Workers Action’s Recommendations for the California June Ballot Measures

Workers Action

Vote NO on Proposition 28 — Term limits

Limit of 8 years (senate)/6 years (assembly) replaced with 12-year limit on combined service.

Socialists approach the elections differently than liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans. Under the electoral system we have today, big business rules the roost. The political system is stacked in favor of big business, which funds both parties and uses the proposition process to either bypass the legislature or to conduct negative campaigns that will drive voters from the polls in order to minimize the democratic process.

Since the founding of the United States and the State of California, there has been a constant fight to expand the democratic rights of the people. That fight is not over. One tactic has been term limits, a bureaucratic response to often long entrenched political incumbents. However, we on the revolutionary left view term limits in general as primarily an undemocratic technique. The people should have the right to elect whomever they choose, including incumbents. The timed-out office holders know they will be out of a job and off to the next political appointment, office or lobbyist position. The way to break entrenched power in City Hall or Sacramento is to create a new force in society: a political party of working people. You can be sure that when working class candidates start winning office, the bosses’ parties will attempt to impose even more stringent term limits.

Proposition 28 reduces California’s term limits from 14 to 12 years. Pro-term limit advocates, such as Jon Fleishman of Californians for Term Limits, claim that Prop. 28 will weaken term limits. Our position has nothing in common with his arguments. We work for a fighting, militant labor movement that we believe one day will be compelled to create a labor party in direct opposition to the Democrats and Republicans so that the majority of the people of California will finally be truly represented. That political movement will swell the electorate, which increasingly stays away from the polls as a result of finding very little inspiring among the candidates who end up on the ballot.

Regardless if this measure passes or fails, voters should realize that either outcome leaves an undemocratic system in place.

For reference, here is the official description from the California Secretary of State:

Official Secretary of State Description: Reduces the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years. Allows a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the Assembly, the Senate, or a combination of both. Applies only to legislators first elected after the measure is passed. Provides that legislators elected before the measure is passed continue to be subject to existing term limits. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: No direct fiscal effect on state or local governments.


Vote NO on Proposition 29 — Increases the tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research

We believe that working people are being pressured from all sides to give more and more. We work longer hours for less pay, we have less time to spend with our families, we are more likely to face unemployment, and the working people’s share of the wealth in this state and country has gone down dramatically.

Until the full burden of taxation is shifted entirely on to the wealthy and the corporations, we oppose all increases in taxation on working people, including taxing cigarettes. While the increased cost of cigarettes has been a major contributing factor to the dramatic drop in smoking, from a working class perspective charging already exploited and over taxed workers to pay for cancer research is fundamentally unfair.

We believe cancer research must be paid by the industries that profit by producing cancer-causing products, for example, the tobacco, chemical, agribusiness and oil companies. In addition, health services treating cancer should be free to all who need them. Moreover, in a fully democratic society, we may choose to completely outlaw the marketing of cancer-causing products like tobacco and prohibit the licensing of American tobacco brands outside of the U.S.

For reference, here is the official description from the California Secretary of State:

Official Secretary of State Description: Imposes additional five cent tax on each cigarette distributed ($1.00 per pack), and an equivalent tax increase on other tobacco products, to fund cancer research and other specified purposes. Requires tax revenues be deposited into a special fund to finance research and research facilities focused on detecting, preventing, treating, and curing cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other tobacco-related diseases, and to finance prevention programs. Creates nine-member committee charged with administering the fund. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increase in new cigarette tax revenues of about $855 million annually by 2011- 12, declining slightly annually thereafter, for various health research and tobacco-related programs. Increase of about $45 million annually to existing health, natural resources, and research programs funded by existing tobacco taxes. Increase in state and local sales taxes of about $32 million annually. (09-0097.)



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