Saturday, October 30, 2010

Proposition 26

In reaction to the California 2010 ballots upcoming, over 90 state propositions were filed in hopes of getting through to the June and November ballots. Five met acceptance for June, and nine qualified for the upcoming November ballot. Voters of California must decide on how they want to vote. Each persons' decision should be an educated one by which they have considered thoroughly the opposing and supporting arguments. For this reason this paper will analyze one of the California propositions: Proposition 26.

The nine accepted propositions either modify or change the state constitution or contribute laws. These categories are known as initiated constitutional amendments and initiated state statutes, respectively. Proposition 26 is the latter. Prop 26, also known as the Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act is an effort to stop "hidden taxes". This proposition would supplant existing processes in the California Constitution, setting up higher requirements than the current simple majority vote.

Proposition 26 "requires that certain state fees be approved by two-thirds vote of Legislature and certain local fees be approved by two-thirds of voters" as well as "increases legislative vote requirement to two-thirds for certain tax measures, including those that do not result in a net increase in revenue, currently subject to majority vote." This proposition aspires to eradicate the loophole that allows politicians to give new taxes the title of "fees, then making the "fees" legible to pass with a simple majority vote.

Arguments in favor of Proposition 26 mainly focus on the fact that the "hidden tax" loophole will be shut down. The end of this loophole will bring the end of new taxes that could result up to amounts close to ten-billion dollars being deceptively taken by politicians. Closing the loophole would also prevent imposing fees on " food, gas, toys, water, cell phones, electricity, insurance, beverages, emergency services and entertainment."

Opponents of Prop 26 argue that the loophole is used with measure, in order to fee environmentally unsafe corporations that can cause public health problems. Without the loophole, it's argued, it will be much harder to fee these detrimental corporations because of the higher vote requirements; for example, polluting corporations will no longer have "pollution fees". Opposition of the initiative is also based on the argument that if an election is held every single time a new fee is proposed then overwhelming amounts of elections will cause more harm than good.

In class, our group argued to pass this proposition, and I will be taking that route as well. No matter how reasonable the purposes for which the "hidden tax" loophole is used, politicians have the power to deceive, and we're letting them. Also, how far will it go? Politicians are already planning to impose so-called "fees" on everyday consumer items. Why should we let them have the power to deceive us further? and how do we know where the pilfered funds are going, or if they're all going to reasonable ends? Proposition 26 lets the people know what the politicians they elected are doing, instead of the current situation: misleading the people the politicians are supposed to represent.