Prop 26: Requires That Certain State and Local Fees Be Approved by Two-Thirds Vote

Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures

52.4% YES
47.6% NO

Argument in Support of Proposition 26

YES ON PROPOSITION 26: STOP POLITICIANS FROM ENACTING HIDDEN TAXES

State and local politicians are using a loophole to impose Hidden Taxes on many products and services by calling them "fees" instead of taxes. Here's how it works:

At the State Level:

  • California's Constitution requires a two–thirds vote of the Legislature for new or increased taxes, but the politicians use a gimmick to get around this by calling their taxes "fees" so they can pass them with only a bare majority vote.

At the Local Level:

  • Most tax increases at the local level require voter approval. Local politicians have been calling taxes "fees" so they can bypass voters and raise taxes without voter permission—taking away your right to stop these Hidden Taxes at the ballot.

PROPOSITION 26 CLOSES THIS LOOPHOLE

Proposition 26 requires politicians to meet the same vote requirements to pass these Hidden Taxes as they must to raise other taxes, protecting California taxpayers and consumers by requiring these Hidden Taxes to be passed by a two–thirds vote of the Legislature and, at the local level, by public vote.

PROPOSITION 26 PROTECTS ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER REGULATIONS AND FEES

Don't be misled by opponents of Proposition 26. California has some of the strongest environmental and consumer protection laws in the country. Proposition 26 preserves those laws and PROTECTS LEGITIMATE FEES SUCH AS THOSE TO CLEAN UP ENVIRONMENTAL OR OCEAN DAMAGE, FUND NECESSARY CONSUMER REGULATIONS, OR PUNISH WRONGDOING, and for licenses for professional certification or driving.

DON'T LET THE POLITICIANS CIRCUMVENT OUR CONSTITUTION TO TAKE EVEN MORE MONEY FROM US

Politicians have proposed more than $10 billion in Hidden Taxes. Here are a few examples of things they could apply Hidden Taxes to unless we stop them:

  • Food
  • Cell Phones
  • Emergency Services
  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Toys
  • Insurance
  • Entertainment
  • Water
  • Beverages

PROPOSITION 26: HOLD POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE

"State politicians already raised taxes by $18 billion. Now, instead of controlling spending to address the budget deficit, they're using this gimmick to increase taxes even more! It's time for voters to STOP the politicians by passing Proposition 26."—Teresa Casazza, California Taxpayers' Association

Local politicians play tricks on voters by disguising taxes as "fees" so they don't have to ask voters for approval. They need to control spending, not use loopholes to raise taxes! It's time to hold them accountable for runaway spending and to stop Hidden Taxes at the local level.

YES ON PROPOSITION 26: PROTECT CALIFORNIA FAMILIES

California families and small businesses can't afford new and higher Hidden Taxes that will kill jobs and hurt families. When government increases Hidden Taxes, consumers and taxpayers pay increased costs on everyday items.

"The best way out of this recession is to grow the economy and create jobs, not increase taxes. Proposition 26 will send a message to politicians that it's time to clean up wasteful spending in Sacramento."—John Kabateck, National Federation of Independent Business/California

VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 26 TO STOP HIDDEN TAXES—www.No25Yes26.com

TERESA CASAZZA, President, California Taxpayers' Association
ALLAN ZAREMBERG, President, California Chamber of Commerce
JOEL FOX, President, Small Business Action Committee

Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

Rebuttal to Argument in Support of Proposition 26

Do you want corporations to write special protections into California's Constitution?

Should California protect polluters at the expense of public safety?

That's what Prop. 26 is: big oil, tobacco, and alcohol companies want taxpayers to pay for cleaning their mess. As a result, local police and fire departments will have fewer resources to keep us safe.

The claim that Prop. 26 won't harm consumers and the environment is false. Corporations are spending millions misleading voters into thinking that the payments made by companies that pollute or harm public health are "hidden taxes." The campaign's own website cited "Oil severance fee to mitigate oil spill clean up, and build larger response and enforcement capabilities" as a hidden tax.

Here are some other fees they don't want to pay—listed in their own documents:

  • Fees on polluters to clean up hazardous waste
  • Fees on oil companies for oil spill cleanup
  • Fees on tobacco companies for the adverse health effects of tobacco products.

PROPOSITION 26 IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC SAFETY, & TAXPAYERS.

The California Professional Firefighters, League of Women Voters of California, California Nurses Association, Sierra Club, Planning & Conservation League, Californians Against Waste, and California Tax Reform Association all oppose 26 because it would force ordinary citizens to pay for the damage done by polluters.

Californians can't afford to clean up polluters' messes when local governments are cutting essential services like police and fire departments.

WE NEED TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC, NOT POLLUTERS!

VOTE NO on 26.

