Proposition 33

Prop 33 Defeated: Voters Say No to Billionaire's Money Grab

By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California

California voters rejected Proposition 33, an initiative placed on the ballot by billionaire George Joseph, owner of Mercury Insurance. Led by Consumer Watchdog, opponents came out of nowhere to stop Mercury Insurance's attempt to lure voters into deregulating automobile insurance. Outspent 70 to 1, we overcame a $17.5 million campaign of deception from Mercury's George Joseph.

Prop 33: Follow the Money

By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California

One way to identify who Prop 33 helps and who it hurts is to follow the money behind the campaign.

The Yes on 33 campaign has outspent opponents by 65 to 1. Virtually all of the $17.7 million spent supporting Proposition 33 comes from one man - George Joseph, the billionaire owner of Mercury Insurance. Mr. Joseph has spent $17.5 million promoting Proposition 33. Another $165,000 in contributions to Yes on 33 are from insurance agents and brokers that do business with Mercury Insurance.

No on 33 has raised $275,000, with almost all donations coming from consumer groups and labor unions.

Prop 33 Billionaire Admits His Company Doesn't Give Promised Discounts

By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California

In a stunning admission, billionaire George Joseph stated that his company, Mercury Insurance, does not offer its own customers the "persistence discount" that Proposition 33 promises all Californians would receive by "shopping their discount" around if the initiative is approved. Mr. Joseph has poured $17 million into the Prop 33 campaign.

The central Prop 33 argument is that consumers would benefit if they could ask other insurers to honor a "persistence" or "loyalty" discount their current insurer may grant them for being loyal customers for many years. Prop 33 ads promising voters would save if you could "shop your discount" verge on false advertising given the actual practice of the company Mr. Joseph owns.

College Students Speak Out: No on Prop 33

By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California

Leading college student newspapers editorials are urging a NO vote on Proposition 33, a measure that threatens graduating students with massive auto insurance rate surcharges.

A sampling of student opinion:

The Daily Guardian, UC San Diego:

Proposition 33 is another way for insurance companies to squeeze more money from drivers … This is especially bad for lower income people who don't have insurance yet or are inconsistent with their insurance … With this proposition, graduates will be forced to pay higher insurance, even if they're perfectly safe drivers.

Prop 33 Hurts People Who Help the Environment

By Dave Snyder
California Bicycle Coalition

Why would a bicycle advocacy group oppose Proposition 33, an automobile insurance initiative?

Because if Proposition 33 passes, those of us who have found a way to avoid car insurance costs would be punished by paying higher rates if we choose to own and insure a car again. That's precisely the wrong policy to enact when so many Californians are discovering that our streets are getting safer and that the bicycle is actually a practical and joyous way to get around. Some of us have found biking, walking, transit, and the occasional rental car to be so practical that we've sold our private cars. That's a huge economic benefit: the money we would otherwise spend on cars goes into our local economy, creates local jobs, and helps our own pocketbook.

George Joseph Dumps Another $500k into Sputtering Prop 33 Campaign

By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California

The Yes on Proposition 33 campaign reported yesterday another contribution of $500,000 from George Joseph, billionaire owner of Mercury Insurance. This brings Mr. Joseph's total contributions to the Yes on Proposition 33 campaign to $16.9 million.

Joseph's contribution comes as the Yes on 33 campaign appears to be sputtering toward defeat. To wit:

National Organization for Women CA Opposes Prop 33

By Patty Bellasalma

In today's tight economy, Proposition 33 will strain women's finances by raising automobile insurance rates, gouging those already living on the financial edge who can least afford it.

Women are busy with their families and their jobs so we don't always feel like we have the time to get engaged in politics or even take the time to vote. History has proven that when we don't show up and vote, we are negatively impacted. This is why we need to vote No on Proposition 33, which would raise auto insurance rates on good drivers.

Proposition 33: A Billionaire's Venal Quest for Profit

By Elizabeth Sholes
California Council of Churches IMPACT

California Council of Churches IMPACT did not like this insurance initiative two years ago when it was rejected by voters as Prop 17, and we dislike Prop 33 even more today.

California Council of Churches IMPACT represents 21 Protestant and Orthodox denominations and over 1.5 million church members throughout California. Church IMPACT's interdenominational board bases its recommendations on ballot measures on thorough research and prayerful discernment seeking the best advice on ballot measures that benefit the Common Good.

Prop 33 Targets Senior Citizens for Insurance Rate Hikes

By Nan Brasmer

I am a senior citizen. I live on a fixed income. I'm voting No on Proposition 33 because it will raise automobile insurance rates on law abiding Californians like me, who have a health problem that keeps them off the road for a period of time.

Ten years ago, after living in pain for years, I had my hip replaced. I dropped my auto insurance for four months while I recovered. After all, I could not drive, and this helped me save some money.

But if Proposition 33 were the law, I would have been punished with higher insurance premiums for the next five years simply because I suspended my insurance when I did not need it. That's not fair.