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Kevin Korenthal: Prop 32, not 30, deserves your vote

Posted: October 5, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 5, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Propositions 30 and 32 are arguably the most contentious ballot initiatives facing voters in the state of California this election. Both are tied to special interest influence in Sacramento.

Proposition 30 is a ballot initiative championed by Gov. Jerry Brown as a means to close the gap (that he created) in school funding. Shortly after taking office, Brown set to the task of balancing the budget so that he could fulfill the state’s constitutional requirement that all spending be paid for. Unfortunately, the same tricks and sleight of hand that have always been employed to make it appear California’s budget was balanced were used this time too. In order to make the budget balance, Jerry Brown took $6 billion from education funding and placed it in the general fund. This was all done in concert with the California Teachers Association who helped Brown craft a ballot measure to refill the education coffers after his raid. Thus Proposition 30, a 3.45 percent sales tax increase and tax on millionaires (defined by Brown as individuals who make $250,000 or more a year) was born.

Proposition 30 codifies a long practiced form of extortion in Sacramento of robbing Peter to pay Paul and then holding Peter hostage until his family pays a ransom. By robbing education to balance the budget, instead of simply hitting taxpayers for more general fund taxes, Brown is placing his bet on you responding to his “it’s for the children” plea to raise taxes on yourself and your employer. Anyone with even a shred of fiscal conservatism can see that approving this measure will just beget more spending and a need to go to the voters again for more tax increases in the future.

Proposition 32 is almost a yang to Proposition 30’s yin. Special interests in Sacramento, like the unions and big corporations have a stranglehold on power in the Capitol. Unions, especially, have shown that through the use of mandated dues, they can buy the loyalty of our legislators. Large corporations that have millions of dollars with which to lobby the legislature are really not much better. Proposition 32 puts limits on how both can raise and spend political dollars.

Here’s what the measure does, according to the official secretary of state-prepared ballot statement:

“Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors.”

“Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees.”

Despite what opponents say, Proposition 32 does not limit workers’ ability to give to political campaigns — the law just says that unions can’t use membership dues for political purposes without permission. Furthermore, neither corporations nor unions will be able to give to campaigns or their committees. That means that individual contributions to candidates will mean something again. How is that for empowering the little guy?

Of course so-called SuperPACs would not be subject to these limitations because the Supreme Court has declared that campaign contributions are an expression of free speech that applies to everyone. But Proposition 32 creates an even playing field where none exists now.

Can you guess who is behind the $18 million in opposition to Proposition 32? The very same unions that, along with the governor are pushing voters to raise taxes to make up for funding that they allowed to be taken out of our classrooms. And that money is coming directly from the paychecks of teachers who have no say over the matter. Even teachers that support Proposition 32 and oppose Proposition 30 are forced to pay for the union electioneering that is counter to their own position.

The National Association of Small Businesses (who are often dwarfed in influence by Big Business money), and former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero are among the leading endorsers of Proposition 32. Romero is a long-time champion of school reform in California and understands that as long as the California Teachers Association can dip into workers’ paychecks for political contributions, no meaningful reform of education will be possible.

Every public employee union in California has come out against and is spending union members’ money to defeat Proposition 32. The same unions are also dipping into workers’ paychecks to raise money to promote Brown’s sales tax increase and tax hike on so-called millionaires.

Please vote no on Proposition 30 and yes on Proposition 32.

Kevin D. Korenthal is the president of KORE Communications and a 30-year resident of Canyon Country.


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