Everything you need to know about each state proposition on the 2018 ballot • Long Beach Post

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There’s a lot to decide on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Not only do Long Beach voters have five local ballot questions before them, but voters will decide one county measure and 11 state measures (Proposition 9, a measure to split California into three states, was removed from the ballot in July). Voters will also decide on a number of statewide offices, along with local and regional state and federal representatives.

Here’s a breakdown of each state proposition.

Proposition 1: Affordable Housing Bond 

What it would do

Give the state permission to borrow $4 billion to fund affordable housing construction and rental and home loan subsidies.

The money would be used to build and renovate rentals ($1.8 billion), to offer home loan assistance to vets ($1 billion), to construct additional housing in dense urban areas and near public transit ($450 million), to offer down payment assistance and other aid to low- and moderate-income homebuyers ($450 million) and to provide loans and grants for agricultural workforce housing development ($300 million).

What it would cost the government:

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state’s nonpartisan budgetary scorekeeper, paying back the bond with interest will run the state government an extra $170 million annually for the next 35 years on average. This is roughly equivalent to about one-tenth of 1 percent of the state’s current general fund—or what the state spent on its juvenile justice program this year. The total cost of the bond is expected to be $5.9 billion.

Why it is on the ballot: 

In the fall of 2017, state lawmakers went all in on housing, passing a cluster of bills aimed at subsidizing and streamlining new development. This bond, introduced by state Sen. Jim Beall from San Jose, was the product of one of those bills.

Full text of Prop. 1

Still undecided? Check this interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 2: Mental Health Money for Housing 

What it would do:

Give the state permission to borrow $2 billion to fund supportive housing (affordable housing with on-site social and medical services) for those suffering with mental illness. That debt would be repaid with money previously set aside for county-run mental health services.

What it would cost the government:

Not to over-complicate this, but it kind of depends on what you mean by “cost.” If Prop. 2 passes, the state will divert roughly $120 million per year away from designated mental health treatment funds to pay off the supportive housing bond. In other words, the state would be spending this money no matter what. Plus, a lawsuit has been holding up the state’s plan to fund supportive housing with county mental health dollars for over a year. If and when the court rules, it could side with the state, meaning this fiscal switcheroo was going to happen anyway.

Why it is on the ballot:

In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which hiked the income tax on millionaires by 1 percent to fund the expansion of county-run mental health services and related programs. Twelve years later, state lawmakers passed a bill to borrow $2 billion to fund permanent supportive housing and to pay for it with some of the millionaire’s tax money. But a Sacramento lawyer sued, arguing that voters didn’t have the right to issue those bonds without voter approval and that, anyway, the Prop. 63 dollars are meant for bread-and-butter mental health services, not housing construction. Counties are now sitting on millions of dollars reserved for the homeless and are unsure how to spend it. Rather than wait out the court battle, state lawmakers are taking the question to voters.

Full text of Prop. 2

Still undecided? Check out this interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 3: $8.9 Billion Water Bond 

What it would do:

Give the state permission to borrow $8.9 billion to fund watershed protection ($2.5 billion), water supply improvements including wastewater treatment ($2.1 billion), habitat restoration ($1.4 billion), groundwater management ($1.1 billion), flood protection projects ($500 million), as well as upgrades and repairs to traditional water infrastructure, like canals and dams ($1.2 billion).

What it would cost the government:

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state’s nonpartisan budgetary scorekeeper, paying back the bond with interest will run the state government an extra $435 million annually for the next 40 years on average. This is roughly equivalent to about one-third of 1 percent of the state’s current general fund—or a little less than what the state spent on its Department of Fish and Wildlife this year. The total cost of the bond is expected to be $17.3 billion.

Why it is on the ballot:

No, this isn’t déjà vu. On June 5th, California voters passed a $4.1 billion bond to fund water infrastructure improvements, as well as new parks. That proposition was placed on the ballot by state lawmakers in part to discourage outside groups from asking voters for even more money in November. And yet here we are. Unlike the June proposition, this bond is much bigger and its funds will be entirely dedicated to water projects.

