. So, I am voting “yes” on 31. 

Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations agency, is the CEO of a private security firm, is the CFO of an accredited acting conservatory, 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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