California 2018 Propositions 5 thru 8: Taxes, Tantrums, Time Changes, and Catheter Cash

by on October 3, 2018 · 0 comments

in California


Screencap from YouTube

Grannies, potholes, sunshine, and healthcare. We sure do get to vote on a lot of interesting things in California.

Prop 5 changes the way property taxes are calculated for certain classes of (mostly wealthy) people. Prop 6 amounts to a Republican temper tantrum. Prop 7 wants to settle some timely questions. And Prop 8 is a more-complicated-than-it-seems battle of the Titans.

Proposition 5 – Another Trickle Down Scheme

Changes Requirements for Certain Property Owners to Transfer their Property Tax Base to Replacement Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

The grampas and grammas who served as props for the original campaign for Prop 13 are once again being exploited for the sake of some Republican social engineering.

This time around it’s the real estate industry doing the heavy lifting, as we’re to be sold on the idea that lower property taxes for older, wealthier Californians will somehow trickle down and help solve the state’s housing crisis.

The sales pitch for Proposition 5 downplays already existing law providing a property tax break to homeowners age 55+ or disabled. The idea is to create the impression among California voters that they’ll be voting to rectify an economic burden.

Homeowner households who would be eligible to lower their property taxes under Prop. 5 mostly have higher incomes and are less likely to live in poverty than Californians overall. This is especially true when compared with older renter households.

You’re unlikely to be hearing that side of the story, as I predict an avalanche of advertising promising benefits to grannies and home ownership to their children.

In reality, what proponents of this measure will be doing is blowing a multi-billion dollar hole in future state and local budgets for education, health care, housing, and human services. It’s just another step towards a rightwing utopia built by suffocating government. Or as they like to call it: “a market-driven solution” to the housing crisis.

Under Prop 5, the more expensive a property sells for, the bigger tax break an eligible buyer gets.The campaign to put this before the voters has reported raising $7.20 million, with 58% coming from the California Association of Realtors Issues Mobilization PAC and 42% from the National Associaton of Realtors.

The San Diego Union-Tribune, and the Orange County Register have endorsed Prop 5. The UT seems to think a multi-billion dollar decline in property tax revenues is a small price to pay for increased liquidity in the housing market.

The Mercury News, the Sacramento Bee, and the East Bay Express have all editorialized against Prop 5.

Proposition 6 – Carl DeMaio Says Potholes Are Good for You

Eliminates Certain Road Repair and Transportation Funding. Requires Certain Fuel Taxes and Vehicle Fees be Approved by The Electorate. Initiative Constitutional Amendment (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)


Republicans were outraged when two-thirds of Sacramento legislators voted to pass Senate Bill 1 – Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

It was obvious to a lot of Senators and Assemblymembers the state was headed for a crisis in transportation infrastructure. And despite months on end of “Infrastructure Week” in Washington DC, it was also clear Congress was incapable of action.

It was also obvious to the state’s beleaguered GOP factions they needed something to rally around in 2018. Carl DeMaio’s group got to the finish line first with the Voter Approval for Future Gas and Vehicle Taxes and 2017 Tax Repeal Initiative.

The thinking went something like this: How dare a supermajority of legislators approve something that’s not a tax cut? Let’s make a supermajority of voters have to vote on this sort of thing in the future.

Prop 6 would also eliminate the fees and taxes from SB1, meaning the state would have to cut funding in other areas if people wanted to get from point A to point B in the future.

Of course, in the GOP’s ideal world, people would be moving around on privately-owned transportation pathways, paying tolls on the Carl DeMaio/Ocean Beach Freeway not subject to approval by either the legislature or the voters. Ya gotta love those market-driven solutions.

The Yes on 6 folks are out there flogging us all with the notion of something (taxes & fees) being taken from the people so California could buy additional shovels for construction workers to lean on for most of the day.

They’ve brought in cash and endorsements from those very same DC GOP politicians (Paul Ryan, et. al.) who are too busy enabling racists and rapists to move infrastructure legislation. If they can only get enough of “the base” frothing at the mouth, perhaps they can avoid other disasters at the polls on November 6.