Full text of Prop. 3

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 4: Children’s Hospital Bond

What it would do:

Give the state permission to borrow $1.5 billion to fund renovations, expansions, and upgrades at hospitals that treat children. Most of the funding is reserved for the state’s eight private non-profit children’s hospitals ($1.08 billion) and the five hospitals run through one of the University of California campuses ($270 million).

What it would cost the government:

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state’s nonpartisan budgetary scorekeeper, paying back the bond with interest will run the state government an extra $80 million annually for the next 35 years on average. This is roughly equivalent to six ten-thousandths of the state’s current general fund—or what the state Legislature spent on its legal department this year. The total cost of the bond is expected to be $2.9 billion.

Why it is on the ballot:

The California Children’s Hospital Association regularly turns to the taxpayer for help. In 2004, voters backed a $750-million bond to fund similar infrastructure investments. Four years later, they approved another $980-million in borrowing. This year’s proposal looks pretty similar—only bigger.

Full text of Prop. 4

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 5: Portable Real Estate Tax Break

What it would do:

Allow older or disabled homeowners to take a portion of their lowered property tax base with them if they sell their home and move.

If you want to get into the weeds, here’s how it works: someone who buys a more expensive house would no longer be required to pay property taxes based on the full market price of the new home, as they would be now in many cases. Instead, the new taxable amount would only increase by the difference in market price between the new and old home.

Likewise, someone who moves to a less expensive house would actually see their property fall, dodging a higher property tax bill based on the full market rate of the new property. Instead, their assessed value would decline by the percentage difference in price between the new and old property.

What it would cost the government:

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state’s nonpartisan budgetary scorekeeper, local governments and school districts would lose $2 billion annually ($1 billion each) in foregone tax revenue. The state government would be required to backfill most of these costs, increasing state spending by a roughly equivalent amount. Some school districts in areas with high property taxes (roughly 5 percent across the state) would not be made entirely whole.

Why it is on the ballot:

Ever since voters passed Proposition 13 in 1978, property taxes have been calculated based on a home’s purchase price, rather than its current market value. That has kept property tax bills low for longtime homeowners despite skyrocketing real estate prices, but it also discourages people from moving, since property tax assessments are usually reset when you buy a new home. The California Association of Realtors, the folks in the business of selling homes, introduced this ballot measure last fall arguing that it will free up necessary inventory for young families by making it easier for empty nesters to downsize.

Full text of Prop. 5

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 6: Gas Tax Repeal

What it would do:

Repeal a recent increase in the gas tax and other fuel and car fees and require voter approval for all transportation-related tax increases in the future. Taxes to be rolled back include a 12-cent hike in the gasoline excise tax, a 4 percent increase in the diesel sales tax, as well as a new annual vehicle fee based on the value of the car or truck. 

What it would cost the government:

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state’s nonpartisan budgetary scorekeeper, the state government would lose $5.1 billion annually in foregone tax revenue. Most of this money now goes to road and highway repair and maintenance, along with public transportation and mixed-transportation projects. There would also likely be longer term fiscal impacts, as state and local lawmakers would have a much more difficult time raising revenue from gas and car-related sources in the future.

Why it is on the ballot:

California roads are in rough shape, the product of years of deferred maintenance and recession-era budget cutting. Last year, lawmakers passed a bill to raise the state tax on gasoline for the first time in over two decades to fund repairs and maintenance, along with new transit projects and infrastructure upgrades. The bill also raised taxes on diesel and introduced a new car fee. This led Republicans and other anti-tax advocates to immediately begin mobilizing. In June, these same groups successfully campaigned for the recall of Josh Newman, a vulnerable Democratic state senator for Orange County, ostensibly over his support of the transportation bill.

Full text of Prop. 6

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 7: Daylight Saving Time Forever

What it would do:

Repeal the 1949 law that created Daylight Savings Time. If voters approve Prop. 7, the Legislature would then be able to pass a law with a two-thirds majority finally nixing the biannual tradition of moving clocks backward and forward every spring and fall. That is, assuming the federal government let’s us get away with it.

What it would cost the government:

Not much. Messing with our clock could affect energy consumption and worker productivity, but it’s not clear how or by how much.

