Maine tax reform vote June 8
Tax Carnival #71: Celebrating June 2010

California tax votes June 8

The sensational tax-related vote in California will be in November, when the residents there decide whether to legalize and tax marijuana.

Tomorrow, though, there are a few ballot initiatives that involve Golden State taxes.

Road_Sign_Welcome_to_California  Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Proposition 13: The most recognizable is Proposition 13, and while it does involve property taxes, it's not a revisit of the 1978 anti-tax revolution sparked by the original ballot initiative bearing that number.

The 2010 version of Prop 13 would allow owners of all types of buildings to make earthquake safety upgrades without triggering a property tax reassessment.

Proposition 15: This ballot question would partially repeal California's ban on public funding of political campaigns. It would create a voluntary pilot program to provide limited public funding for candidates for California Secretary of State. 

Supporters include AARP and the California Nurses Association. They argue that money and fundraising are corrupting our political system. 

Opponents include the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the Los Angeles Police Protective League. The anti voices contend that voters decided against taxpayer funds for campaigns and that his new effort contains dangerous loopholes.

Proposition 16: If this measure passes, local governments would have to obtain approval of two-thirds of the voters before providing electricity service using taxpayer funds or bonds

This ballot initiative has sparked the most primary debate.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), California's largest utility, is the bill's sole sponsor and argues that taxpayers should make the final decision on "costly and risky government schemes to take over local electric service." 

Opponents, such as the Sierra Club and the Consumer Federation of America, say that Prop 16 is a blatant attempt by PG&E to protect its monopoly, take away consumer choice and continue to raise electric rates.

Good luck Golden State voters. I hope y'all get what you want after tomorrow's votes are counted.

But this being California, if the results aren't to your liking and you can get enough support to try again, we'll see you back at the polls reconsidering these (and new) ballot initiatives in future elections.

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