Los Angeles Times Examines November Statewide Ballot, Including Health-Related Initiatives
The Los Angeles Times on Monday examined the upcoming Nov. 2 statewide ballot -- "one of the longest and most complicated" since the state adopted the ballot initiative process in 1911 -- which will feature five health-related initiatives that will put Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) "on the defensive to protect his political fortune and leav[e] voters to sort out a patchwork of ideas." On a ballot compiled by "interest groups and angry corporations, Schwarzenegger consultants and the governor himself," Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on four of the five health-related initiatives, the Times reports (Salladay/Mathews, Los Angeles Times, 9/13). Summaries of those ballot measures appear below.
- Proposition 61, a $750 million measure that would pay for construction, expansion and equipment for children's hospitals. Including interest, the program would cost about $1.5 billion over 30 years;
- Proposition 63, a measure that would increase by 1% the state personal income tax on individuals whose annual incomes exceed $1 million to finance an expansion of mental health services. The measure would raise an estimated $700 million annually to care for people with severe mental illnesses;
- Proposition 67, an initiative that would add a 3% surcharge to residential telephone bills to fund hospital emergency services and training. The initiative, which would not include cellular or business lines, would generate an estimated $550 million annually to fund emergency department services; and
- Proposition 71, an initiative that would raise an average of $295 million annually for a decade to promote stem cell research through the issue of state bonds. The measure would provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (California Healthline, 7/6).
A Schwarzenegger adviser said, "What he really stands for in a highly visible way will be very clear. You don't want to spread yourself too thin."
The governor on Friday announced that he would recommend voters vote "no" on Proposition 72, a referendum that allows voters to reject or uphold a law (SB 2) scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, that will require some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage. Schwarzenegger on Friday also announced his support for Proposition 64, which would limit an individual's right to sue businesses for injuries (Los Angeles Times, 9/13).
Additional information on Propositions 61, 63, 67, 71 and 72 is available online.