California Primary: A Simple Guide to the 5 Statewide Measures on the June 5 Ballot
The state primary election is on June 5. In addition to selecting their top choices for governor, U.S. senator, members of Congress and other local offices, California voters will get to decide on these five statewide measures:
Proposition 68: Bonds for parks, the environment
Voting “yes” means the authorization of $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds (state debt) to fund parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation and water infrastructure.
The measure would help pay for projects to maintain forests, rivers, coastal habitats and other natural and recreational areas; finance equipment to remove pollutants from water supplies; and fund levees to protect communities during floods and storms.
On top of the $4.1 billion, the bonds would mean repaying $3.8 billion in interest, according to a state analysis. That means an average repayment cost of around $200 million every year over the next four decades, or about a fifth of a percent of California’s current general fund budget, according to the analysis.
Voting “no” opposes the authorization of the bonds to fund local and state parks, natural resource conservation and water infrastructure.
Proposition 69: Spending for roads, transit
Voting “yes” supports a state constitutional amendment requiring lawmakers to continue spending revenues from recently enacted vehicle fees and fuel tax on transportation purposes only.
Voting “no” means lawmakers could in the future spend some of those revenues on purposes other than transportation.
State Sen. John Moorlach and Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, both Republicans, oppose Prop 69. “A portion of money protected by Proposition 69 is for transit, which is NOT fixing our roads,” they say in a statement in the state’s voter guide.
Ballotpedia says it could not find any editorial boards against the measure and cited support from the L.A. Times, The Desert Sun and other publications.
“If that reassurance seems unnecessary, it’s because anti-tax opponents are readying a repeal of the gas tax …” says the San Francisco Chronicle in its editorial. California Republicans are seeking to put a proposed repeal of the 2017 gas tax increase on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
Proposition 70: Spending of cap-and-trade program revenues
Voting “yes” supports tougher requirements for plans to use revenues from the state’s cap-and-trade program, which helps regulate greenhouse gas pollution. After 2024, revenues would go into a special reserve fund and couldn’t be used by the state until approved in a one-time, two-thirds vote in each house of the state legislature.
Voting “no” means lawmakers could keep authorizing spending plans using cap-and-trade revenues with just a majority vote.
The Sacramento Bee, which opposes the measure along with The Orange County Register and the L.A. Times, says Gov. Jerry Brown “gave Republicans this gift in exchange for their critical votes” when he was trying to extend the state’s cap-and-trade law.
In a joint statement supporting the measure in the state’s voter guide, Brown, California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg and state Assemblyman Chad Mayes say Proposition 70 “helps ensure that money for priority programs is not diverted by politicians for pet projects.”
Proposition 71: When ballot measures take effect
Voting “yes” supports changing the effective date of approved ballot propositions from the day after the election to the fifth day after the certification of election results, usually about six weeks after Election Day. It’s intended to clear up confusion about when ballot measures take effect.
Voting “no” opposes the change.
Both houses of the legislature, as well as the editorial boards of all the major newspapers in California, support the measure.
Gary Wesley, identified by the L.A. Times as an attorney “who made it his mission” four decades ago to argue against unchallenged amendments, says Proposition 71 seems unnecessary and “disadvantageous in some situations” in the state’s voter guide.
Proposition 72: Taxes on rainwater capture systems
Voting “yes” means installing a system to collect and store rainwater would not lead to property tax reassessment and thus would not result in higher property taxes.
Voting “no” means supporting the possibility of a higher property tax bill for property owners who install a rainwater capture system.
No one submitted an argument against the measure in the state’s voter guide and all major California newspapers support it.