California Primary Election Prop Cheatsheet (June 2018)

Jungle primaries are confusing enough. That's why we've put together this handy cheat sheet, along with our reasons for taking the positions we did.  Now you can sound informed at dinner parties AND avoid screwing up on Election Day.  

As always, have a happy, healthy, enjoyable, sticker-producing, smug-smile-generating voting experience!


Our Recommendations:

68 - YES

Prop 68 proposes California take out a bond for $4.1-billion to fund drought, water, parks and coastal protection programs. This investment is important because California is constantly in the midst of a water or fire or other nature-related crisis and it’s better to provide local governments the support they need to prep for the worst than just sit around drinking matcha lattes and hoping nothing happens. Plus, Prop 68 has a lot of great supporters, among them the Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land Action Fund, not to mention it’s been endorsed by the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Gov. Jerry Brown. The opposition, meanwhile, is made up of a small contingent of fiscal conservatives that argue CA borrows too much money in general and that this bond would involve...doing more of that. Should we carefully consider our spending priorities?  Absolutely, but this bond will save us money (and homes and even lives) in the future when disaster inevitably strikes, so it’s worth the investment in our book! 

69 - YES

Last year, the CA state government raised vehicle fees and increased the tax rate on gas and diesel with the intention of putting the money into exciting transportation things like maintaining roads and building public transit. Prop 69 would require that they do just that, sending the revenue from these taxes and fees into a special transportation account and preventing it from being diverted to other things. This system of earmarking revenue for specific uses isn’t always a good idea, especially if there are budget shortfalls in other critical areas, but in this case we approve for a few of reasons: 1. Agreeing to earmark the revenue was necessary in order to get the legislature to pass this tax increase in the first place. 2. California will always need investments in its transportation infrastructure, especially in the lean times. 3. The opposition campaign is largely being waged by conservative politicians who intend to argue in November that the government isn’t keeping it’s word by...not passing this prop. Don’t let them have that chance.

70 - NO

This is a complicated one, and to understand any of it you need to know what Cap-and-Trade is. (Sorry!) Cap-and-Trade is a system in which a governing body places a cap on emissions, then sells companies permits so they can go over that cap. The strategy is the center of California’s climate plan and brings in some moolah so know...arguably good. In CA we collect our Cap-and-Trade revenue in a special fund that’s supposed to go towards fighting climate change. Here’s where Prop 70 comes in. CA just approved Cap-and-Trade rates for 2024-2030, which will bring in a new chunk of change. Prop 70 would require that a supermajority of lawmakers approve the first (and only first) expenditure of this new money. Why? Good question. Proponents claim this will increase accountability, ensuring the money is spent on environmental priorities. The problem is, based on who supports the measure, it seems more likely that it’s meant to benefit polluting corporations looking to buy time and influence with legislators, as well as people trying to stymie Jerry Brown’s high-speed rail project (which gets 25% of the revenue from Cap-and-Trade). Whatever the first proposed expenditure from this fund actually is, if this prop is passed, its approval process will become a proxy war for other priorities, wasting lots o’ time and money. We’d rather make sure we can use the revenue generated by Cap-and-Trade to fight climate change quickly (ie, before the world ends!) and avoid fighting an expensive proxy war in the process.

71 - YES

WHEW, after that last head-scratcher, this one is a welcome relief. The simplest prop on the ballot, Prop 71 would create a constitutional amendment that says any law passed via prop can only take effect once the final votes are tallied statewide and the election is certified. Um...this isn’t what we already do? Yeesh.

72 - YES

Another easy one! CA is a drought-y place, so we all want to conserve water. As it stands now, however, homeowners who install fancy rainwater recycling systems, some of which cost thousands of dollars, can be hit with tax assessments that declare the fancy water collection thingamajig a new amenity and raise their property taxes. Prop 72 prevents this from happening, which we’re definitely into. People who install fancy conservation gadgets and whatchamacallits should not wind up paying more in taxes for the privilege of saving some of our precious water.