By Laurie Jo Miller Farr | Yahoo! Contributor Network
Propositions throughout the Bay Area are so plentiful that, metaphorically speaking, they litter the landscape like confetti at the San Francisco Giants' celebration parade. Alameda County voters consider Prop A1 for Oakland Zoo funding among 22 measures. San Franciscans vote on seven items, including Prop F on the source of the city's water supply. Six propositions in Marin County include a county sales tax increase, which San Mateo County also considers along with another 11 questions. Santa Clara County presents 12, Napa and Solano counties have seven each, Contra Costa has 16 on the slate, and Sonoma looks at 17.
With all of these ballot questions to consider, Bay Area voters may feel overwhelmed. Read on for a cheat sheet on statewide questions that will help you sort through the issues this Election Day.Proposition 30: Taxes
Gov. Brown says vote yes to raise the sales tax from 7.25 to 7.5 percent and impose additional personal income tax on the top 3 percent of earners for seven years to fund education and public safety services. In favor: California and American Teachers Federations, League of Women Voters, Democratic Party. Opposed: California Republican Party, pointing out the state's taxes would soar to highest in nation. This issue has attracted campaign spending of $100 million.
Proposition 31: State BudgetA yes vote supports creating a two-year state budget cycle. Its supporters, including the Republican Party, have outspent tenfold at $4.4 million. Opponents claim the state budget needs a complete overhaul, but that this measure is only a costly Band-Aid solution.
Proposition 32: Labor
Another big attention-getter, attracting $130 million to reach voters, Prop 32 would ban automatic paycheck deductions and contributions by government contractors, corporations, and unions for state and local candidates. The Republican Party claims it stops special interest money. The Democratic Party, California Teachers Association, AFL-CIO, and San Francisco Chronicle argue that the bill is disguised as campaign finance reform, but would actually handcuff participation by union workers while ramping up big business influence.
Proposition 33: InsuranceGeorge Joseph, chairman of Mercury Insurance Group, has spent in excess of $16 million in support of the measure to allow consumers to shift choice of insurers while retaining their discounts. The "Stop Prop 33" campaigners say this is a billionaire's way of gaining control and raising rates on millions of California drivers. Car insurance sold amounts to $21 billion annually in California. Proposition 34: Death Penalty
Prop 34 proposes replacing the death penalty with life in prison without parole, as in 17 other states that have eliminated the death penalty. California has 725 inmates on death row with seven eligible for execution, the last of which occurred in California in 2006.Proposition 35: Law Enforcement
The measure would increase prison terms for human traffickers and place tighter controls on sex offenders. The Los Angeles Times says the bill has the right intent but addresses it poorly; others say the language is over-reaching and that there will be rising enforcement costs to the state. No campaign committees have registered as being in opposition.
Proposition 36: Law Enforcement
The "three strikes" law modification calls for flexibility in enforcing life sentences only when a third felony conviction is serious. Reduced sentences of life offenders could save the state up to $200 million a year. In favor are district attorneys in San Francisco, Santa Clara County, and Los Angeles, plus L.A.'s chief of police, the state Democratic Party, and the NAACP. Opposed is the California Republican Party and those who claim petty crime will increase. Proposition 37: Regulations
Requiring labeling on genetically modified foods, Prop 37 is dubbed the "Right to Know." It has wide consumer support, saying it is already established in 61 countries. However, opposition has spent $41 million, coming from industry giants: Monsanto, Dupont, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Heinz, General Mills, Nestle, Del Monte, Unilever, Kellogg, and additional food companies. Opposition objects to the wording and the logistics of revising labels. Proposition 38: Taxes
A personal income tax increase on earnings above $7,317 on a sliding scale for 12 years to benefit early education competes for passage with Proposition 30. Opponents include the California Chamber of Commerce, Governor's Office, and both the California Democratic and Republican parties. Proposition 39: Taxes
This measure would affect multi-state businesses. Supporters say it would close a loophole that takes jobs out of California, potentially raising $1 billion in construction and clean energy job revenues; opponents call it a tax increase on business. California's Disney, Qualcomm, Cisco, and Amgen support the measure, as does the governor. Opponents, including the state GOP, argue that California already has a hostile business climate.Proposition 40: Redistricting
A confusing veto referendum concerning the congressional redistricting lines approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. A no vote overturns that work, so a "yes essentially means no and a no means yes," according to the Bakersfield Californian. Those opposing have dropped their opposition after qualifying for the ballot. Prop 40 is receiving little attention but remains on the ballot.