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.
Proposition 33's venal quest for higher rates purports to care about good drivers, but the term "persistency discounts" is bogus. Under Prop 33, insurance companies could charge higher premiums to customers without continuous coverage. This disproportionately harms lower-income California residents.
In today's tight economy, many people have placed their automobiles in "planned non-operation" to save money. This includes those going through tough economic times, families with students away at college, veterans who need to rehabilitate before they start driving when they re-enter the workforce, disabled Californians who recuperate and want to get back behind the wheel, and long-term unemployed who resume driving when they find a new job.
Folks who did not drive for legitimate reasons will be penalized and their insurance rates will skyrocket because they suspended their insurance to save money while they were not driving. Insurance has been and should continue to be based on a person's driving record and legitimate risk factors.
Economizing is not and never should be a "risk factor" making you pay higher rates.
This is the second quest to gouge those who are already living on the financial edge and can least afford it, even if they are excellent drivers. People shouldn't be harmed with costly car insurance rate hikes when they're trying to get back on their feet, which is why Prop 33 is opposed by consumer, senior, civil rights, faith-based and labor groups and major progressive and conservative newspapers.
Just like Prop 17, Prop 33 is again funded by billionaire Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph who has put in well over $16 million to win this campaign. One can only imagine how much he expects to profit - at the expense of those least able to afford it - if this should pass.
Elizabeth Sholes is Director of Public Policy for California Council of Churches IMPACT.