RON COTTINGHAM, President, Peace Officers Research Association of California
WARNER CHABOT, Chief Executive Officer, California League of Conservation Voters
PATTY VELEZ, President, California Association of Professional Scientists

Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

Argument Against Proposition 26

Should polluters be protected from paying to clean up the damage they do?

Should taxpayers foot the bill instead?

The answer is NO, and that's why voters should reject Proposition 26, the Polluter Protection Act.

Who put Prop. 26 on the ballot? Oil, tobacco, and alcohol companies provided virtually all the funding for this measure, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Phillip Morris.

Their goal: to shift the burden of paying for the damage these companies have done onto the taxpayers.

How does this work? Prop. 26 redefines payments for harm to the environment or public health as tax increases, requiring a 2/3 vote for passage.

Such payments, or pollution fees on public nuisances, would become much harder to enact—leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. California has enough problems without forcing taxpayers to pay for cleaning up after polluting corporations.

Companies that pollute, harm the public health, or create a public nuisance should be required to pay to cover the damage they cause.

But the big oil, tobacco, and alcohol corporations want you, the taxpayer, to pay for cleaning up their messes. That's why these corporations wrote Proposition 26 behind closed doors, with zero public input, and why they put up millions of dollars to get Proposition 26 on the ballot.

Proposition 26 is just another attempt by corporations to protect themselves at the expense of ordinary citizens. The problem isn't taxes "hidden" as fees; it's the oil and tobacco companies hiding their true motives:

  • Polluters don't want to pay fees used to clean up hazardous waste.
  • Oil companies don't want to pay fees used for cleaning up oil spills and fighting air pollution.
  • Tobacco companies don't want to pay fees used for addressing the adverse health effects of tobacco products.
  • Alcohol companies don't want to pay fees used for police protection in neighborhoods and programs to prevent underage drinking.

One of the so-called "hidden taxes" identified by the Proposition 26 campaign is a fee that oil companies pay in order to cover the cost of oil spill clean-up, like the one in the Gulf. The oil companies should be responsible for the mess they create, not the taxpayers.

Proposition 26 will harm local public safety and health, by requiring expensive litigation and endless elections in order for local government to provide basic services. Fees on those who do harm should cover such costs as policing public nuisances or repairing damaged roads.

The funds raised by these fees are used by state and local governments for essential programs like fighting air pollution, cleaning up environmental disasters and monitoring hazardous waste. They require corporations such as tobacco companies to pay for the harm they cause.

If Proposition 26 passes, these costs would have to be paid for by the taxpayers.

DON'T PROTECT POLLUTERS. Join California Professional Firefighters, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Conservation Voters, California Nurses Association, Consumer Federation of California, and California Alliance for Retired Americans, and vote NO on 26.

www.stoppolluterprotection.com

JANIS R. HIROHAMA, President, League of Women Voters of California
JANE WARNER, President, American Lung Association in California
BILL MAGAVERN, Director, Sierra Club California

Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

Rebuttal to Argument Against Proposition 26

Proposition 26 fixes a loophole that allows politicians to impose new taxes on businesses and consumers by falsely calling them "fees".

Proposition 26 stops politicians from increasing Hidden Taxes on food, water, cell phones and even emergency services—BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN HIGHER COSTS THAT CONSUMERS WILL PAY, NOT BIG CORPORATIONS.

Politicians and special interests oppose Prop. 26 because they want to take more money from working California families by putting "fees" on everything they can think of. Their interest is simple—more taxpayer money for the politicians to waste, including on lavish public pensions.

Here are the facts:

Prop. 26 protects legitimate fees and WON'T ELIMINATE OR PHASE OUT ANY OF CALIFORNIA'S ENVIRONMENTAL OR CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS, including:

  • Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act—Hazardous Substance Control Laws
  • California Clean Air Act
  • California Water Quality Control Act
  • Laws regulating licensing and oversight of Contractors, Attorneys and Doctors

"Proposition 26 doesn't change or undermine a single law protecting our air, ocean, waterways or forests—it simply stops the runaway fees politicians pass to fund ineffective programs."—Ryan Broddrick, former Director, Department of Fish and Game

Here's what Prop. 26 really does:

  • Requires a TWO–THIRDS VOTE OF THE LEGISLATURE FOR PASSING STATEWIDE HIDDEN TAXES disguised as fees, just like the Constitution requires for regular tax increases.
  • Requires a POPULAR VOTE TO PASS LOCAL HIDDEN TAXES disguised as fees, just like the Constitution requires for most other local tax increases.

YES on 26—Stop Hidden Taxes. Preserve our Environmental Protection Laws.

www.No25Yes26.com

JOHN DUNLAP, Former Chairman, California Air Resources Board
MANUEL CUNHA, JR., President, Nisei Farmers League
JULIAN CANETE, Chairman, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

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