Yes on 6, according to the reports available as I’m writing this, has raised a little over $3.6 million. The largest single contributor was the California Republican Party, followed by Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s campaign and gubernatorial candidate John Cox.

Fortunately, outside Carl DeMaio’s bubble, there are people who realize the consequences of a cheap political ploy.

An unlikely coalition of business and labor have raised over $28 million to oppose Prop 6. No newspaper that I could find in California has editorialized in favor of the measure. It’s really that bad.

Let’s hope voters get the message.

Proposition 7 – A Daylight Dream

Conforms California Daylight Saving Time to Federal Law. Allows Legislature to Change Daylight Saving Time Period. Legislative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by the Legislature)

Photo by Doug Porter

Why is this even on the ballot? Because there are rules about this sort of thing we voters approved nearly 70 years ago.

Proposition 7 would allow the California State Legislature to establish permanent, year-round daylight saving time (DST) by a two-thirds vote.

This won’t happen unless the Congress can be persuaded to change the federal Uniform Time Act to allow for permanent DST.

For now, the Uniform Time Act allows states two options: (a) adopt DST between the second Sunday of March or the first Sunday of November or (b) remain on standard time all year.

There is, alas, an additional roadblock beyond reaching out to the fools on Capitol Hill.

Proposition 12, the 1949 ballot initiative establishing DST would need to be repealed. In California, a ballot initiative cannot be repealed without the consent of voters.

So. Proposition 7 is needed before California can ask Congress to consider our request.

There are no formal committees for or against this measure.

It might be helpful to know that a supermajority (68%) of nations don’t have DST, with 14 countries ditching it since the turn of the century. Why? Because it’s actually bad for our health.

Proposition 8 – Oh Yeah? Well, Take This!

Regulates Amounts Outpatient Kidney Dialysis Clinics Charge for Dialysis Treatment. Initiative Statute. (Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures)

Credit: Wistechcolleges / Flickr

What Proposition 8 does and what it means are two different things.

Ostensibly it requires dialysis clinics to issue refunds when revenues exceed 115% of the costs of (a) direct patient care, such as wages and benefits of non-managerial clinic staff who furnish direct care to patients, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and (b) healthcare improvements, such as staff training and patient education and counseling.

On the surface, it sounds like somebody wants the government to be mean to the facilities offering lifesaving care to kidney patients.

That somebody, if you’ve read any of the nine or so newspaper editorials opposing Prop 8, is the Service Employees Internation Union-United Healthcare Workers. The opposition to Prop 8 would like voters to believe the union is out to put the lives of sick people at risk to win a labor battle.

Annnd… it’s not that simple.

Yes, the SEIU-UHW has been trying to organize dialysis clinic workers. And, yes, the two big corporations controlling the industry have waged a down and dirty campaign to stop this from happening.

So, on one level it is big labor vs big corporations. SEIU has a history of taking a multi-pronged approach in tough negotiating situations that includes legislative remedies.

What’s unfortunate about this measure is the Legislature and the State Department of Public Health Services could and should have intervened in this battle long ago. The tentacles of for-profit health corporations reach into every level of government, making reasonable decisions all-too-often subordinate to powerful lobbyists.

Look a little deeper and you’ll see the dialysis market is bound up with monopolistic practices. The two companies ruling the roost get up to a 350% mark up on each treatment. It currently takes 3,800 enrollees to offset the cost of one dialysis patient, according to Blue Shield of California.

And the profits, well, they’re just amazing. Dialysis clinics are as much as five times more profitable than hospitals. It’s safe to assume the ‘gold in them thar catheters” will take precedence over patient care on a regular basis.

So, on another level, this measure is about just how screwed up our healthcare system is.

There is big money riding on the outcome of voting on Prop 8.

Union proponents have raised over $17 million dollars (as of June 30). It’s considered a major fight for unions in California and they’re going to work hard at convincing the public.

Opponents, mostly clinic operators DaVita and Fresunius Medical Care of North America, have donated better than $53 million to fight this measure. Their main sales pitch is that they’ll be forced to shut down clinics should this pass.

From: San Diego Free Press

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: