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Overview of November 2014 Ballot Propositions


Following are brief summaries of the measures that will appear on the November 4 General Election Ballot and the reasons for the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber positions.
 
Proposition 1
 
The Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.
California’s economy depends on a reliable water supply.  Proposition 1 secures California’s water future, keeps family farms and businesses productive, and puts Californians to work building the new facilities needed to store, deliver and treat water with a $7.5 billion bond.

GSFVCC Position
: Support

Reasons for Position

California is in a severe, multi-year drought and has an aging water infrastructure.  Proposition 1 creates a comprehensive state water plan that ensures a reliable water supply for farms and businesses during severe drought, protecting both the economy and the environment.

Proposition 1 provides monies to clean contaminated groundwater which serves as a critical buffer against drought by providing additional water in years when there is not enough rainfall or snow. Proposition 1 also expands water recycling and efficiency improvements making the best use of the state’s existing supplies. In addition, the measure provides funding for clean drinking water in communities where water is contaminated.

Proposition 1 invests in new water storage by increasing the amount of water that can be stored during wet years for the dry years that will continue to challenge California. The $7.5 billion bond plan includes $2.7 billion for water storage projects.

The aquifer spans most of the Valley floor and theoretically should supply the entire city for 5 years.  But with 75% of the Valley’s groundwater wells being unreliable, that’s not the case.  We need to treat the Valley’s polluted aquifer and invest money in the San Fernando Valley’s water infrastructure and limit our overdraft.

Passing proposition 1 is an important step toward improving access to the water we need.   It will provide critical money to assist the cleanup of our aquifer and allows us to reduce our dependency on imported water.

More Information
: www.yesonprops1and2.com

Proposition 2
 
State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment
 
Proposition 2 amends the State Constitution to strengthen the requirement for a budget reserve and to pay down budget-related debt. Proposition 2 would increase the size of the state’s “rainy day” reserve from $8 billion to $11 billion, and would require minimum annual contributions into that reserve of $800 million – and even more if capital gains revenues to the treasury are strong. The measure would also require that extra revenues be devoted in part to reducing budget debt, repaying funds borrowed from local school districts, or used for investment in new infrastructure or reducing long-term pension liabilities.

GSFVCC Position: Support.

Reasons for Position

Placed on the ballot with bipartisan support, Proposition 2 forces the state to save money and requires politicians to live within their means and protect against unnecessary tax increases. In good times, money will be placed in a constitutionally protected reserve and used to pay down debt. In bad times, the Rainy Day Fund can be used to protect schools, public safety and other vital services.

Proposition 2 prevents the state from spending more than it can afford. Only three years ago, California faced a $26 billion budget deficit that required the Legislature to make painful cuts and voters to approve temporary tax increases. Proposition 2 will ensure that California does not repeat this cycle of boom and bust budgeting.

Without a strong Rainy Day Fund and continued fiscal restraint, the state will face future deficits and could be forced to cut funding for schools, public safety and other critical services. That is why every Democrat and Republican in the Legislature voted to support Proposition 2.

More Information
: www.CaliforniaRainyDayFund.com 
 
Proposition 45
 
 Healthcare Insurance. Rate Changes. Initiative Statute.
 
This measure requires the Insurance Commissioner (the Commissioner) to approve rates for all health insurance coverage before it can be sold to consumers.
GSFVCC  Position: Oppose.

Reasons for Positions
Proposition 45 gives sweeping control over health care coverage rates to one elected politician—the Commissioner. The measure defines “rate” broadly, meaning the Commissioner would have authority to reject or modify more than just health care premium rates. It could also reject proposed co-payment amounts, deductibles, benefit offerings, and more. Some have argued this could undermine efforts by California’s health exchange, Covered California, to make sure health coverage offered to individuals and small businesses is a good value, not just inexpensive.
 
Since 2004, the Legislature has tried and failed to pass five different bills that would have created a complete and regulated rate approval process for health insurance and added implementation fees on health insurers to pay for it. While these measures have all failed, the Legislature did approve a proposal in 2011 expanding the state’s ability to review health care rates, and also established Covered California, a commission responsible for negotiating health plan rates on behalf of consumers and rejecting health plans if they're too expensive.

Proposition 45 would unnecessarily create a new layer of bureaucracy, duplicating work already being done by Covered California and other state agencies, causing costly confusion and adding more red tape to the health care system. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office projects the measure could increase state administrative costs tens of millions of dollars per year — costs that ultimately will be paid by consumers. 

Rate regulation also fails to take into account the major causes of rising medical care costs. As these underlying costs continue to rise, artificially suppressing premiums could ultimately lead to the need for higher premiums or a reduction in benefits over the long run. Instead of solving the problem of the rising cost of health care, rate regulation will lead to delays and limit choices by creating a costly new system that will slow the process of bringing affordable choices to market for consumers.

Proposition 45 is sponsored by special interest lawyers who included a hidden provision allowing them to charge up to $675/hour and make tens of millions in fees from costly health care lawsuits. The proponents have made more than $14 million off a similar provision in the last ballot measure they bankrolled (Proposition 103 in 1988) — costs that were ultimately paid by consumers.

More Information
: www.stophighercosts.org
 
 
County Measure P
  
Safe Neighborhood Parks Measure
Approval of Measure P would authorize the County of Los Angeles to levy a Special Tax of $23 per parcel of land located in the County.  Parcel is defined as any unit of real property that receives an annual securted property tax bill from the County Treasurer and Tax Collector.  The Tax would be levied for 30 years beginning on July 1, 2014 through July 30, 2045. 

GSFVCC Position: Oppose

Reasons for Position
All County residents already pay two park taxes and currently the Parks Department has over $150 million in unspent funds from previous park taxes that voters will continue to pay through 2018.

Before adding another new tax to taxpayers, we need a comprehensive plan to spend existing unallocated revenues and for future revenues, along with a proposal that specifies the need for new revenue..

The 2016 election will provide ample time to enlist full public support for an equitable tax plan to fund county projects – two years ahead of the 2018 deadline when the existing tax expires.

Parks are a vital component in enhancing the quality of life for our county residents. However Measure P rushes voters into a $1.6 billion tax hike over 30 years.


PENDING POSITION
Proposition 46
Drug and Alcohol Testing Of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.
The measure seeks to increase the cap on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice lawsuits. Proponents sweetened the measure by also proposing new random drug testing requirements on physicians and requiring health care providers to consult an electronic database regarding patient prescriptions before issuing any new prescriptions.
GSFVCC Position: TBA


NO POSITIONS
Proposition 47
Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 48
Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum. 








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