Ballot Review by Concerned Taxpayers

Activist Views the Props and Gives His Opinion

Measure O: Increase county transient occupancy tax for hotels in the county unincorporated areas by 2.5 percent.

All of the city hotels in Lompoc and Santa Maria are 10 percent. This measure would impact hotels in “Noleta” and Montecito, making them less competitive. It raises only small additional funds for the county general fund, if at all. County Republican Party opposes. Vote no!

Measure P: Petition for water protection

Impacts or ends all oil activity in Santa Barbara County; causes loss of jobs and county income. Requires county supervisors to review exceptions to changes at great cost to county. There is no record of water contamination by the thousands of oil wells presently in Santa Barbara County. Fracking is not used in Santa Barbara County oil formations. Opposed by Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, UCSB Professor Dr. James Boles. Vote no!

Proposition 1: State Water Bond Measure

Placed on the ballot at the last minute by the State Legislature to look like they are doing something about the drought. Does little to solve state water shortage problems in the long run. Increases state bond indebtedness, which is already extreme. Millions in bonds are outstanding and not issued already. No review by the State’s Secretary of State. Vote no!

Proposition 2: State Proposition by the Legislature as a constitutional amendment

This proposition is promoted by the Legislature as a “rainy day fund” and a means to pay down the state’s debt. It is, in effect, a drop-in-the-bucket effort and “look good, like we are doing something” project by the governor and Legislature. But why? The state debt is over $300 billion dollars. And the state General Fund spending this year is $110 billion. Prop. 2 would take 0.75 percent of the General Funds to pay down the debt and 0.75 percent to place funds in the Rainy Day Fund each year over the next 15 years. That is at most an average of $15 billion over 15 years; the debt bucket would also be growing over the next 15 years. The Rainy Day Fund would not grow beyond $11 billion or 10 percent. The state would be required to do this each year. Now it is optional depending on the budget.

The governor made a deal with the California Teachers Association (CTA) to get their support, and added a requirement to this Prop. 2 that would limit the reserves of all schools and city colleges to not more than 6 percent, down from 15 percent. A state reserve fund would be set up to “Help Out,” if needed, but under the control of the governor and the Legislature. The money left over from the school’s lower reserves would then be available for salary negotiations for the CTA teachers unions.

This Prop. 2 is too little to solve the gigantic debt problem created by the Legislature, and it has new impacts on schools as a side effect. This Constitutional Amendment locks it in for 15 years. Opposed by Educate Our State. Vote no!

Proposition 45: An initiative statute promoted by trial lawyers.

Would require insurance rates for individual and small group employers to be reviewed and approved by the state elected Insurance Commissioner while excluding big business. Increase fees by millions for approvals. Allows trial lawyers to charge $675 per hour for lawsuits for these new covered categories. Requires insurance companies to adjust fees retroactively and return unapproved rate costs, for those after 2012. Increase costs to insured.

The State Legislature has already established an Independent Health Care Commission for review of rates on insurance policies. This Prop. 45 is redundant and not needed and is filled with opportunities to influence the elected commissioner by big special interests. Opposed by some doctors and nurses and the president of the California Chamber of Commerce. Vote no!

Proposition 46: Initiative statute sponsored by trial lawyers.

The title of this proposition is meant to be totally misleading. The public is misled to think that they will be safer if doctors are tested for drugs and alcohol. The real reason for this proposition is to overthrow the 1975 limitation on lawyer malpractice claims. Today these are limited to $250,000 for noneconomic damages to help limit doctor’s fees that go to paying malpractice insurance. The self- serving and greedy trial lawyers want to increase this limit to $1.1 million with this cap adjusted annually to reflect any increases in inflation. This represents a colossal rip off of all insured since these costs will be passed on to the patients.

The idea of testing doctors for drugs is similar to an inquisition in medicine. Would you like to be tested every day when you go to work? Doctors are monitored by the local medical associations. If California wants an exodus of doctors to everywhere else, just pass this stupid proposition. This is one of the most disreputable propositions to come before the voters in many years, and it should be soundly defeated. Nurses, and children’s hospital and doctors associations oppose this proposition. Vote no!

Proposition 47: Initiative Statute

The purpose of this proposition is to set up a process by which convicted felons in jail could have their sentences reduced to misdemeanor penalties or community release. Money saved would be directed to schools. Up to 10,000 felons could be reassigned from state to county or community locations. More civil servants would be needed to implement these changes if this proposition passed. The state court system already has a review process that allows some downgrading of sentences without this draconian change. Opposed by state police chiefs, victim advocate groups, and district attorneys. Vote no!

Proposition 48: Indian Gaming Compacts State Referendum

The state governor and Legislature have already signed off on this deal with the North Fork Tribe near Madera, but they want voter approval, also. The planned casino is not on or near the present reservation so it should be denied. Vote no!

Check your State Voter Guides for more details than given here.

Justin Ruhge writes the blog Concerned Taxpayers, I.N.C. out of Lompoc.