Libertarian Party of Orange County 2016 General Election Voter Guide

Libertarian Party of Orange County Voter Guide

2016 Presidential Election 

While Gary Johnson/William Weld have their faults, they follow the libertarian philosophy much more than Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein, or Donald Trump. This election is an opportunity for us to show Americans that there is another option besides Republicans and Democrats, and to set the stage for 2020.

Verdict: Gary Johnson/William Weld

State Propositions:

Proposition 51 (K-12 and Community College Bonds)

This proposition authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds for new construction and modernization of public schools and community colleges. While this is no tax increase and some of our state education facilities could use a facelift, it will cost the state approximately $500 million dollars per year. While this is a small number compared to the newly passed $170 billion dollar budget, every little bit adds to the $400 billion dollars in total debt that our state has. It also further erodes local control of education and subsidizes construction of schools in new developments (which should arguably be paid for the developers or residents themselves, not all taxpayers).

Verdict: Vote NO

Proposition 52 (Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program)

This proposition extends fees passed by the legislature in the wake of the state budget crisis on hospitals to fund Medi-Cal health care services, care for the uninsured, and for children. It’s not often that we agree with the SEIU, but this proposition basically diverts money from hospitals to the state, who then receives matching funds from the federal government (i.e. Medicaid), which then goes back to the hospitals (complicated, I know!). Not only does this force California to rely more on the federal government for financial support, but it amounts to a big giveaway to hospitals with little to no oversight.

Verdict: Vote NO

Proposition 53 (Revenue Bonds)

This proposition requires statewide bond approval before revenue bonds above $2 billion can be issued by the state and requires total disclosure of the cost. Opponents believe that this will force votes on some local projects. However, when taxpayers from the rest of the state are providing significant financial support for local projects, they should have the ability to vote on them.

Verdict: Vote YES

Proposition 54 (Legislative Transparency)

This proposition requires every bill be posted and distributed to lawmakers at least 72 hours before a legislative vote. We find this proposition to be a beacon of good governance in a terribly governed state, which would allow more input from actual Californians as opposed to the special interests who lobby the legislature. Opponents say it will hold up legislation, but with the hundreds of new laws passed every year through the legislature and signed by the governor, we do not see that as a bad thing.

Verdict: Vote YES

Proposition 55 (Income Taxes)

This bill will extend the income taxes on the wealthy enacted in 2012, scheduled to expire in 2018, to 2030. The latest evidence shows that the “temporary” tax increases and Governor Brown’s signature Local Control Funding Formula, which provides more taxpayer dollars to poorer, minority-majority districts, is not working as a persistent achievement gap remains between white/Asian students and Latino/Black ones. Not to mention that our state budget relies on tax revenue from a small percentage of wealthy residents, and extending what was supposed to be a temporary tax may compel them to leave the state and destroy our economy (many small business owners pay personal income taxes).

Verdict: Vote NO

Proposition 56 (Cigarette Taxes)

This proposition will increase cigarette taxes from $0.87 to $2.87, and extend them for the first time to e-cigarettes. While not smoking is definitely healthier than smoking e-cigarettes, they are used by many to wean themselves of nicotine, and taxing them only makes that more difficult. In addition, only 18% of the funds raised go towards smoking prevention, with the rest sent to Medi-Cal, which means that this tax is mostly a new revenue stream and less of a method to reduce tobacco consumption.

Verdict: Vote NO

Proposition 57 (Parole for Nonviolent Felonies)

This proposition will allow parole for those convicted on nonviolent felonies who complete their full prison term for their primary offense. It also extends sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, or educational achievements and allows juvenile court judges, rather than prosecutors, to decide whether minors are tried as adults or not.

Verdict: Undecided; though the CA Libertarian Party has endorsed this initiative, with the recent uptick in crime, and the fact that “non-violent felony” is not well defined, it is not a definite yes.

Proposition 58 (Bilingual Education)

This proposition will repeal part of Proposition 227, which requires all students, including English learners, to be immersed/taught in English. While the Legislative Analysts Office says this proposition will have no effect on state and local government funds, it in fact forces the state to subsidize local districts who choose to implement bilingual education (most education funding, especially in poorer districts likely to implement bilingual education, comes from the state, which is due to Proposition 13 and the Serrano decision). A better initiative would be to permit bilingual education, but with the caveat that funds only come from local taxpayers.

Verdict: Vote NO

Proposition 59 (Citizens United)

This proposition will ask Congress to ratify an amendment to the federal Constitution overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision, which struck down laws restricting campaign contributions from corporations or unions.

