Proposition 89: hope for democracy
Original post made by Nancy Neff on Oct 23, 2006
Under our current campaign finance system, our purchases of gasoline, pharmaceuticals, insurance, and so on provide profits to companies that can then donate to candidates and ballot initiatives without our permission. (At least union members can opt out of political contributions!) Then we pay again when corporate donations result in industry friendly decisions -- $3.3 billion a year in tax loopholes alone. As a result, the share of California's general fund that comes from corporate taxes has fallen from 15% in 1980 to only 11% today.
Proposition 89 takes 20 cents per $100 of profit from "C" (usually large) corporations to create a Clean Money Fund. In a court-tested system proven to work in Arizona and Maine, qualified candidates may use the fund to run for office taking no private money. Once elected, they are accountable only to the voters. If they are outspent or if independent expenditures are used against them, matching funds make them competitive. The matching funds serve as a deterrent to excessive private spending.
Proposition 89 has closed many campaign finance loopholes with new limits on contributions to candidates from individuals, corporations, unions, and committees. It also limits contributions from corporate treasuries to ballot initiatives. This levels the playing field, since both corporations and unions remain free to spend from PACs.
Our city council is in good company: League of Women Voters, AARP, Ira Ruskin, and over 300 other organizations and political leaders support Proposition 89. If it passes, we have the hope of leaving our children an intact democracy.
on Oct 24, 2006 at 8:32 am
I agree with Nancy. Proposition 89 will help mend the current campaign finance rules that benefit major campaign contributors at the expense of ordinary citizens. Prop 89 will also expand the pool of candidates for office and allow elected officials to respond to the will of their constituents, not just the special interest groups who have helped elect them.
on Oct 25, 2006 at 12:27 pm
Can either of you name a campaign finance reform that has worked? We've voted for campaign finance reform measures many times in the past and every one of them had loopholes designed to benefit the politicians who put the measure on the ballot. This one is no different.
Here's what Prop. 89 will do, if approved:
• Takes tax funds that could be used on our schools and classrooms and puts them into the hands of political consultants, who will spend them on junk mail. Yeah, I call that a reform!
• Raises taxes on all small businesses. Odds are that one of you two might work for a small business or own one. This measure takes money out of your pocket and gives it to people who make those stomach-turning negative ads on TV.
• It won't stop wealthy candidates, and that's what you guys hate, right? Some billionaire like Al Checci, Ross Perot or Richard Blum (Dianne Feinstein's husband) buying a political office. Whoops, I didn't mean to put Blum on that list. Oh well, what Prop. 89 says is that if a self-financed candidate runs, the opponent will be given an equal amount to what the rich guy is spending -- up to $200 million. To put $200 million, that's enough money to run PAUSD for 18-20 months.
Prop. 89 doesn't level the playing field. It loots the public treasury, giving money to political consultants (Republican ones too) while putting small businesses, labor and non-profits at a disadvantage in campaigns.
If you really favor free speech, vote NO on 89
on Oct 25, 2006 at 12:32 pm
When were union members given the right to opt out of political contributions, as Nancy Neff claimed above?