Voters have dozens of propositions and measures to vote on this November
The November general election is quickly approaching, with vote-by-mail ballots already mailed out. While you likely know who’s running for the state and local races, do you know what propositions and measures are on the ballot this election? There are a handful between the local ballots and the state. No matter what your stance on the issues may be, don’t forget to cast your ballot either by mail or at the polls on Nov. 4.
Proposition 1: Water bond. Funding for water quality, supply, treatment and storage projects.
If passed, this proposition would authorize $7.12 billion in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, such as surface and groundwater storage; ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration; drinking water protection; water supply management; water recycling and advanced water treatment technology; and flood control. It would reallocate $425 million of unused bond money authorized in prior water bond acts. Additional, general fund money would be appropriated to pay off bonds and require certain projects to provide matching funds from non-state resources.
The fiscal impact of the bond would increase bond repayment costs by an average of $360 million annually over the next 40 years, though the savings is estimated at local governments saving a couple hundred million dollars annually over the next few decades.
Proposition 2: State budget. Budget stabilization account. Legislative constitutional amendment.
This legislative constitutional amendment would require an annual transfer of 1.5 percent of general fund revenues to the state budget stabilization account, as well as requiring additional transfer of personal capital gains tax revenue exceeding eight percent of the general fund to the budget stabilization account and , under certain conditions, a dedicated K-12 school reserve fund. Half of the budget stabilization account revenues will be used to repay state debts and unfunded liabilities. In the case of an emergency or there is s state budget deficit, limited use of the funds will be allowed. The account will be capped at 10 percent of general fund revenues with the remainder directed to infrastructure.
With amendment will result in some existing state debts to be paid down faster, which would result in long-term savings for the state. Changes in the level of state budget reserves, which would depend on the economy and future decisions by the governor and the legislature.
Proposition 2 amends the State Constitution to end the existing rules for a state budget reserve—the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA)—and replace them with new rules. The new rules would change how the state pays down debt and saves money in reserves. In addition,
if Proposition 2 passes, a new state law would go into effect that sets the maximum budget reserves school districts can keep at the local level in some future years.
Finally, the proposition places in the Constitution an existing requirement for the Governor’s budget staff to estimate future state General Fund revenues and spending. Figure 1 summarizes key changes that would occur if voters approve Proposition 2.
Proposition 45: Healthcare insurance. Rate changes. Initiative statute.
This proposition would require changes to health insurance rates or anything else affecting charges associated with health insurance. It would not, however, apply to an employers that have large group health plans. It would prohibit health, auto and homeowners insurers from determining policy eligibility or rates based on lack of prior coverage or credit history.
The fiscal impact would be increased state administrative costs to regulate it, though likely not exceeding “the low millions of dollars annually in most years, funded from fees paid by health insurance companies.” This measure requires the Insurance Commissioner to approve rates for certain types of health insurance. The rate approval process would be similar to a process that is currently used for other types of insurance, such as automobile and homeowner’s insurance.
Proposition 46: Drug and alcohol testing of doctors. Medical negligence lawsuits. Initiative statute.
If passed, Proposition 46 would required drug and alcohol testing of doctors, as well as the reporting of positive tests to the California Medical Board. The board would then be required to suspend the doctor pending an investigation in to the positive test, and they would be required to take disciplinary action if the doctor was impaired while on duty. Doctors would be required to report other doctors that they suspect of drug or alcohol impairment or medical negligence. Health care practitioners would be required to consult state prescription drug history databases before prescribing certain controlled substances. The proposition would the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits to account for inflation.
The fiscal impact would be increased state and local government health care costs from raising the cap, which would likely range from the 10s of millions of dollars to several hundred million dollars annually. There could be, however, potentially significant state and local government savings from the new requirements on health care providers.
Proposition 47: Criminal sentences. Misdemeanor penalties. Initiative statute.
Proposition 47 would require misdemeanor sentences instead of felony for certain drug possession offenses. It would require misdemeanor sentences instead of felony crimes where the amount involved in $950 or less for petty theft, receiving stolen property and forging/writing bad checks. It would allow felony sentencing for those offenses if the person has been previously convicted for crimes such as rape, murder or child molestation or is a registered sex offender. It would then require resentencing for those serving felony sentencing for those listed above unless the court finds an unreasonable public safety risk. The savings would be applied to mental health and drug treatment programs, K-12 schools and crime victims.
The fiscal impact would be a net state criminal justice system savings that could reach the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The savings would be spent on school truancy and dropout prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment and victim services. The net country criminal justice system savings could reach several hundred million dollars annually.
Proposition 48: Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.
This proposition would ratify tribal gaming compacts between the state and ProNorth Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe. It would omit certain projects related to executing the compacts or amendments to the compacts from scope of the California Environmental Quality Act.
