Spending Measures on Ballot Face Challenges
Some election watchers are voicing skepticism that voters will approve bond measures and initiatives to raise state taxes for various purposes, including health care, the Los Angeles Times reports.
An initiative to increase the state tobacco tax by $2.60 per pack of cigarettes to fund health care programs and research is among the measures to be included on the November ballot. Major tobacco companies have begun developing campaigns opposing the measure, and the Times reports that the companies are expected to spend "tens of millions of dollars" on the campaign.
Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce, anticipates a sizable campaign against a measure sponsored by the California Nurses Association that would publicly finance state election campaigns. The initiative would restrict to $10,000 corporate donations to ballot measure campaigns (Salladay, Los Angeles Times, 6/29). It also would limit annual campaign donations by corporations, unions and individuals for legislative and statewide elections (California Healthline, 6/28).
According to the Times, advertisements by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the California Republican Party that are critical of tax increases proposed by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides might reduce the likelihood of the measures being approved. Further raising questions about the spending measures' chances at approval, a measure to require parental notification before an abortion for an unmarried minor is expected to drive high turnout among conservative voters, a group that traditionally opposes large-scale government spending projects.
David McCuan, a political science professor at Sonoma State University and an expert on ballot initiatives, said he expects voters to reject all of the measures to increase state taxes, and possibly infrastructure bond measures Schwarzenegger and the Legislature placed on the ballot, because voters tend to reject government spending projects to express frustration with politicians (Los Angeles Times, 6/29).