Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” Initiative. This is a big one on the November 6, 2012 ballot in California. There is a lot of money being spent on both sides of this proposition because it pits special interests against one another. It appears to pit developers against unions, 2 of the biggest interests in California.
If approved, Proposition 32 will:
- Ban both corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates
- Ban contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them
- Ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics
- The main campaign supporting the measure is YES on 32, Stop Special Interest Money Now!
The arguments in favor of Proposition 32 in the state’s official voter guide were submitted by:
- Gloria Romero. Romero is the state director of Democrats for Education Reform. She is also a former California state senator.
- Gabriella Holt. Holt is the president of Citizens for California Reform.
- John Kabateck. Kabateck is the executive director of the California chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.
- Marian Bergeson. Bergeson is a former California Secretary of Education.
- Jon Coupal. Coupal is the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
- The Hon. John Arguelles. Arguelles is a retired justice of the California Supreme Court.
Other supporters include:
- Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz. He says, “This initiative gets to the heart of one of the most corrosive elements in politics: campaign contributions…For too long, special interest money has dominated our politics, muting the voice of average Californians.”
- Richard Riordan, a former mayor of Los Angeles.
Arguments in favor
The arguments presented in favor of Proposition 32 in the state’s official voter guide include:
- “Politicians take millions in campaign contributions from corporations and government unions and then vote the way those special interests tell them. Politicians end up working for special interests, not voters. The result: massive budget deficits and abuses like lavish pensions and bad teachers we can’t fire.”
- “Special interests have spent tens of millions of dollars to prevent Prop. 32 from cutting the money tie between them and politicians. They’ll say anything to protect the status quo. They’ve invented a false, bogus, red-herring argument: They claim Prop. 32 has a loophole to benefit the wealthy and corporations to fund independent PACs. The fact is both unions and corporations fund independent political committees protected by the Constitution that cannot be banned.”
- “Politicians hold big-ticket, lavish fundraisers at country clubs, wine tastings and cigar smokers. Fat-cat lobbyists attend these fundraisers and hand over tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Most happen when hundreds of bills are up for votes, allowing politicians and special interests to trade favors: Giving multi-million dollar tax loopholes to big developers, wealthy movie producers and out-of-state corporations; exempting contributors from the state’s environmental rules; handing out sweetheart pension deals for government workers; protecting funding for wasteful programs like the high-speed train to nowhere, even as they are cutting funds for schools and law enforcement while proposing higher taxes.”
- “Stops special interests from taking political deductions from employee paychecks to guarantee every dollar given for politics is strictly voluntary. Prop. 32 will ensure that California workers have the right to decide how to spend the money they earn. They shouldn’t be coerced to contribute to politicians or causes they disagree with.”
- “Today, it is legal for politicians to give contracts to political donors, shutting out small businesses in the process. Prop. 32 will end this special treatment and the waste it causes, like a $95 million state computer system that didn’t work.”
Other arguments in favor of Proposition 32 include:
- According to Jake Suski, a spokesperson for the “yes” campaign, “This initiative is exclusively about the stranglehold that special interests have had over California’s political system and whether voters are ready to demand reform. Voters are demanding reform and change. They’re willing to do something, to say no to special interests.”
- The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal writes, “If California voters hope to stand a chance of reining in such benefits and fixing their dysfunctional state, they’ll have to break the government union political monopoly this November.”
- Margaret A. Bengs, a former spokeswoman for state agencies, says, “It is well known that big public employee unions and other special interests have an inordinate control over California government, control that stymies badly needed reforms.”
|Total campaign cash|
These are the $50,000 and over donors to the “yes” campaign as of September 17, 2012:
|American Future Fund||$4,080,000|
|Charles Munger, Jr.||$992,204|
|Thomas M. Siebel||$500,000|
|William Bloomfield, Jr.||$300,000|
|Citizen Power Campaign||$230,317|
|B. Wayne Hughes||$200,000|
|Protect Prop 13 (HJTA)||$125,000|
|Lincoln Club of Orange County||$110,000|
|Robert J. Oster||$101,000|
|Frank E. Baxter||$100,000|
|Timothy C. Draper||$100,000|
|William L. Edwards||$100,000|
|Howard F. Ahmanson||$50,000|
|Charles B. Johnson||$50,000|
|Franklin P. Johnson, Jr.||$50,000|
|Nicoletta Holdings Company||$50,000|
|Richard J. Riordan||$50,000|
|Steven A. Laub||$50,000|
- The main campaign against the measure is No on 32, Stop the Special Exemptions Act.
