The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara Education Fund recently hosted virtual meetings about the pros and cons of this November’s 12 California propositions.
Recordings of the sessions, which took place Sept. 24 and Wednesday via Zoom, can be found at https://my.lwv.org/california/santa-barbara.
Some of the propositions deal with property and residential taxes.
Prop. 15 focuses on property tax laws.
The proposition would change the Prop. 13 system, enacted in 1978, in favor of a phased assessment at full-cash value or fair-market value for large commercial and industrial real property.
Residential, agricultural and small businesses properties valued less than $3 million in fair-market value would not face any changes.
The proposition is expected to generate about an extra $12 billion. That is something supporters see as a huge positive.
“It raises millions of dollars per year and needed revenue for schools and local governments,” moderator Shane Stark said.
Opponents say that raising taxes in the middle of a depression and a pandemic is wrong.
“It will hurt small businesses and agriculture, and it is the biggest increase in California history,” Mr. Stark said, reciting arguments against Prop. 15.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara supports prop. 15.
Prop. 19 also involves taxes.
Homeowners over 55 would be able to purchase a new home and keep their property tax payment at the same level or even a reduced rate depending on the value of the new house. Under Prop. 19, that ability would also go to homeowners who are disabled or who are wildfire/disaster victims.
It could increase local government revenues over $10 million over time.
Supporters say it expands the protection for homeowners allowing transfers and closes a tax loophole.
Opponents counter that it could force some people to sell if inherited homes are taxed at market value.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara opposes Prop. 19.
Prop. 21 would expand the rent control system in California. At present, annual rent costs cannot exceed 5% plus inflation or 10%, whichever is lower, for most rental housing under state law. This applies to most housing that is more than 15 years old.
Prop. 21 would also allow local governments to impose limits on rent increases when a new renter moves in.
Proponents say this would not allow renters to have their rent increased unfairly, but opponents say Prop. 21 will hurt construction and maintenance.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara is neutral for prop. 21.
Prop. 14 asks voters to approve more borrowing for stem cell research.
In 2004, 59% of California voters granted money for initial stem cell research, which led to the creation of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
The institute is running out of money after the past 16 years of research and is requesting $5.5 billion in new bonds to further research. The $5.5 billion is spread over 11 years.
Cost to the taxpayers would be about $260 million a year over approximately 30 years.
Supporters say stem cell research is important and would help stimulate the economy.
“Prop. 14 will contribute to the rebound of California’s economy. Funding to date has generated about $10.7 billion in economic stimulus,” moderator Chris Boesch said, explaining supporters’ views.
Opponents of the prop say that California cannot afford the $7.3 billion expense in bonds, especially in the middle of an economic crisis due to the pandemic, according to Ms. Boesch.
“Private investors and companies have made great strides in stem cell research and cures,” she said.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara is neutral for Prop. 14.
Prop. 16 would allow governments to consider diversity in public employment, education and contracting decisions.
In 1996, voters approved Prop. 209, which banned any kind of diversity considerations. Prop. 16 would repeal that section in the California Constitution.
Supporters of Prop. 16 say it would mean equal opportunities for all Californians.
“Despite living in the most diverse state in the nation, women and people of color currently are still discriminated against. We are at a historic moment and need to strengthen California by overturning discrimination in all areas,” Ms. Boesch said, explaining proponents’ views.
Opponents say an approval would be a step backward, bringing in a new form of discrimination.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara supports Prop. 16.
Prop. 24 makes changes to consumer privacy laws. It would increase penalties on companies that fail to follow regulations to allow consumers more to opt in or out to share their data and change policies.
It would also create a new enforcement arm that would cost about $10 million annually.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara opposes Prop. 24.
Prop. 22 concerns whether drivers for services such as Uber and Lyft should be classified as contractors or employees. There are currently a number of lawsuits being filed against Uber and Lyft regarding this issue.
The measure would make them independent contractors.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara takes no position on Prop. 22.
Prop. 23 would require a physician in each kidney dialysis clinic. The clinics would have to offer the same level of care to all patients regardless of their insurance.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara is neutral for Prop. 23.
A yes vote on Prop. 25 would end the cash bail system.
Supporters say the current system favors rich defendants who can make bail. They say the system is against poor people and people of color.
Opponents say the proposition would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year and overburden courts.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara supports Prop. 25.
Prop. 17 would allow convicted felons to vote. At present, the law disqualifies a felon from voting during the term of his or her sentence.
The measure says that if felons are paroled after the completion of their prison sentence, they may have their right to vote restored, depending on the severity of their felony.
Supporters believe everyone has the right to vote and that this helps people re-enter society. Opponents say felons should only be allowed to vote once they complete their entire sentence.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara supports Prop. 17.
Prop. 18 allows 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election and special elections if they turn 18 by the time of the next general election.
Supporters favor giving the right to vote to all who turn 18 by the next general election. But opponents argue most 17-year-olds do not pay taxes and shouldn’t have the power to affect the tax system.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara supports Prop. 18.
Finally, Prop. 20 would allow some theft-related crimes to be charged as felonies and increase criminal penalties for them.
Supporters say they are for tougher sentences on crimes, adding that violent criminals are being let out easily.
Opponents say society should favor rehabilitation over sending more people to jail.
The League of Women Voters Santa Barbara opposes Prop. 20.