California voters will be bombarded with questions in November from raising their own taxes to ending executions and limiting lifetime sentences for career criminals.
The marquee matchup is likely to be between competing tax measures promoted by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and wealthy Los Angeles civil rights attorney Molly Munger. Munger's initiative would increase income taxes for most Californians on a sliding scale for 12 years; the initiative focuses on re-funding public education.
Brown's initiative takes a different approach, increasing the state sales tax in addition to raising taxes on California's wealthiest. The governor's tax initiative combines his previous tax increase initiative with the "Millionaires' Tax."
Other ballot measures include a challenge to the hotly debated and controversial new political boundaries drawn for state Senate districts, tougher penalties for human sex trafficking and initiatives affecting auto insurance rates, genetically altered food and the establishment of a two-year state budget cycle
Additionally, labor unions are facing a high-stakes fight over political contributions with the "Paycheck Protection Act". The act would ban the use of payroll deductions for political purposes.
The measures are among a dozen that qualified for the fall election by Thursday's deadline. The number is likely to drop to 11 next week when state lawmakers plan to again postpone voters' consideration of a water bond.
A full list of the measures (and what each does) is below.
- Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012: measure to "safeguard supplies of clean, safe drinking water" to California's homes
- Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates Initiative Statute: Restricts union political fundraising by prohibiting use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes.
- Amendment #S1: Changes current law to permit insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company.
- Death Penalty Repeal: Repeals death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
- Human Trafficking: Increases criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15-years-to-life and fines up to $1,500,000.
- Three Strikes Law (Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders): Revises three strikes law to impose life sentence only when new felony conviction is serious or violent.
- Genetically Engineered Foods (Mandatory Labeling): Requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.
- Temporary Taxes to Fund Education (Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding): Increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. Increases sales and use tax by ¼ cent for four years.
- Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs: Increases personal income tax rates for annual earnings over $7,316 using sliding scale from .4% for lowest individual earners to 2.2% for individuals earning over $2.5 million, ending after twelve years.
- Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses: Requires multistate businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California. Repeals existing law giving multistate businesses an option to choose a tax liability formula that provides favorable tax treatment for businesses with property and payroll outside California.
- State Budget (State and Local Government): Establishes two-year state budget cycle. Prohibits Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified.
- Redistricting (State Senate Districts): State Senate districts are revised every ten years following the federal census. This year, the voter-approved California Citizens Redistricting Commission revised the boundaries of the 40 Senate districts.