The fiscal impact, is a one-time payment between $16 million and $35 million from the North Fork tribe to local governments in the Madera County area to address costs related to the operation of a new casino. Annual payments over a 20-year period will average around $10 million from the North Fork tribe to the state and local governments in the Madera County area to address costs related to the operation of a new casino. There will be increased revenue from economic growth in the Madera County area, which would be offset by revenue losses from decreased economic activity in surrounding areas. This proposition is a referendum on AB 277. If voters approve Proposition 48, the gaming compacts between the state and the two tribes would go into effect.
SLO County ballot measures
Measure B-14: Atascadero Unified School District
This measure would continue the work of Measure I-10 by modernizing and expanding vocational education facilities, repairing aging schools throughout the district, improving student computer access, and constructing a high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics facility. The measure would bring in $58 million of Atascadero Unified School District bonds, previously approved in November 2010 . If passed Measure B-14 would reauthorize through issuance of new bonds with interest rates below legal limits, independent citizens oversight, no money for administrator salaries and no increase in total authorized district debt.
MEASURE C-14: City of Arroyo Grande
If passed, this measure would make Arroyo Grande a charter city, which means that the laws of the city would prevail over state law in respect to the management of municipal affairs.
Measure D-14: San Luis Coast Unified School District
Measure D-14 would improve the quality of education; construct/renovate classrooms, facilities, labs, and infrastructure; update career education programs for job readiness; replace leaky roofs; improve student access to computers and technology; upgrade/replace outdated electrical, plumbing, and sewer systems; make health, safety, and energy-efficiency improvements. The $177 million of bonds will have an independent citizens’ oversight committee and use no money for administrative salaries or be taken by the state.
MEASURE E-14: City of Atascadero, advisory vote only
This purpose of this measure is to get an advisory vote from Atascadero residents on how the half-percent limited-term sales tax increase revenues be used if Measure F-14 passed. The measure asks if voters are in favor of the revenue being used for the purpose of repairing and maintaining neighborhood roads and other roadways.
MEASURE F-14: City of Atascadero
If passed, this measure would increase the local general sales tax by a half-percent for a period of 12 years with citizen committee oversight, published annual reporting and independent financial audits. This funding could not be seized by the stay and will stay in Atascadero to be used for things such as the repair of neighborhood roads and aging roadways, along with other vital city needs.
MEASURE G-14: City of San Luis Obispo
This measure asks San Luis Obispo City voters if they’d be in favor of a half-percent local sales tax increase for eight years with independent annual audits, public goal-setting and budget, and a citizens’ oversight commission. The sales tax increase would protect and maintain essential services and facilities such as open space preservation, bike lanes and sidewalks, public safety, neighborhood street paving and code enforcement, flood protection, senior programs and other vital services and capital improvement projects.
MEASURE H-14: City of Pismo Beach
If passed, this measure would amend the city’s general plan, altering development standards within the city’s sphere of influence in Planning Area R and other specific area.
MEASURE I-14: City of Pismo Beach, Pismo Beach Vital Public Service Protection Measure
This measure asks Pismo Beach resident if they would approve extending the half-cent increase to the city of Pismo Beach sales tax that was approved by voters in 2008 for a period of 12 years. The increase would continue to help preserve, enhance and improve the infrastructure, safety and character of Pismo Beach.
MEASURE J-14: City of Morro Bay
This measure asks the voters of Morro Bay is they think the Morro Bay Municipal Code should be amended to change the time and method of electing the city’s mayor and city council members to a single election in November to coincide with the statewide general election with the candidates receiving the highest number of votes being elected to the open positions. Currently, the mayor and council election takes place during the state primary election in June, while the rest of the cities in the county conduct theirs in November.
MEASURE K-14:City of Grover Beach Street Rehabilitation, Safety Improvement Bond Measure
This measure asks Grover Beach residents if the city should incrementally issue up to $48 million of bonds at tax-exempt interest rates and requiring funds to go directly into the Street Construction Designated Fund. All the funds would be used exclusively for Grover Beach streets and are subject to independent audits and a citizens’ oversight committee.
Measure L-14: Cuesta College affordable education, job training/ campus repair
This measure for Cuesta College would repair, construct/acquire facilities, sites/equipment, prepare students/returning veterans for universities/good paying jobs, address severe budget cuts by updating aging classrooms, improving/maintaining nursing, paramedic, 911 medical training, welding, engineering, automotive, early childhood education/other career education programs, repairing deteriorating gas/electrical lines, upgrading technology. The $275 million in will require citizens’ oversight, independent audits and all funds to be used locally.
Santa Barbara County ballot measures
Measure O: Transient Occupancy Tax for Santa Barbara County
If passed, this measure would increase the county’s transient occupancy tax rate to 12.5 percent. The new tax rate will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015, if approved by Santa Barbara County voters. Between the November election and the effective date, the tax rate will be 10 percent. Revenue from TOT is a general tax that the Board of Supervisors uses for its annual county budget.
