Recommendations for State and City Propositions | Libertarian Party of San Francisco

Recommendations for State and City Propositions

Prop 30-Temporary Taxes to Fund Education-NO. California is already the sixth highest state in taxes.  By taxing everyone with a ¼ cent sales tax increase and also the wealthy with higher personal income tax rates, California will encourage consumers and companies to move to other lower-tax states.  Instead, the state should balance its budget by enacting pension reform and reducing bureaucracy.

Prop 31-State Budget/State & Local Government-NO. This measure has several good features like requiring performance reviews of all state programs and performance goals in state and local budgets.  However, Section 2 (3e) encourages “local governments to collaborate to achieve goals more effectively addressed at a regional scale.”  This will not “move government closer to the people,” as the measure says, but rather the opposite.  Elected local government officials can be voted out of office, but appointed regional bureaucrats from organizations like ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) and the MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) are not accountable to the voters and can impose their “visions” on the people without fear of retaliation by the voters.

Prop 32-Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction-YES. As long as big government continues, vested interest groups will continue to fight for a share of favored treatment and taxpayer money.  This ballot measure won’t stop that practice, but it will be a step in the right direction by limiting the current practice of unions automatically deducting pay from employee paychecks for political purposes.  Such deductions will have to be voluntary and authorized yearly in writing by the employees—and as Libertarians we favor voluntary actions over coerced takings.

Prop 33-Auto Insurance Companies/Prices Based on Driver’s History -YES. Libertarians favor voluntary transactions between consumers and the companies that serve them.  While car insurance will continue to be heavily regulated—something we disagree with—this ballot measure is also a step in the right direction by removing regulations on discounts/surcharges based on past insurance coverage.  This will encourage more competition in the industry and ultimately lower rates for most consumers.

Prop 34-Death Penalty-YES. Few things can be worse than the state executing an innocent person for a crime he/she didn’t commit.  Especially in recent years DNA testing has exonerated a significant number of condemned prisoners for crimes they never committed.  Passage of this measure will ensure that no innocent person is ever executed again by the state in the ultimate miscarriage of justice.

Prop 35-Human Trafficking/Penalties-NO.  Harsher penalties for sex work under guise of "Human Trafficking.”  This measure purports to go after human trafficking and prostitution involving minors, but will potentially ensnare innocent friends, family, and associates of sex workers as "human traffickers", with draconian penalties of up to twelve years in prison, $500,000 in fines (as much as $1.5 million in some cases), and registering as a "sex offender" for life, in addition to having to turn over all Internet profiles and passwords used by the person to the authorities, letting government get another toehold toward regulating and controlling Internet use. The measure further relies on previously debunked statistics such as the claim that "upwards of 300,000 American children are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation."

Prop 36-Three Strikes Law/Repeat Felony Offenders-YES. When the voters passed the Three Strikes Law, the intention was to get violent criminals off the streets.  But as often happens with new laws, unintended consequences occur, and in this case offenders received much longer prison terms when their third offense was not violent.  This is a miscarriage of justice—the violent criminals deserve the really long sentences, not the nonviolent ones.  Under this measure, the nonviolent offenders may have their terms reduced to more reasonably match their crimes, but the violent offenders (for murder, rape, and child molestation) will not benefit from this correction of the law.

Prop 37-Genetically Engineered Foods/Labeling-NO. While Libertarians value transparency and honesty in all trading transactions between consumers and businesses, this ballot measure will only result in larger government through increased rules and regulations of food labeling laws.  The burden will be put on retailers, which is bound to increase food prices.  Passage of this measure will be great for ambulance chasers since consumers will be able “to sue without needing to demonstrate that any specific damage occurred as a result of the alleged violation.”

Prop 38-Tax to Fund Education & Early Childhood Programs-NO. Taxes are already ridiculously high in California and the educational results of its government schools are correspondingly low.  Increasing state income tax rates will not solve the problem of low performing schools.  Only competition and innovation in education can improve the results.  New Orleans, for example, switched mostly to charter schools after Katrina with remarkable improvements in scores and literacy.

Prop 39-Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses/Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency Funding-NO. This is another tax increase, except this one is directed at multistate companies, rather than the taxpayers directly.  It will create yet another bureaucracy to oversee the confiscated taxes go to favored alternative energy projects.  (Remember Solyndra?)  It will hurt consumers through increased prices for the companies that stay in California and will hurt job seekers when other companies relocate to lower tax states.

Prop 40-Redistricting/State Senate Districts-YES. This measure will not likely have an impact on freedom in California since it is only about choosing between how the State Senate districts will be divided up—either by the Citizens Redistricting Commission or “special masters” (yes, it actually says that in the Voter Information Guide on page 75) appointed by the California Supreme Court.  Since the commission appears to be more impartial than “special masters,” a slight edge goes to the Citizens Redistricting Commission, which would tend to be less politically motivated.