Of the 11 statewide propositions on the Nov. 6 General Election, the San Ramon and Danville Expresses, along with the Pleasanton Weekly, find only five to support: Propositions 32, 34, 35, 36 and 40, as well as local Measure D. We'll tell you why later this week. For now, we are recommending No votes on all the others, most notably on Propositions 30 and 38.
Gov. Brown is on the statewide speaking circuit these days to promote Prop. 30, and with good reason. The tax he has championed is not selling well in an economically stressed state with continued high unemployment and reports regularly about companies that are leaving California for lower-tax states. Prop. 30 would increase the sales tax by one-quarter-cent for calendar years 2013-16, increase the maximum 9.3 percent personal income tax rate in stages to 12.3 percent, and add another 1 percent tax on annual incomes over $1 million. Prop. 30 and competing Prop. 38 have no guarantees the extra money will even reach schools, where financial help is needed.
Moving down the ballot:
* Prop. 31: Forces the Legislature to move to a two-year budget. It's a poorly written and contradictory proposition that will lead to lawsuits and confusion instead of reform. Vote No.
* Prop. 33: Changes the rules on how auto insurance companies and their customers deal with each other. Let's let the market drive the policies. Vote No.
* Prop. 37: Requires special labels on 40-70 percent of all foods currently sold in California if they contain genetically modified ingredients. This would add to labeling, distribution and monitoring costs, which the state's Department of Public Health is handling well. Vote No.
* Prop. 38: Increases personal income tax rates to provide funds for early childhood education programs in the public schools. Again, tax increases would be only "temporary," until 2024 at the latest with the caveat that some of the new money could be used for state debt payments. Vote No.
* Prop. 39: Changes California tax code to require multi-state firms to pay income taxes on their percentage of sales here, with half of the funds raised to go for "clean/efficient energy projects." This would be a $1 billion tax increase leading to more businesses leaving the state. Vote No.