City on a Hill Press Elections Guide: Spring 2009
Band-Aid Proposals or Crafty Solutions?
By Arianna Puopolo
City on a Hill Press Editor
Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger introduced six ballot measures to the California legislature in an effort to remedy California’s budget deficit. The UC Regents voted to endorse the propositions, but groups like the League of Women Voters and the Council of University of California Faculty Associations oppose one or more of them. Many argue that these propositions are shortsighted “Band-Aids” for the budget, while proponents say these measures are necessary to remedy the crisis. Chancellor George Blumenthal and others have even suggested that, were these propositions not to pass, the UC will face even more cuts come fall. City on a Hill Press believes in the importance of student voice, so we’ve provided you with some basic information about each election item. No matter how you vote next Tuesday, what’s important is that you vote.
Pro: Increases size of state “rainy day” fund from 5 percent to 12.5 percent of the General Fund. Limits spending.
Con: It would amend the California Constitution to dictate restrictions on the use of funds put into the reserve and limit how “unanticipated” revenues can be used in good years. It could lock in a reduced level of public services by not taking proper account of the state’s changing demographics and actual growth in costs.
Pro: Requires supplemental payments to local school districts and community colleges to address recent budget cuts. This funding is intended to address uncertainty about what the Proposition 98 school funding guarantee requires.
Con: Proposition 1A must pass in order for 1B to be effective.
Pro: Allows the state lottery to be modernized. Increased lottery revenues will be used to address the current budget deficit and reduce the need for additional tax increases and cuts to state programs.
Con: Allows the state to issue $5 billion in bonds that are “securitized” by future lottery profits. The lottery would no longer be a source of revenue for education, and the state General Fund would be required to make up for the loss to education of lottery funds.
Pro: Redirects existing tobacco tax money to protect health and human services for children, including services for at-risk families, services for children with disabilities, and services for foster children.
Con: Redirects tobacco tax funds reserved for “First 5” early childhood programs to the state General Fund. $608 million would be diverted in 2009-10 and $268 million a year for the following four years, creating the illusion that more revenues are available. Prop 1D raids these funds in the short term in order to pay for some services, while taking funding away from other services.
Pro: Amends Mental Health Services Act to transfer funds, for a two-year period, from mental health programs under that act to pay for mental health services for children and young adults provided through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program.
Con: For the next two years, Proposition 1E would redirect about $230 million a year from the Mental Health Services Act to the state General Fund to replace state funding for an existing screening, diagnosis and treatment program. As with Prop. 1D, it raids existing programs to create temporary “savings,” but makes less money available for some services.
Pro: Encourages balanced state budgets by preventing elected members of the legislature and statewide constitutional officers, including the governor, from receiving pay raises in years when the state is running a deficit.
Con: Unproductive. Punishes legislators without providing a solution.
Spring Election Time is Here
By City on a Hill Press Staff
Between May 13 and May 20, UCSC students can exercise their right to vote on four meausres in the school’s annual elections. Here’s a look at those initiatives.
Measure 38: Amend the Renewable Energy Fee passed in Spring 2006
A “yes” vote on Measure 38 acts as a renewal of Measure 28, passed in 2006. Measure 28 generated approximately $135,000 annually that went toward renewable energy certificates designed to offset the campus’s electricity purchases. Passage of Measure 38 will not implement a new fee, but instead will continue the existing $3 per student, per quarter fee instated via Measure 28. The money collected through the fee ultimately goes toward creating on-site renewable energy sources at UCSC in addition to providing funding for other energy-efficient and energy-saving projects on this campus.
Measure 39: Provide funding for the Sustainable Food, Health and Wellness Initiative
The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) proposed Measure 39 to fund a variety of programs, publications and staff all meant to educate the UC Santa Cruz community about sustainable food systems. Passing the measure would instate a $3.75 per quarter, per student fee, starting in fall 2009. This money would support on-campus efforts to provide healthier food in dining halls, experiential learning programs on the campus farms and gardens and community events like the Fall Harvest Festival.
Measure 40: Provide funding to increase OPERS facility hours by two hours each day
A “yes” vote on Measure 40 would approve a two-hour extension of access to OPERS facilities. If passed, the measure will add a permanent $2.25 fee per student, per quarter. The fee and extended hours would take effect in fall 2009 and would apply to all portions of the OPERS facility, including the Wellness Center, tennis courts, dance studio, pool, racquetball courts, gym and martial arts room. This ballot measure comes in reaction to a recent budget-induced decrease in hours at OPERS facilities, which are currently open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. If this measure passes, the new hours at the OPERS facility will be determined based on input from students and the OPERS Advisory Committee.
Measure 41: Provide continued support and funding for Sustainability Office
Measure 41 proposes a fee of $3.75 per quarter, per student, which would help fund the UCSC Sustainability Office. Created as a pilot program in 2007, the Sustainability Office has completed projects such as the Campus Sustainability Assessment, which gives a baseline measurement of UCSC’s ecological footprint and provides recommendations for areas in which the campus can improve. If passed, the funding derived from Measure 41 would allow the office to continue its operations and would provide a salary for the office’s Sustainability Coordinator position.