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Taxpayers’ group offers advice

By October 20, 2010

Special to The Enterprise

The Yolo County Taxpayers Association is recommending the following positions on state Propositions 19 through 27 on the Nov. 2 ballot:

Prop. 19: No

If approved, Prop. 19 could include benefits such as quality control for marijuana products, easier access for medical marijuana use and saving public costs of enforcement and incarceration of offenders. It also could provide additional revenue to local governments from taxes on production and sale of marijuana.

However, conflicts with federal law are likely to prevent realizing these benefits in practice and could result in litigation with unknown costs for local governments.

Prop. 20: Yes

Prop. 20 would prevent gerrymandering and manipulation of congressional districts by self-interested representatives and political parties.

Prop. 21: No

Prop. 21 would establish an $18 surcharge on vehicle licenses in addition to the current vehicle license fee that would be limited to use by state parks, while allowing California licensed vehicles to enter state parks for day use at no charge. This surcharge is a new tax that would result in a budgetary shell game of shifting current funding away from parks, leading to an overall increase in state spending. In addition, this measure would unfairly burden taxpayers who do not visit state parks with paying for those who do.

Prop. 22: Yes

Prop. 22 would limit the ability of state government to borrow, redistribute or otherwise take fuel taxes, property taxes, redevelopment funds and vehicle license fee funds that are allocated to local governments, while leaving local government with the responsibility for funding the affected local services.

Arguments for and against come down to a contest between state and local government interest groups on how the tax pie is to be divided. In this case, the ability of taxpayers to hold local government officials accountable favors the approval of the measure.

Prop. 23: Yes

Prop. 23 would suspend the implementation of Assembly Bill 32 carbon dioxide emission limits that would impose new costs on California businesses and taxpayers during a time of economic uncertainty and high unemployment. The suspension would be lifted if the state unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent or less during a continuous period of one year.

Prop. 24: No

This would use the initiative process to revise tax policies that job-producing businesses operating in California are relying on during a time of economic uncertainty and high unemployment.

Prop. 25: No The delay in passing a state budget in recent years has been caused by lack of agreement over cutting spending or raising taxes to balance spending and anticipated revenue. Assuming proponents are being truthful that Prop. 25 does not make it easier to raise taxes, it then makes no sense to reduce the vote requirement to pass a budget that may still require a two-thirds vote to fund it.

Prop. 26: Yes

Both taxes and regulatory fees are used to support broad-based programs benefiting society at large. Therefore, it is appropriate that the two-thirds voterequirement for raising taxes also should be applied to regulatory fees. In addition, having the same requirements for passing taxes and regulatory fees will put to rest games being played in the Legislature to exchange or substitute fees for taxes.

Prop. 27: No

This is the state LegislatureÕs attempt to repeal the Citizens Redistricting Commission initiative for state legislative districts and return to gerrymandered districts produced by self-interested representatives and political parties.

Ñ John Munn of Davis is president of the Yolo County Taxpayers Association.

John Munn

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