SOPHIA HUA (Editor in Chief)
This year there are 12 propositions on the ballot and at least three may directly impact students if passed: Propositions 15, 16, and 18.
The first proposition which could impact students if passed is Prop. 15, which proposes to tax commercial and industrial properties based on their market value rather than their purchase value in order to generate more funding for schools. There would be exceptions for residential properties, small businesses, commercial agriculture and business owners who have less than $3 million in assets,
According to Ballotpedia, an additional $8 billion to $12.5 billion would be gained in state revenue if the proposition is carried out. This would be directed to the state government to cover decreases in revenue from deductions of personal and corporation taxes. Then, 60% of the remaining funds will be sent to local governments and the other 40% would be directed to community colleges, county education offices, public schools and charter schools.
A new requirement would also be added to ensure that every school receives at least $100 per student in funding.
As reported by Ballotpedia, proponents believe the proposition will provide necessary funding for students.
“Every single student in California will benefit from this measure, but particular importance is paid to underserved communities — additional funding will go toward low-income students, English-learners and foster youth,” Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, said.
However, opponents have concerns about the proposed taxes.
“We are going to have the largest tax increase in California history at exactly the wrong time in our economy to be able to afford it,” president of the California Business Roundtable Rob Lapsley said.
The second proposition which could impact students would be Proposition 16, which would reinstate Affirmative Action in California by repealing Proposition 209 from the California Constitution. Proposition 209 was passed in 1996 and banned discrimination or preferential treatment based on an individual’s race, sex, ethnicity or nationality.
If Prop. 16 is passed, then race and gender can be considered by government employers and public universities when selecting employees or students. Section 31 of Article I of the California Constitution, which states that California “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting” would be removed.
According to Ballotpedia, many proponents believe that Affirmative Action is necessary to provide equal opportunities and to combat racial and gender wage gaps.
“I support Prop. 16 because we need the racial diversity in our professional environments,” senior Chi Luc said. “In order to effectively mitigate the racial discrimination in our society, we must first overcome this hypersensitivity to racial issues by providing more opportunities for diversity in the workplace or schools.”
For higher education admissions, Supreme Court case University California v. Bakke (1978) ruled that the use of racial quotas are unconstitutional. However, race can still be one of the many factors involved in admissions.
“It makes little sense to exclude any consideration of race in admissions when the aim of the university’s holistic process is to fully understand and evaluate each applicant through multiple dimensions,” University of California President Janet Napolitano said.
On the other hand, many opponents believe that Affirmative Action is discriminatory because it would allow for preferential treatment on the basis of race and sex.
“We’re definitely going to take a hard look at [Prop. 16] and see whether it complies with the 14th Amendment, or whether it violates the constitutional principle of equality before the law,” Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Wen Fa said. “Racial preferences are wrong, no matter who they benefit.”
If passed, Prop. 16 would have no certain fiscal impacts on the state of California.
The third proposition which could impact students would be Proposition 18. If passed, this proposition would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections if they will be 18 by the time the general election occurs.
Many supporters of the proposition believe that teenagers whose 18th birthday falls between the primary and general elections are at a disadvantage because they cannot participate in the full election process.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Political Science, once individuals vote in an election, they are more likely to vote again in the future. Many proponents also argue that encouraging 17-year-olds to participate in the full election process could potentially help to build a habit of voting.
“By having a higher voter turnout… citizens have noticed that they can make a change and have a better community since, ultimately, [in] local elections, [the] popular vote counts,” junior Brian Kwong said. “By allowing more members to participate in our elections we will indefinitely benefit our community, states and nation.”
However, many opponents of the proposition believe that 17-year-olds are minors who are more likely to reflect their teachers’ or counselors’ thoughts rather than their own when voting. They also believe that 17-year-olds’ brains have not fully developed yet, which is reflected by the more limited restrictions on teenage drivers who are not yet eighteen.
Critics may also point to the increased costs for counties of up to $1 million every two years to send and process voting materials for 17-year-olds.
“Many tax increases and bond debt measures are decided on primary and special election ballots,” Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Jon Coupal said. “That’s why only adults should vote.”
As of Nov. 4, the Associated Press reports that 51.7% have voted no on Proposition 15, 56.4% have voted no on Proposition 16 and 55.1% have voted no on Proposition 18.