Verdict: Undecided; a libertarian case can be made for both more or less restrictive campaign laws. However, please note that the text of this Proposition seems to be lopsided, and makes more mention of corporations’ influence while neglecting to mention the Supreme Court decision also affects unions.

Proposition 60 (Condoms)

This proposition requires porn actors to use condoms for all adult entertainment filmed in the state; and requires producers of adult films to be regulated by the state. If this is not another nanny state law, I don’t know what is!

Verdict: Vote NO

Proposition 61 (Drug Price Controls)

This proposition prohibits the state from buying prescription drugs at a price greater than that paid by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It could potentially raise drug prices for the VA, or force drug manufacturers to stop offering some drugs to the state.

Verdict: Vote NO

Proposition 62 (Death Penalty)

This proposition repeals the death penalty for murder convictions and replaces it with life sentences. Not only would it reduce prison costs by $150 million per year, but it would allow for them to pay restitution to the victims and remove any chance of innocent people going to death row.

Verdict: Vote YES

Proposition 63 (Firearm Regulations)

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a new law to require a license and background check to sell/buy ammunition. Proposition 63 adds new feel-good restrictions on gun ownership including a higher $50 fee (good for four years) to purchase ammunition (versus the $1 fee per transaction under current law), and requiring disposal of high capacity magazines.

Verdict: Vote NO

Proposition 64 (Marijuana Legalization)

Proposition 64 legalizes marijuana, but it does so in the Californian big government way by heavily taxing both growing/retail sales, prohibiting use in a public place (even more stringent than tobacco), and not allowing liquor stores to sell marijuana.

Verdict: Vote NO; though it will likely pass, and if it does, initiatives should be sponsored to remove some of the restrictions.

Proposition 65 (Carryout Bag Charges)

In 2014, the CA legislature passed a law which prohibited plastic bags in grocery stores, and forced grocery stores to charge $0.10 for paper and other carryout bags. Proposition 65 redirects the mandatory $0.10 fee to a state environmental fund. While the state is not a good steward of our tax dollars, forcing customers to pay grocery stores for paper bags is akin to forcing people to buy health insurance from private companies. The referendum on the law itself is Proposition 67.

Verdict: Undecided; if Proposition 67 passes, this may stop grocery stores from profiting because of collusion with the state.

Proposition 66 (Death Penalty Procedures)

This proposition would speed up the death penalty appeals process and voids Proposition 62 if more votes are received.

Verdict. Vote NO

Proposition 67 (Carryout Bag Referendum)

This is a referendum on the 2014 law which prohibits both “single-use” plastic bags, as well as the giveaway of free paper bags, in California grocery stores. Proposition 67 is flawed in many ways:

  • Plastic bags were originally a replacement for paper bags, which were deemed environmentally destructive as making paper requires cutting down trees. Some studies have shown that reusable bags actually require more energy to make than plastic bags, even accounting for multiple uses.
  • Plastic bags are not necessarily single use, and have many alternate purposes (provided they were not carrying meat), such as for carrying items, picking up dog poop, and trash bags.
  • The issue environmentalists have with plastic bags is more of a littering issue, and less about how they are produced. As libertarians, we should hold trash and recycling companies responsible for not having garbage trucks with lids to prevent the escape of not only plastic bags, but Styrofoam cups and other debris.

To allow for the bill to be passed without a 2/3 vote, and to get grocery stores on board, the law allows grocery stores to keep the $0.10 fee, instead of diverting it to environmental cleanup or a related purpose (customers should be allowed to keep getting free paper bags should a store choose).

Verdict: Vote NO

Local Measures

Santa Ana Measure PP – Vote NO on the proposed 700% pay raise for Santa Ana City Council members.

City councils in Fountain Valley, La Habra, and Westminster are all pushing for 1% sales tax increases this November. These tax increases will undoubtedly affect small businesses (who do not have stores in other cities), and poor residents the most. In addition, they allow cities to punish taxpayers for generous contracts and pension benefits. Vote NO if you live in any of these cities.

As these are general sales taxes, only a majority of voters need to approve them (special sales taxes, such as transportation sales taxes, require a 2/3 vote for approval).

Whereas many bond measures which include tax increases require a 2/3 vote for approval, school bonds which raise property taxes in excess of the 1% per Proposition 13 only require 55% of voters to approve. If your local school district wants/needs funds, they will probably put a local bond proposal on the ballot. As Californians have already approved over $146 billion dollars in state/local bonds for schools in the past 16 years, we recommend voting NO on most of these.

Local Candidates

Courtney Santos – Irvine City Council

Gary V. Miller – South Orange County Community College District Area 3

Steven Nguyen – Rancho Santiago Community College District Area 5

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