Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is
the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes
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For the first time in memory, California voters will have a say in selecting their party’s nominee for president. In addition to voting for a presidential nominee, Californians also have ballot initiatives to consider. The television ads began during the holiday season and it is tough to surf the Internet without an issue ad popping up on your browser.
The Chamber carefully considered each proposition and its potential effect on our local business climate and overall quality of life. The Chamber’s Board of Directors has adopted the following positions on Propositions 91-97 and the city of Los Angeles’ Measure S.
NO on Proposition 91
This transportation funding initiative is no longer needed after the passage of Proposition 1A in 2006. Proposition 91’s original proponents dropped their support for this initiative; but it was too late to take Proposition 91 off the ballot.
NEUTRAL on Proposition 92
This proposition would amend the California Constitution to guarantee community college funding levels. Supporters argue that Proposition 92 would provide greater independence of community colleges governance, increase funding, and reduce student fees. Opponents argue that Proposition 92 would inflict new pressure on California’s already stressed general fund and require cuts from other educational programs.
NO on Proposition 93
Proposition 93 would reduce the total number of years that an individual can serve in the California Legislature from 14 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 it has been the long-standing position of the Chamber that a change in terms limits must be accompanied by redistricting reform. Legislative leaders have repeatedly promised to put an end to the current process that allows legislators to draw their own legislative districts through extensive gerrymandering. Despite three years of opportunities, and the encouragement of many groups to pass a combined package, the Legislature failed to do so. As a result, the Chamber, consistent with it long standing position, recommends a no vote.
YES on Propositions 94, 95, 96, and 97
These four bipartisan agreements written by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger 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.
NEUTRAL on Measure S
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 two-thirds to 55 percent. The tax rate was reduced from 10 percent 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.
With the exception of Proposition 91, there are strong positions on both sides of each of these ballot initiatives. We encourage the business community and all of your employees to study these issues in depth as you prepare to vote by absentee ballot or in person on Feb 5.
And that’s The Business Perspective.
Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Senior Policy Advisor Rusty Hammer.
Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
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