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Law Office Management

May 2, 2006

[Legislation Watch] Bound for the ballot?

Initiative ideas line up for a place on the November ballot

By Malaika Costello-Dougherty
      Although it's understandable that political attention is focused right now on the initiative that will appear on the California ballot next month to increase taxes on the very wealthy to fund one year of preschool for all the state's children, about 50 ballot initiative proposals are already vying for a place on the November ballot. Not all of them will make it, of course. In fact, if past elections are any guide, only about one in five will get enough signatures to qualify, and only a fraction of those will win voter approval. But those odds don't seem to deter proponents. Here are some of the more interesting, although not necessarily winnable, ideas out there:
      The California Responsible Consumers of Alcoholic Beverages Statute
      Makes it legal for parents or guardians to serve their minor children alcohol in any nonpublic environment. It also allows for transportation of closed, partially consumed alcohol bottles and prohibits the state from keeping confiscated alcoholic beverages.
      The Self-Defense Initiative
      Amends the California Constitution by adding a personal right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, and home.
      3California State Holiday for Election Day
      Designates statewide election days as holidays on which public schools and community colleges would be closed. It also specifies that public employees may be entitled to a paid holiday pursuant to collective bargaining agreements.
      The McCauley-Rooker Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act
      Establishes a one-time wealth tax of up to 45 percent on individuals whose net worth exceeds $40 million as of January 1, 2007, which, according to the legislative analyst's office (LAO) would increase state revenues by as much as $200 billion by 2009. However, the initiative also calls for a reduction of the corporate tax rate from 8.84 percent to 4 percent. Combined with tax credits for teacher pay, public college tuition, property taxes, and health insurance, the measure would reduce state revenues by tens of billions of dollars annually, eventually canceling out the gains from the wealth tax, according to the LAO.
      The Clean Alternative Energy Act
      Creates a program aimed at enhancing California's energy independence by reducing by 25 percent the amount of petroleum transportation fuels that California uses. Funding for new alternative energy programs would come from the state's oil producers, which would pay an additional tax of 1.5 percent to 6 percent on the price per barrel of oil, generating between $200 million and $380 million annually.

Jeanie Liun

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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