Tuesday, May 08, 2012

June 2012 California proposition recommendations

Prop. 28. Re-jiggers term limits for the Legislature because evidently that’s what makes California politics so terrible. 28 would reduce max time in office from 14 years to 12, but allow those 12 to be served in one house.

Term limits are an insult to representative democracy: either you believe the voters can be entrusted to select their leaders, or you don’t.

Given that, it’s a little hard to care a great deal about these repeated attempts to play around with the rules for term limits. The changes proposed here would do away with some of the nonsense entailed in the scramble by legislators to switch from the Assembly to the Senate or vice versa, so that’s an improvement. On the other hand, the hard 12-year limit seems to mean that anyone who took over a seat mid-term after someone died or resigned would have to quit and force an unnecessary special election 12 years later.

I will probably vote a very unenthusiastic Yes, but if you wanted to skip the initiative so as not to vote for any term-limits measure, I wouldn’t argue with you.

Prop. 29. $1 a pack tax on cigarettes (plus sales tax on top of that) to fund cancer research (not treatment).

A rather high tax on addicts (“those who choose to smoke,” as the yes argument calls them), mostly going to a fund overseen by appointees (one of whom must have been treated for a tobacco-related illness!) and UC chancellors. There’s no reason to think that this group would be qualified to determine where research money can be best spent to bring about a breakthrough, and in general I’d rather see the feds rather than the 50 states trying to cure cancer. Also, why is California creating a fund just for smoking-related cancer? Because it would have looked bad imposing a tax on bras to fund breast cancer research and calling it a “user fee?”

Lastly, I don’t smoke myself, but I don’t really see their greater likelihood of getting sick as a justification to punish them financially.

As much as I hate to be on the same side as the expensive Big Tobacco campaign against Prop. 29 or the hysterics who wrote the no argument (hurts schools! doesn’t clean up Sacramento’s wasteful spending!), this is a No.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely with you on these (perhaps surprisingly on #2). Term limits are completely undemocratic, and what gets me about #1 is how "opponents" of term limits think this was worth their effort. On #2, it's not nicotine addicts in general who will suffer, but, as usual, POOR ones. This country needs (as a nation, not state by state) to raise taxes on the rich and corporations to pay for ALL our needs, including scientific research of all kinds, as well as, of course, education, health care, etc.