Recent Tax Issues of Interest to Tax Watchers
November 10, 2017 – Several tax related articles are available for you to read on our TaxWatchers Facebook feed on the right side of the page or even better just click on the Facebook link in the page header!
Tax Watchers’ recommendations of local ballot measures published prior to the election, courtesy of Earl Heal.
Following are the 11 tax-related propositions and abbreviated argument summaries.
Proposition 51 authorizes $9 billion in bonds for school facilities. Proponents argue that public education is a state responsibility; yet local school districts must finance their facilities with bonds. This measure creates another unelected bureaucracy with little restraint on its spending. Even Gov. Jerry Brown opposes it.
Proposition 52 amends the state constitution to require that fees now paid by hospitals in order to qualify for federal Medicaid matching funds, be used for health care purposes, not for unrelated things. This measure is supported by nearly all medical professionals.
Proposition 53 amends the state constitution to require voter approval for any state project costing more than $2 billion. This is a small step in the right direction.
Proposition 54 requires that the final version of a legislative bill be made available on the internet and in print 72 hours before a vote. The intent is to promote “transparency” – to let citizens see what government is doing.
Proposition 55 extends the 2012 “temporary” income tax increase on people earning more than $250,000 per year until 2031. The extra tax has already resulted in thousands of individuals and small businesses leaving the state. We can expect more departures if this measure passes.
Proposition 56 increases the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack, and proportionally on other nicotine products including e-cigarettes. Despite worthy intent, tax increases have never had much success in reducing nicotine use. In addition, revenues would be spread to some purposes unrelated to smoking-cessation. As has happened in other states, this added tax will drive cigarette sales out of state or to tax-exempt organizations such as Indian casinos.
Proposition 58 deletes parts of Proposition 227 (passed by voters in 1998) requiring that public school students be taught in English. Choice of language during instruction would be at the school’s option – a significant step backward in preparing our children for the future.
Proposition 59 is an advisory measure asking whether California’s elected officials should work for proposing and ratifying constitutional amendment(s) to overcome the Supreme Court Citizens United decision. “Citizens” removed time limits on campaigning and spending by corporations, allowing them the same latitude as unions and other private entities.
Proposition 61 claims to control prices on drugs; but mostly creates another bureaucratic maze that allows certain suppliers to raise prices. It will increase costs for providers and customers, including veterans.
Proposition 63 will require background checks to purchase ammunition – adding more cumbersome requirements for merchants and purchasers. It is another attempt to make the entire state a “gun-free zone” – ignoring the fact that such laws have failed to reduce gun-related crime anywhere. This law would be found unconstitutional if challenged in the courts; but at great expense for Second Amendment advocates and for taxpayers who pay the state’s lawyers.
Proposition 65 changes a 2014 law that required grocers and other merchants to charge 10 cents for carry-out bags. Stores still keep the money; but it will be taxed as revenue to them. This is just another way to make merchants tax collectors; and to tax citizens without calling it a tax.
References for the Nov 2016 ballot measures.
Easy one stop reference for CA, Solano County and it’s Cities. Just scroll down the page to the bold link for the measure you want to read about.
California State Propositions for November California General Election November 8, 2016
Selected Ballot Measures from BALLOTPEDIA the online Encyclopedia of American Politics. The information given for the State Initiatives gives easy to read, yet detailed explanations of the measures and is an extremely useful website for voters or taxpayer organizations.
Visit the Information & Video Page on this website for over 60 links to organizations and reference sources for concerned taxpayers/taxwatchers!