Political campaigns are frequently known for stretching, twisting, and mangling the truth, but a kernel of truth usually remains. Take, for example, the statement by Jerry Brown that he would not raise taxes without a vote of the people (a reasonable position, one that puts the voter in control). However, his opponent twisted that around to say Brown wants to ask voters for more tax increases. There is still truth in that, but the emphasis is altered. 

Outright lies are pretty uncommon. Yet two of this year's campaign ads have resorted to lies. Not twisted truths, but bona fide, genuine, actual lies. 

Take Proposition 24's opponents. They call Proposition 24 a "tax increase." That is a lie. 

Prop. 24 is a confusing offering. During the 2008 state budget process (and I use the term loosely), the legislature approved some tax breaks that primarily benefit a tiny percentage of large companies, many of which have their headquarters outside of California. Those tax breaks are not scheduled to take effect until 2011. They haven't happened yet. Prop 24 prevents these tax breaks from going into effect. This is not a tax increase, unless you believe that failure to subtract constitutes addition. 

Another lie is being told in campaign ads for Proposition 25. Prop. 25 affects the annual budget vote in the legislature, changing the requirement for a two-thirds (67%) super majority to a simple (50%+1) majority as it is in most other states. 

Prop 25 opponents are saying that it makes it easier for the legislature to raise taxes. This is a lie. Prop. 25 specifically states that a two-thirds majority will still be required to raise taxes - the same as it is now. Prop 25 opponents are apparently hoping you'll be too stupid to understand the difference between voting on the budget and voting on tax increases. 

So remember when you vote, that the opponents of Propositions 24 and 25 have not just been twisting the truth. They have been lying to you. Don't let them get away with it.


realitybytes said…
Perhaps Mr. Toy should read this article from the Wall Street Journal. It seems to be saying exactly the opposite:

excerpts for those with ADD:

The most pernicious is Proposition 25, which is being sold as a good government measure to end the state's annual fiscal follies and pass a budget on time. But what matters more than how a budget passes is what's in it. And the two-thirds rule that has prevailed since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 has been the lone restraint on the government unions and their political valets who have spent California to the brink of insolvency.


Proposition 25 is deceptive because its "intent" language that purports to explain its meaning to voters claims that the law "retains a two-thirds vote requirement for taxes." But "intent" sections aren't included in the state Constitution. Instead, the proposition clears the way for a straight majority vote for budgets and the more amorphous category of bills "related to the budget." That's an exception wide enough to drive a tax increase through, and nearly every state taxpayer group and their legal experts are convinced that this is an attempt to end-run Proposition 13.


Proposition 24 is also deceptive, starting with its title, "The Tax Fairness Act." It is opposed by just about every iconic employer left in the state—from Disney to Hewlett-Packard to Intel—because it would take away any remaining tax incentives for investing in the state. The last time California eliminated a "business tax break"—a manufacturing tax credit—Intel stopped building plants in the state, and it has since sent more than $10 billion in job-creating investment to the likes of Arizona and Oregon.
James B Toy said…
The text of Proposition 25 states clearly enough: "This measure will not change the two-thirds vote requirement for the legislature to raise taxes." (Section 3)

As for Proposition 24, I have not commented on its merits or lack thereof. I merely challenged veracity of one claim made by its opponents, not the proposition itself. There is room for honest debate on its pros and cons, but I am not taking a position for or against the proposition here.
realitybytes said…
Here is the actual text from Proposition 25:

"Appropriations from the General Fund of the State, except appropriations for the public schools, and appropriations in the budget bill and in other bills providing for appropriations related to the budget bill, are void unless passed in each house by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring."

So according to this paragraph, a two-thirds supermajority vote would be required to raise taxes, UNLESS the reason to raise taxes is for appropriations for the public schools OR "appropriations related to the budget". Isn't that pretty much everything?

I agree - people are being lied to. But they are being lied to by the supporters of Proposition 25. Isn't it interesting that the major supporters of Prop 25 are the teachers unions? Public schools are the one area of the budget specifically mentioned where legislators could raise taxes with a simple majority.
James B Toy said…
realitybites, you are confusing taxes (revenues) with appropriations (spending). Appropriations are the funds the legislature decides to allocate to various programs. This section refers to appropriations - how revenues are spent, not how tax increases are approved.

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