L.A. Area Chamber Announces Positions on Presidential Primary Ballot Initiatives

L.A.'s leading business organization urges voters to reject term limits without redistricting reform and support new Indian gaming agreements

January 23, 2008

LOS ANGELES, CA - The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce announced today its positions on measures to appear on the February 5 California presidential primary election ballot.

"The L.A. Area Chamber carefully considered each proposition and its potential effect on our local business climate and overall quality of life," said Chamber President & CEO Gary Toebben. "Comprehensive legislative reform and addressing our state's budget deficit are of critical importance. As a result, we urge voters to reject a change in legislative term limits unless it is accompanied by redistricting reform and support the new Indian gaming agreements, which will deliver much needed revenue to the State without raising taxes."

The Chamber's Board of Directors has adopted the following positions on Propositions 91-97 and the City of Los Angeles' Measure S.

• Proposition 91 NO
This transportation funding initiative is no longer needed after the passage of Proposition 1A in 2006. Prop. 91's original proponents dropped their support for this initiative; but it was too late to take Prop. 91 off the ballot.

• Proposition 92 NEUTRAL
This proposition would amend the California Constitution to guarantee community college funding levels. Supporters argue that Prop. 92 would provide greater independence of community colleges governance, increase funding, and reduce student fees. Opponents argue that Prop. 92 would inflict new pressure on California's already stressed general fund and require cuts from other educational programs.

• Proposition 93 NO
Proposition 93 would reduce the total number of years that an individual can serve in the legislature from 14 years to 12 years. However, the measure would allow the individual to serve all 12 years in either legislative house or a combination of both. The Chamber supports comprehensive legislative reform, however only if it is accompanied by redistricting reform that will put an end to the current process that allows legislators to draw their own legislative districts.

• Propositions 94, 95, 96, and 97 YES
These four bipartisan agreements written by the Governor and the legislature will help address the current budget deficit. They allow four tribes in San Diego and Riverside Counties -- the Agua Caliente, Morongo, Pechanga and Sycuan tribes -- to operate additional slot machines on tribal lands. In return, the tribes will pay a larger percentage of revenue to the state, an expected $200 million in the first year alone.

• Measure S NEUTRAL
Measure S is the City of Los Angeles' proposed 9 percent communications user tax which will apply to landline and cell phones as well as Voice over Internet Protocol communications. The City currently has a 10 percent communications user tax on telephone services which generates $270 million per year and has been challenged in court because it was enacted administratively rather than through a vote of the people. City Hall declared a "state of fiscal emergency" to lower the voter approval threshold from 2/3 to 55 percent. The tax rate was reduced from 10 to 9 percent but the new tax would apply to a broader range of communications than the current tax. City Hall is correct to be concerned about the potential loss of $270 million. And taxpayers are correct to be concerned about the lack of public discussion about the current state of fiscal affairs and options moving forward.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.

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