Proposition Voter Guide: What You Need to Know About California's Ballot Measures

To help you sort through the 11 state propositions in the November election, Patch has put together a proposition voter guide of California ballot initiatives.

With a few days left before the Nov. 6 election, voters are being bombarded with political ads and statements. 

Confused on which proposition is which? Looking for nonpartisan information on each ballot measure? Want to know what people are saying about each proposition?

Patch has put together a Proposition Voter Guide with links and articles about each proposition to help you make an informed decision at the polls.

Nonpartisan Websites


Proposition 30: Temporary Taxes to Fund State Programs

Voters will face two, some say conflicting, tax measures on this year’s ballot. The first is supported by Governor Jerry Brown and is also known as the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act. The measure is intended to help close the state’s budget gap and fund schools.

The act would raise the personal income tax rate for people who make more than $250,000 a year. Individuals who make less than $250,000 a year and couples who make less than $500,000 a year will not see an increase. The ballot measure would also raise the state sales tax by a quarter cent for the next four years.

The money raised from the tax hike is expected to generate $6.6 billion for education. If voters reject it, a series of trigger cuts that will result in a nearly $5.4 billion hit to education will be enforced.

Click here for more information on Proposition 30.

Patch Articles on Proposition 30:

  • Deciphering Propositions 30 and 38
  • Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support
  • California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measures

Proposition 31: State Budget

This proposition would allow local governments and school districts create plans to coordinate how public services are provided. These plans include areas of public health and safety, education, social services, and economic development. Governing boards for the county, school district and city must approve the plans. The proposition would allow local governments flexibility on how state-funded programs are administered and how property taxes are transferred.

The proposition would also place restrictions on Legislature’s ability to increase or decrease state revenue and when they can pass bills.

Click here for more information on Proposition 31.

Patch Articles on Proposition 31

  • Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support
  • California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measure

Proposition 32: Political Contributions

This measure seeks to reform campaign finance rules in three key ways. The first would ban employee paycheck reductions for “political purposes.” The second would prevent corporations and unions from making direct contributions to state and local candidates or the committees that fund them.

The third would forbid government contractors to contribute to elected officials who were involved in the process that awarded them the contract. This would keep the contractors from contributing while that contract is under consideration or is in effect.

Click here for more information on Proposition 32.

Patch Articles on Proposition 32

  • Poll: Should Labor Unions Lose Paycheck Deductions for Political Spending?
  • County Board of Supervisors Vote to Oppose Prop. 32

Proposition 33: Auto Insurance Rates

Prop. 33 would change state law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company. Drivers who have not had prior, continuous coverage could be charge higher rates, while those who have had coverage could receive discounts.

Click here for more information on Proposition 33.

Patch Articles on Proposition 33

  • Insurance Industry-Backed Proposition on California Ballot

Proposition 34: Death Penalty Repeal

Prop. 34 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This would also affect individuals currently sentenced to death. According to the proposition, the measure would create a $100 million fund for law enforcement efforts.

Click here for more information on Proposition 34.

Patch Articles on Proposition 34

  • Voter Guide: Propositions 34 and 36

Proposition 35: Human Trafficking/Sex Offender

Proposition 35 would increase prison sentences and fines for human trafficking. A conviction for human trafficking would be require the offender to register as a sex offender.

Click here for more information on Proposition 35.

Patch Articles on Proposition 35

  • Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support
  • California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measures

Proposition 36: Three Strikes Law

This measure would change California's current "Three Strikes" law by imposing a life sentence only when the crime committed is a serious, violent crime. This could allow some offenders with two prior serious or violent felony convictions, and currently serving life sentences for nonserious, non-violent felony convictions, serve shorter prison terms. This would not affect felons with prior convictions of murder, rape, or the sexual abuse of children.

Click here for more information on Proposition 36.

Patch Articles on Proposition 36

  • Voter Guide: Propositions 34 and 36

Proposition 37: Genetically Modified Foods

Prop. 37 would require labeling alerting consumers of any raw or processed food made from genetically-modified plants and animals. Genetically engineered food cannot be marketed as "natural” under the measure, although certain foods are exempted from this measure.

Click here for more information on Proposition 37.

Patch Articles on Proposition 37

  • Prop. 37: Should Genetically Modified Foods Be Denoted in Labels?
  • Whole Foods Ramps Up Prop. 37 Support

Proposition 38: Molly Munger’s Tax Proposal

This second tax rate measure would increase the state income tax rates for most Californians on a sliding scale, resulting in projected increased revenues of about $10 billion a year, according to California Choices. Revenues would go to K-12 schools and early childhood programs, as well as some of the state’s debt. If voters pass both Propositions 30 and 38, the proposition with the most votes will pass. 

Click here for more information on Proposition 38.

Patch Articles on Proposition 38

  • Deciphering Propositions 30 and 38
  • Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support
  • California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measures

Proposition 39: Multistate Business Tax

According to California Choices, Prop. 39 would throw out an existing law allowing multistate businesses to choose a “tax liability formula that provides favorable tax treatment for businesses with property and payroll outside California.” Multistate businesses’ California income tax liability will be determined based on the percentage of their sales in California. Increased revenue is intended to fund energy efficiency projects and clean energy jobs.

Click here for more information on Proposition 39.

Patch Articles on Proposition 39

  • Prop. 39 Seeks to Close $1B Tax Loophole for Multi-State Corporations

Proposition 40: Redistricting

Prop. 40 is a referendum on the California State Senate redistricting plan approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. If the proposition does not pass, the districts will be determined by officials under the California Supreme Court.

Click here for more information on Proposition 40.

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gary simon November 03, 2012 at 06:22 PM
California already has very high taxes. It also has extremely high gasoline prices. Passage of Prop. 30 will raise gasoline prices by 11 cents per gallon. Instead of proposing 30, perhaps the Gov and our legislators should have done their job and made some tough decisions they were elected to make. Prop 30 is all about the failure of Sacramento!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AJ Willmer November 03, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Proposition 30 is about funding CA's public schools, which are are 47th in funding, among all states. CA was once prized for its education system, K-16. Vote yes on Prop 30 (and 38) if you care about our children's education. The Beverly Hills Unified School District will suffer as much as a $2 million 'take back' this school year if Prop 30 fails and up to a $6 million hit over this and the next two years. Quite frankly I am puzzled that our School Board and City Council have spent hours passing motions opposing Measure J and not one vote to support Propositions 30 and 38. Measure J's passage or failure effects us 10 year or more from now. The failure of 30 and 38 may decimate our schools this year.
Sean McCarthy November 06, 2012 at 12:17 AM
The Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce recommends the following votes: Prop 30 - Oppose, Prop 31 - Support, Prop 32 - Support, Prop 33 - Support, Prop 34 - No Position, Prop 35 - Support, Prop 36 - No Position, Prop 37 - Oppose, Prop 38 - Oppose, Prop 39 - Oppose, Prop 40 - No Position. LA Measures: A - Oppose, B - Oppose, J - Oppose, HH - Oppose, MM - Oppose. For more information go to: http://woodlandhills.patch.com/blog_posts/woodland-hills-tarzana-chamber-of-commerce-2012-voter-guide


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