Measure P: Proposed ban on high-intensity petroleum operations for Santa Barbara County
This measure, if passed, would not only ban high-intensity petroleum operations in the county, but it would also include, but is not limited to, well stimulation treatments and secondary and enhanced recovery operations such as hydraulic fracturing, steam injection and acid well stimulation on all lands within Santa Barbara County’s unincorporated area. The proposed initiative would not apply to onshore facilities that support offshore exploration or production from offshore wells or to off-site facilities or infrastructure, such as refineries and pipelines that do not directly support high-intensity petroleum operations. The purpose of this initiative is to protect the health and environment of Santa Barbara County — its air and water quality, water supplies, agricultural lands, scenic vistas, and quality of life — by prohibiting these operations.
Measure Q: Montecito Union School District Bond Measure
The purpose of this bond measure to repair essential/outdated Montecito Union Elementary School District infrastructure, maintain the quality of education with local funding that cannot be taken by the state. The proceeds from the sale of the bond would upgrade education facilities to meet current health, safety, security and accessibility codes, reduce traffic and improve safety on San Ysidro Road, and renovate heating, plumbing, electrical and energy systems. If passed the school district would issue $27.15 million of bonds with independent audits, citizen oversight and no money going to administrators.
Measure R: City of Buellton to elect a mayor, and for two or four-year term
This measure for the City of Buellton has three questions: Shall the voters of Buellton elect a mayor and four city council members? Shall the term of office of the mayor of Buellton be two years? Shall the term of office of the mayor of Buellton be four years?
Measure S: Santa Barbara Community College District bond measure
This measure, if passed, would allow Santa Barbara Community College to issue $288 million in bonds to repair, construct, acquire and seismically upgrade facilities, sites and equipment at City College, maintain access to quality, affordable education for students, including local high school graduates and returning veterans, prepare students for careers and transfer to four-year universities by upgrading academic, science, engineering, health care and vocational classrooms and improving technology and energy-efficiency.
Measure T: Santa Maria-Bonita School District bond measure
This measure asks voters in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District (part of which is in San Luis Obispo County) if they approve of the district issuing $35 million in bonds with an independent citizen oversight committee, mandatory audits and none of the funds going to administrators’ salaries or pensions. All funds will be dedicated to Santa Maria-Bonita School District’s K-8 school facilities for student learning and safety. It would repair or replace leaky roofs, plumbing, electrical, lighting and ventilation, upgrade science labs and education technology, improve safety and security, and construct school facilities to relieve overcrowding.
Measure U: Carpinteria Unified School District bond measure
This bond measure would allow Carpinteria Unified School District to issue, if passed, $90 in bonds to improve schools, attract and retain quality teachers and prepare students for college and careers by repairing deteriorating classrooms, bathrooms and leaky roofs, removing asbestos and lead paint, upgrading electrical wiring and classroom technology, and repairing, constructing, acquiring educational facilities, sites and equipment.
Measure V: City of Guadalupe Public Service Protection Measure
If voters approve this measure, the $2,250 annual cap on the city’s utility users tax would be removed, but the tax would remain at 5 percent. The tax is charged on water, electricity, natural gas and telephone services and would apply to all businesses, including those that spend more than $45,000 a year on utilities. Previously those that spent more than $45,000 a year on utilities did not pay the tax. According to the city, there is only one company that pays more than $45,000. It is estimated that the measure would bring in an additional $100,000 per year for the city to continue providing certain public services.
Measure W: City of Guadalupe Public Service Preservation Business Tax Certification Measure
If approved, this measure would replace the city’s flat rate business license fee with a business tax based on a percentage of gross revenue. The current fee ranges between $60 and $120. The tax would be 0.05 percent on business revenue — which translates to 50 cents per $1,000. A business grossing $1 million would pay $500. However, the lowest amount a business could pay is $100 for a home-based or out-of-town business and a business with a location inside the city would pay at least $200 a year. According to officials, this new tax rate would bring in an additional $150,000 in city revenue each year.
Measure X: City of Guadalupe Public Service Preservation Sales Tax Measure
This measure, if passed, would increase the local sales tax by a quarter percent, taking the tax rate from 8 percent to 8.25. It is estimated that this increase would bring in an additional $62,5000 per year. According to the mayor, Frances Romero, if this measure, along with W and V, then the city of Guadalupe could be forces to give up its incorporation.
Measure Y: College School District bond measure
This measure, also known as the College School District General Obligation Bond of 2014, if passed by 55 percent of registered voters, will authorize the district to issue and sell bonds of up to 12 million in aggregate principal at interest rates below the legal limit, to fund special school projects: improve technology infrastructures and provide access to modern computing, provide specialized labs and learning environments, improve existing gym/multipurpose rooms to support visual and performing arts, construct new and improve existing classrooms, provide Santa Ynez Valley Charter School with a performing arts space, science lab upgrades and additional classrooms to accommodate students, complete support facility improvements, furnish and equip school facilities with 21st century learning environments, and address unforeseen conditions revealed by construction and modernization.
This story was published in the October 2014 issue of Information Press.