Ryan Chartrand

With so much attention given to the upcoming presidential primary, it’s easy to forget about the other things on the ballot: the propositions.

After all, “Super Tuesday” is the largest primary holding in American history and will involve 24 states with 52 percent of all pledged Democratic party delegates and 41 percent of all Republican party delegates at stake.

However, aside from the presidential contest, voters will also be asked to vote on Propositions 91 through 97, which concern a variety of different issues.

Proposition 91: This proposition was qualified in 2006 as a means to prevent the governor and state legislature from using gasoline taxes for non-transportation purposes. Since then, however, proponents of this measure have accomplished this proposition’s goals with the passage of Proposition 1A in November 2006. Thus, this proposition is no longer needed, but was included on the ballot because it already qualified.

For: There was no argument given in favor of this proposition.

Against: Proposition 1A was passed by an overwhelming 77 percent by voters in November 2006. State politicians in Sacramento can no longer use gas tax dollars for non-transportation purposes. Proposition 91 is no longer needed.

Proposition 92: It establishes a system of independent public community college districts in the state constitution; requires minimum levels of funding for school districts and community college districts to be calculated separately using different criteria; sets community college fees at $15/unit per semester and limits future fee increases; and establishes formula for allocation by legislature to community college districts that otherwise wouldn’t receive revenues through community college apportionment.

For: In 2004, the state legislature raised community college fees from $15/unit per semester to $26, resulting in 305,000 fewer Californians attending community college. This proposition would lower fees and mandate they stay lowered, and would be paid for by the excess money community colleges generate. This proposition would also lock into our state constitution a guarantee for minimum funding.

Against: This proposition has no accountability requirements to ensure that the mandated money gets into community college classrooms, and mandates taxpayer spending without a way to pay for it. The legislature will either have to raise taxes or cut into other needy programs, such as public schools and healthcare, to generate the revenue needed. This proposition also erects a spending formula for community colleges into our state constitution, which is already plagued by too many spending formulas.

Proposition 93: It reduces the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years, but allows the total amount of years to be served in either house or a combination of both. Also, it provides a transition period to allow current members of either house to serve a total of 12 consecutive years in the house that they’re currently serving, regardless of any prior service in another house.

For: This proposition strikes a balance between the need to elect new legislators with fresh ideas and the need for experienced legislators with expertise in solving the complicated problems facing California. Current law only allows for three two-year terms in the senate and two four-year terms in the house; this proposition reforms term limits by allowing legislators to serve their duration in either house, giving them more opportunities to concern themselves with policy because they won’t be worrying about which office to run for next.

Against: This proposition is a scam that would actually lengthen term limits and would cripple the term-limit structure. The proposition contains a loophole that benefits 42 incumbent politicians by letting them serve more time in office when they would otherwise be termed out. Some politicians under this proposition would be able to serve up to 20 years in office. This proposition is funded with millions of dollars in special interest money and is backed mostly by incumbent politicians.

Propositions 94 to 97: These ratify the amendment to the existing gaming compact between the state and Pechanga, Sycuan, Agua Caliente, and Morongo Indian tribes, allowing each to operate thousands of additional slot machines. Propositions require additional annual payments and percentages of revenue generated, ranging from $20 million to $42.5 million, to the state. The proposition omits certain projects from the California Environmental Quality Act and provides for Tribal Impact Environmental Impact Reports.

For: These propositions would help generate additional hundreds of millions of dollars for the state at a time when the state is facing a budget crisis. These agreements were negotiated by the governor and approved by bipartisan majorities in both houses of the state legislature. These propositions increase the amount of slot machines that can be maintained by tribes with gaming land in San Diego and Riverside counties, and negotiate additional protections for the environment and local communities with casinos sharing in costs of law enforcement and fire protection services. Casino employees would also be allowed to unionize.

Against: These are legislative giveaways that equal one of the largest expansions of casino gambling in U.S. history. These propositions give unfair control of over one-third of the state’s Indian gaming to just four of California’s 108 Indian tribes, which would economically devastate smaller tribes. These propositions contain no language that guarantees any of the revenue to our schools, and would actually hurt the environment with language that does not mirror California’s Environmental Quality Act. Tribes themselves, rather than an independent auditor, would be allowed to determine what amount of revenue is subject to sharing with the state. These propositions are simply an example of the rich making themselves richer.

The innformation in this article was compiled from www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov as well as various other voter guides.

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