October 24, 2006 > Election Issue Coverage
Election Issue Coverage
by Steve Warga
Want a hint? It begins with 'b' and ends with 'd.' Okay, here's a free vowel: 'o'. That's right! B-o-n-d spells "tax." and voters will find over 42 billion chances to spell that four letter word in the multitude of state propositions on the November 7 ballot. They'll also find four chances to spell "tax" as t-a-x. And lucky Fremont residents have a fifth chance at this curious spelling bee. Measure L is a local tax measure that doesn't even bother to hide behind any four letter words, although some have suggested certain four letter words to describe it!
A bond is merely a piece of paper recording the transfer of money from one entity to another, to be repaid with interest over a specified period of time. When a state issues a bond, it is borrowing money with a promise of payback. In California, nearly all bonds are repaid from the state's General Fund. The money in that fund comes from ... you guessed it: taxes.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger rode a very high horse into Sacramento in 2003, that horse was named, "No-new-taxes." Very quickly, though, state residents learned that their new governor preferred the four letter version of "tax" as he immediately called for $15 billion worth of bonds to balance the budget - for one year. In March 2004, voters approved that new "tax" in the form of Proposition 57. If every bond initiative wins in November, tax-payers in California will assume approximately $2,000,000,000 in additional payments from state coffers.
We urge voters to pay careful attention to our "constitutional amendment" notations. California's constitution already contains numerous amendments, many of which assert "rights" far beyond any intent of the original document. In today's hyper-intensive political competitions - pitting one well-funded special interest group against another - amendments to our constitution have become attempts to circumvent lawful restrictions. It is our hope that citizens will carefully weigh the consequences of such actions.
In compiling our summaries of 13 state propositions and 3 local measures, we've relied, heavily, on two excellent sources of information: http://smartvoter.org/ operated by the League of Women Voters; and http://www.voterguide.ss.ca.gov/ operated by our Secretary of State's office. (This is an example of tax dollars at work in good and positive ways.) In addition to the voter information on the latter site, you'll also find quite a bit of objective, reliable analysis from the state's Legislative Analyst's office. We highly recommend all of these sources.
Voting is your fundamental, indivisible, constitutional right as a U.S. citizen. Please don't waste it by staying home on November 7.