There are important measures on the California ballot this year. Here are some of the more prominent:
Proposition 30 would increase personal income taxes on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years, and raise the sales and use tax by 1/4 cent for four years. The state Legislative Analyst estimates that it will raise about $6 billion a year. If it fails, $6 billion in budgetary "trigger cuts," mostly to education, will take effect. Governor Brown, Democratic leaders, unions, education groups, and some big businesses are for it. Against it are taxpayer groups and small-business organizations.
Proposition 38, a competing measure by civil rights attorney Molly Munger, would hike income taxes on a sliding scale for 12 years, from 2013-24. It would raise about $10 billion a year, mostly for education, child care and preschool, and debt payments. Even though it raises more money than Prop 30, however, the tax increases don't start until 2013/14 and the "trigger cuts" would still go into effect unless the Legislature changes them. The State PTA is for it. Supporters of Prop 30 are against it, along with Chamber of Commerce and the taxpayer groups that also oppose Prop 30.
Proposition 32 would forbid unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funds for state and local political purposes. It would also forbid union and corporate contributions to state and local candidates and their committees. It does not limit their ability to make independent expenditures and does not affect any contributions in federal campaigns. California corporations generally don't use payroll deductions for contributions to state and local campaigns, so the main impact would fall on unions. Accordingly, unions oppose the measure vehemently. Supporters are conservative groups, taxpayer groups, and small businesses.
Proposition 34 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without parole. Supporters include the League of Women Voters, Calilfornia Democrats, and civil rights organizations. Opponents include the California District Attorneys Association and numerous law-enforcement groups.
Proposition 37 would require the labeling of genetically-engineered foods. It would forbid the labeling or advertising of such food or (possibly) other processed foods as "natural." It would also allow consumers to sure for violations. Supporters include makers and sellers of organic foods Opponents include farm groups and major corporations such as Monsanto.