San Francisco Chronicle Examines Measures on Nov. 2 Ballot, Including Health-Related Measures
The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday examined measures on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot, including five health-related measures (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/27). Summaries of the health-related ballot measures are provided 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;
- 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; and
- Proposition 72, an initiative that allows state residents to vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal SB 2, a state law 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 (California Healthline, 9/13).
Darry Sragow, a Democratic political consultant, said that the number of initiatives included on the November statewide ballot may make it more difficult for some to pass. California residents "love the fact that propositions exist, since it is the closest thing to direct democracy," Sragow said, adding, "But they are inherently suspicious of them because they believe they are usually not getting the full story."
Bruce Cain, director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, said, "There are a lot of important measures but no political blockbusters that generate huge turnout." He said that supporters and opponents of the measures could spend more than $100 million on campaigns this fall (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/27).
Additional information on Propositions 61, 63, 67, 71 and 72 is available online.