Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kacer’s Call - November 6, 2012 - California General Election

          General Guidelines - How I try to approach Propositions:

·   Do: First read the Summary, Analysis, Actual Text, then the Arguments for and against

·   Do: Ask yourself if this is a proper role of government

·   Do: Ask yourself if this is the right thing to do, who benefits, and what consequences result

·   Do: Determine what principles apply (Biblical, conservative, practical)

·   Do: Apply common sense; come to tentative conclusion – find position of those you trust

·   Don’t: Rely on organizations by name only (many sound good but can be deceptive)

·   Don’t: Wait until the last day to do your research (spread it out over time)

·   Don’t: Support government going into future debt (some very rare exceptions)

·   Don’t: Allow rare circumstances to overly influence you (“rare cases make bad law”)

·   Don’t: Support anything that’s too complex to completely understand (beware obfuscation)

·   Don’t: Accept a lot of bad legislation for the sake of a little good legislation

Note: “(C)” is a State Constitution change; “(S)” a Statute change; “(R)” a Referendum

Prop 30 (C): Temporary Taxes to Fund Education Recommend Oppose (No)

Concerns: Raises ~ $40B over 4 years (sales tax increase) and 7 years (income tax increase). California has highest sales tax in nation; second in income tax (highest if passed).  Businesses pay large portion of sales taxes and will pass onto consumer. How much is enough for schools (open-ended)?

Consider: Constitutional balanced budget requirement ignored for years (Eccl 5:4-7), should further fiscal irresponsibility be encouraged by a regressive sales tax and punishing wealth generators? Revenue designated for schools subject to Prop 98 requirements, with excess used elsewhere (bait and switch; Proverbs 20:14). Temporary nature of tax creates dependence and harder problems later (Prov 22:3). There are consequences to accumulated debt (Proverbs 22:7; Psalm 37:21). If legislature incapable of balancing budget now, how will more tax revenue make the process any better (1 Tim 6:10a)? Prior temporary sales tax didn’t “solve” budget problem, why would this (Prov 26:11)?
Prop 31 (C): Establish Two Year State Budget Cycle Recommend Oppose (NO)
Concerns:  Unjustifiable future revenue projections have allowed current 1 year deficit budgets to be rationalized – putting off the inevitable and disregarding Constitutional obligations. Any tax cuts must be offset with revenue increases, therefore no reduction in spending. If Governor declares fiscal emergency a majority vote by legislature will pass budget.

Consider: If current budget cycle can’t address near term economic upheavals, how will a 2 year budget account for uncertainty James 4:13-14)? False premise on role of government: “promote prosperous economy, quality environment; community equity” also “increasing employment, improving education, decreasing poverty, decreasing crime and improving health” (Rom 13:1-6; 1 Peter 2:14; justice and order).  Wrong government roles mandated down to local levels thru Community Strategic Action Plans.
Prop 32 (S): Prohibitions on Political Candidate Contributions Recommend Support (YES)
Concerns: Unions use payroll deductions for major political influence independent of member’s beliefs, desires, or a proper focus only on employment collective bargaining. Public employee union political influence makes elected representatives an advocate, not defending our interest in limiting costs. Unfortunately, has some 1st Amendment freedom of speech issues for corporations.

Consider: Taking money from unwilling workers and using for objectionable purposes is immoral (Acts 5:29). Cuts off major union financial control of law makers (Exodus 23:8; 1 Timothy 6:10a)). Also, will prevent government contractors from donating to those making contract decisions (removes conflicts of interest (Prov 17:8; 29:4)).
Prop 33 (S): Allow Auto Insurance Comp.’s  to Use Drivers Insurance History  Recommend Support (YES)
Concerns: Government regulates and restricts insurance company rating factors and rates (16 factors now; Prop 103 prioritized three major factors).  Measure allows one additional factor to be used (not mandated) allowing more flexibility.  Allows proportional consideration for non-specified lapses in coverage (other than military; loss of employment; 90 days any reason; parents eligibility).

Consider: Since government regulates auto insurance industry already, this gives more flexibility for potential use in setting rates and increases competition/consumer options. Not all possible conditions can be accounted for (Eccl 9:11)
Prop 34 (S): Repeal of Death Penalty Recommend Oppose (No)
Concerns: Very sensitive issue. Many practical problems (justified and unjustified costs; time delays) shouldn’t trump justice.  Extreme limitations on capital punishment already inhibit justice for victim and families. 