The arguments against Proposition 32 in the state’s official voter guide were submitted by:
- Jennifer A. Waggoner. Waggoner is the president of the League of Women Voters of California.
- Derek Cressman. Cressman is the regional director of California Common Cause.
- Dan Stanford. Stanford is a former chairperson of the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
- Jo Seidita. Seidita is the chair of the California Clean Money Campaign.
- John Burton. Burton is the chairperson of the California Democratic Party.
- Robbie Hunter. Hunter is the executive secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.
Other opponents include:
- The California Labor Federation
- Dave Low, the executive director of the California School Employees Association
- California Common Cause
- California League of Women Voters
- The California Democratic Party
The arguments in opposition to Proposition 32 presented in the state’s official voter guide include:
- “Proposition 32 is not what it seems. Prop. 32 promises ‘political reform’ but is really designed by special interests to help themselves and harm their opponents.”
- “Business Super PACs and independent expenditure committees are exempt from Prop. 32’s controls. These organizations work to elect or defeat candidates and ballot measures but aren’t subject to the same contribution restrictions and transparency requirements for campaigns themselves. A recent Supreme Court decision allows these groups to spend unlimited amounts of money. Prop. 32 does nothing to deal with that. If Prop. 32 passes, Super PACs, including committees backed by corporate special interests, will become the major way campaigns are funded. These groups have already spent more than $95,000,000 in California elections since 2004. Our televisions will be flooded with even more negative advertisements.”
- “Real campaign reform treats everyone equally, with no special exemptions for anyone. Proposition 32 was intentionally written to exempt thousands of big businesses like Wall Street investment firms, hedge funds, developers, and insurance companies. Over 1000 of the companies exempted by this measure are listed as Major Donors by the California Secretary of State. They have contributed more than $10,000,000 to political campaigns, just since 2009.”
- “This measure says it prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It says it also applies to corporations, so it sounds balanced. But 99% of California corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political giving; they would still be allowed to use their profits to influence elections.”
- “Some say ‘this is unbalanced but it’s a step forward.’ Here’s the problem with that. Restricting unions and their workers while not stopping corporate special interests will result in a political system that favors corporate special interests over everyone else.”
Other arguments against Proposition 32 include:
- Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, says, “It’s not enough for them to have taken our houses and it’s not enough for them to make millions off the TARP funding and federal government support for the banks, now they want even more. They want us to not even have a voice in politics whatsoever.”
- Columnist Thomas Elias says, the “initiative’s ban on contributions to candidate-controlled committees is meaningless, merely a cover for another blatant attempt to reduce funds for liberal candidates while letting contributions to conservatives continue unfettered.”
- Ron Lind, the president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, says, “The measure is a wolf in sheep’s clothing designed to fool voters into approving a corporate power grab that will lead to even more corporate influence over our political system. What the backers won’t say publicly is that they’ve written a giant loophole to allow for unlimited corporate spending on campaigns while furthering their real agenda of silencing the voices of middle-class workers and their unions.”
- State representative Linda Sanchez says, “This paycheck deception is the No. 1 target to silence the voices of hard-working families, and it’s a crime.”
- State representative Judy Chu says, “This is the most dangerous proposition of all time. It will silence the union members and their voices.”[
- Trudy Schafer of the California League of Women Voters says, “It promises political reform but it’s really designed by its special interest backers to help themselves and harm their opponents.”
|Total campaign cash|
|California Teachers Association||$16,452,509|
|SEIU/California State Council of Service Employees||$6,788,969|
|California Professional Firefighters||$2,601,580|
|California Labor Federation (AFL-CIO/Change to Win)||$1,372,431|
|Peace Officers Research Association of California PAC||$1,276,846|
|California School Employees Association||$1,050,000|
|California Faculty Association||$1,027,471|
|California/American Federation of Teachers||$800,000|
|International Association of Firefighters||$500,000|
|Professional Engineers in California Government||$500,000|
|California Statewide Law Enforcement Association||$426,552|
|California State Pipe Trades Council||$250,000|
|Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Public Safety First PAC||$250,000|
|Peace Officers Research Association||$250,000|
|Million More Voters (AFL-CIO)||$245,516|
|Northern California District Council of Laborers’ Issues||$150,000|
|State Building and Construction Trades Council of California||$129,718|
|United Transportation Union||$105,000|
|San Bernardino County Safety Employees’ Benefit Association||$100,000|
|John Perez Ballot Measure Committee||$100,000|
|United Domestic Workers of America||$100,000|
|Union of American Physicians & Dentists||$100,000|
|California Association of Psychiatric Technicians||$100,000|