Why it is on the ballot:

Democratic Assemblyman Kansen Chu of San Jose carried a bill the Legislature passed to place the measure on the ballot. Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing statement declared “Fiat Lux!”—the motto of his alma mater UC Berkeley. It’s Latin for “Let there be light.”

Full text of Prop. 7

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 8: Dialysis Clinic Profit Pruning

What it would do:

Require companies operating dialysis clinics to payback any profits over 15 percent of qualifying business costs. Payments would be made to insurance companies or to individuals who pay out of pocket.

What it would cost the government:

Probably not much, though depending on how dialysis clinics respond to the law, state and local governments could see fairly small changes to their health care budgets or income tax revenues.

Why it is on the ballot:

The majority of California dialysis clinics, which serve patients suffering from kidney failure, are owned by two for-profit companies: DaVita Kidney Care and Fresenius Medical Care. The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers have had their sights trained on the industry for years. They’ve sponsored legislation and floated ballot measures to mandate higher staffing ratios and regulate insurance payments.

Full text of Prop. 8

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 10: Bringing Back Rent Control

What it would do:

Allow cities to introduce new restrictions on market rents or expand existing rent control policies.

What it would cost the government:

It depends. If cities across the state enact new rent control laws or expand old ones, that could result in less construction and reduce rental property values, resulting in lower tax revenue. But it could also allow existing tenants who save on lower rent to spend more on consumer goods, resulting in higher sales tax proceeds. And then again, it’s possible that very few cities will respond with new laws at all, in which case the effect will be negligible.

Why it is on the ballot:

In 1995 the California Legislature passed a statewide clamp down on rent control. Cities could no longer restrict rent increases on apartments built after 1995 or on any single family homes. Plus, any city that wanted to have rent control on the books had to allow landlords to raise rents as soon as a tenant moves out. Now that the state is facing an affordable housing crisis, some housing advocates want to give cities a tool to put a legal lid on rents.”

Full text of Prop. 10

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Prop 10 won’t bring rent control to Long Beach, but it could open more units to future ordinances

Proposition 11: Paramedic Break Time

What it would do:

Continue to allow private ambulance services to require their emergency medical service employees to remain on call during meal and rest breaks. Also guarantees technicians additional training and some paid medical health services.

What it would cost the government:

Ever so slightly lower EMT contract costs will likely save local governments some money.

Why it is on the ballot:

Good question! Two years ago, the state Supreme Court ruled that security guards cannot be required to keep their radios on and remain on call while enjoying their meal or break time. A number of private ambulance firms are now facing class action lawsuits in California courts over similar break time violations, including American Medical Response, the Colorado-based company backing the initiative. Those cases are still pending, but the companies involved want a specific exemption written into law and to make sure they aren’t held liable for past practice.

Full text of Prop. 11

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

Proposition 12: Bigger Cages for Farm Animals

What it would do:

Place specific size requirements on the coops and cages used to contain breeding pigs, veal calves, and egg-laying hens. By the numbers, these news standards require at least:

  • 43 square feet of floor space per calf by 2020
  • 24 square feet of floor space per pig by 2022
  • 1 square foot of floor space per hen by 2020 and cage-free by 2022

It would also require all egg-laying hens be raised in specified “cage-free” conditions by 2022. California businesses would be prohibited from selling any food products that come from animals not raised in compliance with this law, even if they come from out of state.

What it would cost the government:

Not much. It might increase enforcement costs and decrease tax revenue from farms that might suffer under the new regulations.

Why it is on the ballot:

In 2008, voters passed Proposition 2, an initiative sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, which required that farm animals be allowed to stand up and turn around in their cages. After Prop. 2 passed, commercial egg growers insisted that it did not require them to go cage-free, while animal welfare advocates (including Prop. 2’s sponsor) argued otherwise. This measure, again backed by the Humane Society, would add new, more specific requirements by including square-footage specifications. A cage-free requirement will be phased in after four years.

Full text of Prop. 12

Still undecided? Check out our interactive ballot guide that helps you get to a decision about how to vote on each ballot measure through a series of questions.

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