Consider: Murder uniquely defiles our land (Gen 4:10; Num 35:30-33). Justice is a foundational principle (Prov 21:15) and is to be proportional not vengeful (Deut 19:15-21). Sanctity of own life forfeited by murder (Gen 9:5-6; Ex 20:13). Executing murderers a legitimate government duty (Rom 13:4). Life sentence prolongs justice and creates more issues (Eccl 8:11). Life in fallen world not risk free (wars, car accidents, etc.)(Eccl 9:11). If innocent, life sentence also unjust (Prov 18:5)
Prop 35 (S): Human Trafficking Penalties and Sex Offender Registration  Recommend Support (YES)
Concerns:  Registration (Internet service providers/personal identifiers) requirements appropriate but establishes precedent for future expansion.  Excluding educational/library facilities from ISP reporting is problematic and not justifiable.  Unfortunately, no restitution for victims (Ex 22), fines go to services and law enforcement only.

Consider:  Human Trafficking is slavery (depriving personal freedom), treats victim as property, and is condemned (1 Tim 1:8-10). It severely abuses life created in God’s image (Gen 1:27; James 3:9). Use of children particularly vile (Matt 18:6).
Prop 36 (S): Revisions to Three Strikes Law Unclear & Uncertain Measure. Recommend Oppose (NO)
Concerns: Amends ’94 Prop #184 3-Strikes law. Proposed revisions are very cumbersome and difficult to understand.  Attorney General’s analysis and text of measure are difficult to reconcile (1 Cor 14:33).

Consider: When laws are unclear with complex exceptions, opportunities exist for abuse and inconsistency if lax judicial climate exists (1 Cor 14:8).  Attorney General states current courts may choose (in some instances) to ignore prior felonies (defeats 3-strike intent). Affect of this measure is very unclear, needs to be simpler with greater focus.
Prop 37 (S): Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Recommend Oppose (NO

: Justifiable concerns about rDNA since long term consequences unknown. Not being fully informed about genetically altered food is problematic. Allowing public litigation with recovery of all investigation and prosecution costs is invitation for abuse and ideological promotion.

Consider: God placed limits on the creation of species (Gen 1:11-12; 21; 24-25), rDNA violates this.  Cannot anticipate future impact of rDNA on living organisms and food supplies (higher risk of devastation with fewer varieties).  Good measure, however the legal options create hostile opportunity for sustained financial attack on legitimate non-organic businesses to the benefit of “organic” approaches (Prov 20:14; Jer 17:9)
Prop 38 (S): Temporary Taxes to Fund Education & Early Childhood Programs Recommend Oppose (NO)
Concerns:  Adds significantly increased income tax burden to compensate for lack of fiscal restraint by State over many years.  Significant increase in government oversight of young children from birth to Kindergarten.  Debt servicing allows General Fund use for any purpose (bait and switch; Prov 20:14). Mandatory achievement goals can be gamed, with no real consequences for non-chievement.

Consider:  Temporary nature of tax creates dependence and harder problems after 12 years (Prov 22:3; 1 Tim 6:10a). Goal is full- day, all-year preschool. Raising children takes time by parents, the more time under government  or 3rd party supervision the less opportunity to personally equip our children (Prov 22:6; 4:1-27). Supplementing school funding goes against living within means, while income tax burden punishes businesses and individuals for past Bond (tax) obligation decisions. Increasing taxes without major restraint is presumption on the future (James 4:13-14a)
Prop 39 (S): Taxing of Multistate Businesses & Clean Energy Funding Recommend Oppose (NO)
Concerns: Revokes prior legislation that provides tax options to multi-state companies.  Removing this could worsen an unfavorable California business climate.  There’s significant uncertainty what the impact will be. Allocation of tax revenue is for renewable energy projects and schools (Prop 98 application) instead of addressing current deficit crisis. 

Consider: In effect this is a public works project (mostly schools and public buildings energy efficiency projects); no enduring market based job and business creation incentives (Prov 11:14a). More tax revenue to support schools and non-specified General Fund expenditures will ease pressure to address lack of fiscal restraint.
Prop 40 (R): State Senate District Boundaries Recommend Support (YES)
Concerns: Virtually impossible to guarantee creation of equitable election district boundaries no matter what approach is used: Citizens Redistricting Commission (Prop 11 of ’08; Prop 27 of ’10); or appointed legislators in the past. Prior approach by legislators known to be compromised, and any CRC will also have personal biases.

Consider: Any redistricting effort can be gamed (Jer 17:9). People must ultimately choose their leaders (Deut 1:13) and hold them accountable. It’s not constructive to recapture something that was already broken and expect a better outcome (Eccl 7:10). Voting YES retains the new district boundaries.

Click here for a downloadable PDF Version

Provided by Frank Kacer
Executive Director
Christian Citizenship Council (C3) of San Diego