2011 Ballot Initiatives

Breaking: SB 48 Supporters Ask Harris To Investigate Signature Gathering Tactics For Repeal

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report
A complaint was filed this morning with state and local offices by the equal rights advocacy group, Courage Campaign, after a video surfaced showing Stop SB 48 volunteers gathering signatures by describing the legislation as protecting child molesters. 

According to Courage Spokesperson, Ana Beatriz, her organization filed the complaint with State Attorney General, Kamala Harris, and John Mullen, the City Attorney of Oceanside where the incident occurred, on behalf of Campaign Courage member and Oceanside resident, Max Disposti. Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Oceanside City Attorney John Mullen told CPR he had not yet seen either the video or the complaint.

Fight Back Against Amazon: Think Before You Click!

By Anthony Wright

Every Californian has been affected by the cuts to balance California’s budget, none more than low-income seniors, students and people with disabilities, and all Californians who use our state's health system.

Now, online retail giant Amazon.com wants to overturn the one small victory we won this year in the broad effort to close corporate tax loopholes: the Sales Tax law that would require online vendors to collect sales tax just as California’s “bricks and mortar” vendors do. This new law will provide California with $200 million in desperately needed revenues to prevent further cuts to vital public services to health, education, and other key areas. It also helps local business by closing the loophole that lets online retailers like Amazon.com undercut them.

Amazon's Long War on Sales Taxes

By Brian Leubitz

Amazon is a product of the 90s internet boom, you know that part of the story already. But unlike many of their contemporaries, they saw not only the mere presence of the internet being the next step forward, but also a nice little legal loophole: Quill v North Dakota.

Quill was a case from 1992 that essentially said that retailers who sent across state lines through the mail did not need to collect sales taxes for states that they had no physical connection to. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, was keenly aware of this fact. An article in the Wall Street Journal looks back at Amazon's use of this natural advantage against brick and mortar stores:

Amazon's Mr. Bezos has said he established the company in Washington partly because it has a tech-savvy but relatively small population, so state taxes wouldn't affect many potential customers.

Californians Say Voters Should Have Voice in Budget Choices

Public Policy Institute of California

The vast majority of Californians think voters should have a say in budget decisions this year, according to a statewide survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), with support from The James Irvine Foundation. In this survey—taken just after Governor Jerry Brown released his revised budget proposal in May—77 percent of adults (76% likely voters) say voters should make some of the decisions about taxing and spending, while just 20 percent of adults (21% likely voters) say the governor and legislature should make all of these decisions.  

Dogs In the Manger Who Bite the Hands that Feed Them

By Sheila Kuehl

Since the Governor had insisted on a budget solution in February in order to get a tax extension on the June ballot, I had thought, by now, I might be writing essays about California's new budget for 2011-12.  However, since there were no Republican votes to put the tax extension on the ballot, the budget, which passed both houses earlier in the year, now waits in limbo.

In the meantime, I regularly receive questions and requests on a whole host of issues at my website address and decided to write a series of non-budget-related essays while we wait.

This essay is about the dismantling of California's once-premier system of higher education caused by a constant downward spiral in funding.  It also reports the cynical acts of legislators (all, interestingly, from one party) whose education was made possible by the low levels of tuition in those same public colleges and universities but who now persist in denying those same opportunities to new generations of students.

One Possible Solution for a Sustainable Budget

By David Atkins

As anyone who hasn't been living under a rock in this state probably knows by now, California politics are at an unsustainable impasse.  Californians support extending taxes to balance the budget, and in particular support making the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share. On the other hand, when phrased generally, Californians prefer budget cuts to tax increases, but oppose any specific cuts to the budget that would make the slightest impact on the state's fiscal health. Additionally and more importantly, Californians don't support a repeal of Proposition 13, which creates the need for a 2/3 supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature to actually raise taxes.

Playing To Win

By Steve Smith
American Cancer Society

500,000 Americans die every year from cancer.

1,500 people pass away every day.

Cancer is about life and it is about death.

And because cancer is all about living or dying, I hate it with every ounce of my being and believe we need to do all we can do as quickly as we can do it to beat cancer -- and those who cause it like cigarette companies -- in order to save lives.

The California Cancer Research Act will save the lives of 104,000 people in California and stop 228,000 of our state's kids from ever smoking in the first place.

This is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue -- this is an issue of life and death that the voters ought to decide -- and the sooner the better.

The clock is ticking on the 104,000 lives that could be saved and 228,000 kids that will never smoke.

Will Big Tobacco Torpedo the Special Election?

By Eric Wooten

Whether the special election is in June or November, this much is clear: given the dire consequences of an “all cuts budget,” this is the most important election facing California Democrats since Arnold Schwarzenegger’s relentless attack on working families in 2005.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Republican Party spent an astounding $62 million on that disastrous 2005 special election, which covered four initiatives.

Half of Likely Voters Back June Vote - Less Than Half Favor Tax Proposal

Public Policy Institute of California

Public support for a June special election on Governor Jerry Brown's plan to extend temporary tax and fee increases has declined since he proposed it in January, according to a statewide survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), with support from The James Irvine Foundation. While two-thirds of all adults (67%) and likely voters (66%) said in January that a special election was a good idea, 54 percent of all adults and half of likely voters (51%) say so today.

Californians' support for a special election has dropped across parties since January, when majorities favored the idea (73% Democrats, 64% independents, 55% Republicans). Today, 64 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of independents, and just 34 percent of Republicans say it is a good idea.

Talks Break Down in California on Budget, Taxes

By David Dayen

Last week I argued that there was nothing particularly brave about Governor Jerry Brown’s approach, which balances pretty severe spending cuts with the bare minimum extension of regressive sales and vehicle taxes.

This was his stance during the campaign, and there was no real hope that he would push any further. But even this solution, mild though it was, proved too steep a price for legislative Republicans, quickly becoming a dinosaur in the state. Because the cooperation of at least a couple of their members is required in order to reach the 2/3 vote needed to put the tax extensions on the ballot, they had the usual leverage over the policy. And they wanted to use it to make changes to the overall public pension structure, as well as institute a hard spending cap. These talks have broken down.