Don Bauder 9:40 p.m., May 21
Proposition 32: Stop Special Interest Money Now.
La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group recommends a YES vote on Proposition 32.
This proposition allows employees to decide whether or not they want their money to be used to support political causes. At present, mandatory union dues are used to support political causes (in addition to collective bargaining). Taxpayers have no such source of mandatory funding and as a result, the laws passed in Sacramento are severely slanted toward the interests of public sector employees and away from the interests of taxpayers. The proposition also attempts to stop "pay-to-play" by prohibiting government contractors from donating to elected officers, or committees controlled by them, if the contractor might be involved in a contract under their purview.
We believe that individuals should have the right to decide what political causes their money is spent for - that is a simple matter of freedom. If employees want to support union sponsored political lobbying they may elect to do so. They may also contribute on their own. Too, we believe that the extent to which Union money has purchased control of the state Legislature is a major cause of the financial difficulty California is in.
Propositions 30, 38 and 39: Tax Increases.
La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group recommends a NO vote on Propositions 30, 38 and 39.
Although different in specifics, each of these propositions increases taxes. California is already one of the most heavily taxes states in the nation. Out sales tax is the highest in the nation - and that doesn't include the added sales tax we pay here in La Mesa! CA has the highest gas tax (tied with NY) in the nation at 67.7 cents/gallon (June, 2012). National average is 48.9 cents. CA has now instituted the highest “cap and trade” tax in the nation – indeed, the ONLY such U.S. tax. Our state income tax is second highest in the nation. Taxes aren't the problem - spending is. LMCOG opposes any tax increase until the very high taxes that Californians now pay are used more wisely and fairly.
Our State makes little effort to control costs. While there are numerous examples of wasteful spending, none tops California pensions - recent "pension reform" notwithstanding. While that legislation throws taxpayers a few bones (and yes, every bone helps a little) it is far from what is needed to save this state and its cities from extreme fiscal hardships. A detailed discussion of the inadequacy of recently passed pension reform is included elsewhere on this website. Other examples of wasteful spending include the multi billion dollar Bullet Train which almost no one supports, the enormous number of Boards and Committees (435) in this state and the (hands down) most expensive prison system in the nation.
As for education spending: Our teachers are the highest paid in the nation. California, a destitute state, still gives away college education at fire sale prices. Our community college tuition is the lowest in the nation. How low? Nationwide, the average community college tuition is about three times higher than California CC’s. This ridiculously low tuition devalues education to students – resulting in a 30+% drop rate for class completion. In addition, 2/3 of California CC students pay no net tuition at all – either filling out a simple unverified “hardship” form that exempts them from any tuition payment, or receiving grants and tax credits for their full tuition.
On top of that, California offers thousands of absolutely free adult continuing education classes – a sop to the upper middle class. In San Diego, about 1,000 classes for everything from baking pastries to ballroom dancing are offered totally at taxpayer expense. Protests about increased UC student fees too often ignore one crucial point -- all poor and many middle class students don't pay the “fees” (our state’s euphemism for tuition). There are no fees for California families with under $80K income. Moreover, Pell Grants and federal tuition tax credits covered the total 2009-10 fee increases for nearly 3/4 of all undergraduates with household incomes below $180K.
Maybe most important, Higher education, nationally, is the only segment of the economy growing at a faster rate than Medical costs. It won't stop until we say no.
If we are to have any chance of restraining spending, we must not take the pressure off that objective by approving a tax increase. Additional information may be found at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association Website: www.sdcta.org/Resources/Ballot_Recommendations.asp