Analysis: It’s Yes on Prop 30 or School Cuts; ‘Everything’ at Stake for Unions in Prop 32

This past weekend marked the start of autumn — and the final sprint to the November 6 election. On The California Report Magazine, host Scott Shafer talked to Anthony York, who covers politics for the Los Angeles Times.

Here’s an edited transcript of their conversation:

Proposition 30 is backed by Governor Jerry Brown and would raise taxes to fund education.

Proposition 30 is backed by Governor Jerry Brown and would raise taxes to fund education. (Image: California Secretary of State)

SCOTT SHAFER: Let’s talk about the November election. Gov. Brown has a lot riding on the outcome, especially with Proposition 30, which would raise income taxes on the wealthy and sales taxes on all of us. The Governor got mixed news from two polls this week. Tell us what they said.

ANTHONY YORK: They said that just about half of voters are still in favor of the Governor’s plan, Proposition 30, and that there are increasing numbers of voters that are unsure. There’s still a lot of uncertainty in these last six to seven weeks of the campaign.

SHAFER: And at the same time, there’s Proposition 38, which would raise income taxes on everyone — mostly millionares — but everyone would take a little bit of a hit. Opinion polls show there is more of a split, a little bit less support, under 50 percent, for Proposition 38. But does that (Proposition 38) add to confusion for voters?

YORK: It does, and it’s also adding to the concern for the governor. Right now, I think the proponents of Proposition 30 view the Proposition 38 campaign as the major threat. That initiative is financed by Pasadena attorney Molly Munger, who has put about $25 million into the campaign so far. Their concern is that a strongly comparative campaign, comparing Proposition 30 to Proposition 38, could help sink Proposition 30, even if Proposition 38 fails as well.

If Prop 30 goes down, regardless of what happens to Prop 38, there will be about $5.5 billion in cuts, most to K-12 schools.

SHAFER: Just give us a quick sense of what happens if both Propositions 30 and 38 are defeated, and the extra revenue for education isn’t there.

YORK: The state budget that was signed by Brown back in June is contingent upon Proposition 30 passing. If Proposition 30 goes down, regardless of what happens to Proposition 38, there will be about $5.5 billion in cuts. Most of that will be to K-12 schools, about $5 billion. Another half a billion dollars — 250 million each from the UC and CSU systems, and a couple of other small cuts.

SHAFER: Another ballot measure, Proposition 32, would severely limit unions’ ability to use dues for campaign contributions. There’s a new Field Poll out Friday morning that shows it losing, with 44 percent opposed, 38 percent yes, and the rest undecided. What’s at stake for unions here?

YORK: Pretty much everything. This is very similar to proposals that California voters have rejected twice before, which would limit unions’ ability to automatically deduct dues from workers’ paychecks and use that money for political purposes. Unless they can be clever and find some sort of workaround, that has the potential to cripple unions, which give hundreds of millions of dollars to state initiatives and campaigns every cycle.

SHAFER: Overwhelmingly, of course, that money goes to Democrats and causes friendly to Democrats, so there’s a lot riding on that for the party as well. Before I let you go, there was a new law that took effect this week. It’s going to allow online voter registration. Tell us how it works and how it could affect the election or just generally politics in the state.

YORK: The popular opinion seems to be that more voters tends to mean more Democrats. Whether or not that bears out remains to be seen. Republicans have said that making this type of online voter registration could potentially lead to voter fraud. Democrats say it’s really just about trying to expand participation. We’ll see if the necessary protections are in place, and if it does have any impact. I think the bottom line is: will this have any impact in actually expanding voter participation?

Listen to Scott Shafer’s interview with Anthony York:

  • Jon

    California’s government is shameless and does not deserve more money. Like Johnny Rocco in “Key West,” all it always wants is more. “Yeah. That’s it. More. That’s right! I want more!” No matter how much of our hard-earned money we give it, next year it wants more. And rather than curtailing waste or becoming accountable, rather than cutting out the junkets, strip clubs and slush funds, it threatens our children if it does not get more. Props 30 and 38 are like trying to cure someone’s addiction by giving them more of what they are hooked on. There may be some sweating and gut-wrenching, but we need an intervention to wean our Big Brother off the sauce. Stop chasing the dragon and vote NO on Props 30 and 38.

  • ladysflare

    I totally agree with Jon. We have to stop Big Brother from sticking their fingers into our wallets and robbing our paychecks. We are not an unlimited source of money for the government to exploit and waste under the pretense they only want to save education. Yes, eliminate the waste and the dead weight and they wouldn’t need to steal more money from us! If we have to live within our means, then so do they. We are sick of feeding their addictions. Take the money out of their inflated salaries instead.

  • perspective2

    The choices made Nov 6 will determine the state’s course for
    years. Both Prop 32, 30 levy significant taxes on Californians.

    The wounds that Prop 30, 32
    are to heal have been self inflicted largely by elected officials in
    Sacramento who simply do not say no to any influential interest group (lobbyists) be they public
    employees, business, teachers or other unions or environmental groups.

    And now the Sacramento politicians and their lobbyists are
    using Prop 32, 30, 38 to blackmail us.

    Vote! Vote No on Prop 32, 30, 38. Save
    California for our children.