by Jon Coupal | Sacramento

Every day, at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, we receive dozens of calls asking which ballot measures will have the greatest impact on our wallets.

[click here for HJTA election recommendations]

There are four measures that deserve special attention; some are obvious while others are a surprise to many.

Proposition 21 is an increase in the car tax that promoters say will help parks. However, since there is no requirement that lawmakers continue to fund parks at the level they do now, the end result is just a higher car tax and more money for the Sacramento politicians to spend as they choose.

Then there is Proposition 24. It eliminates a scheduled tax cut for business. It was negotiated in the budget deal last year that raised taxes for everyone else. Still, if approved, it means that California businesses will continue to struggle under some of the highest taxes in the nation.

Proposition 25 is being misrepresented as a measure to make sure the Legislature passes a budget, “on time.” However, by doing away with the two-thirds vote to pass appropriations bills, it opens the door to much greater spending, more taxes and debt. It also gives the majority in the Legislature the power to coerce those in the minority into voting for new taxes, by threatening to withhold approval of programs for constituents in their districts.

However, the ballot measure that may have the greatest impact on the budgets of California families is Proposition 23. If Proposition 23 is defeated, the state will begin to implement policies, under already passed legislation known as AB 32 that will impose massive new costs for energy that will amount to a tax on all Californians.

Here is where it gets confusing; to block these new taxes — to say no to these new costs — Californians must vote yes on Proposition 23.

If Proposition 23 is rejected, here is what will happen according to expert sources:

* A 60 percent increase in your electricity bill according to the Southern California Public Power Authority.
* An 8 percent increase in your natural gas bill according to CARB’s economic analysis.
* $50,000 more for the price of a new home according to an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
* $3.7 billion a year more for gasoline and diesel according to Sierra Research.
* A $1,000-$3,000 additional cost for a new car according to CARB and automaker studies.

On top of all that, a study conducted for the California Small Business Roundtable found that AB 32 regulations would cost small business alone nearly $200 billion, and would result in more than 1 million lost jobs.

Proposition 23 recognizes that California is in a serious recession and postpones the implementation of AB 32’s regulations until California unemployment declines to the same level as when AB 32 was approved, 5.5 percent.

If Proposition 23 is rejected by voters, state government will begin ratcheting up AB 32’s harsh and expensive regulations, causing energy and utility costs to skyrocket and killing jobs at the worst possible time.

If Proposition 23 passes, the implementation of these new regulations will be postponed, families will save billions of dollars and California can get back to work. Don’t be confused, a yes vote on Proposition 23 means lower energy taxes.


copyright 2010 Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Jon Coupal is an attorney and president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest taxpayer organization with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento.

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