UC survives: Prop. 30 passes (fairly easily)

California’s Proposition 30 passes.

Proposition 30, the initiative that temporarily raises taxes so that—among other nice things—the schools won’t have to shutter themselves for a month and UC can remain a very good (though no longer great) university, has passed. In the end it wasn’t even all that close (pace a hand-wringing liberal blog post that seems to have been written before the results came in): 54-46.

Following the money: while more than 80 percent of donations in favor of the proposition came from inside the state, mostly unions, the vast majority of opposition came not from California businesses or random taxpayers but from one bazillionaire, Charles Munger Jr. (son of Warren Buffett’s business partner), along with out-of-state SuperPACs. If it weren’t for Munger, the SuperPACs would have represented a huge majority of the opposition cash. Revulsion against a last-minute, pathetically concealed and laundered, $11 million contribution from one such, Americans for Job Security, may ironically have tipped public opinion in favor of 30.

Author: Andrew Sabl

Andrew Sabl, a political theorist, is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics and Hume’s Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England, both from Princeton University Press. His research interests include political ethics, liberal and democratic theory, toleration, the work of David Hume, and the realist school of contemporary political thought. He is currently finishing a book for Harvard University Press titled The Uses of Hypocrisy: An Essay on Toleration. He divides his time between Toronto and Brooklyn.

12 thoughts on “UC survives: Prop. 30 passes (fairly easily)”

  1. Even better: the Dems took a 2/3 majority in the CA Assembly,
    and can now pass tax and spending legislation without any Republican votes
    if they stick together and show some backbone.

    Oh. Wait …

    Nevertheless, I’m hopeful that we’ve just seen CA turn a corner,
    and will begin to see the repair of our institutions of civil society and governance,
    our schools probably first and in particular.

  2. Andrew, I wish I could agree with you that Cali voters are savvy about outsiders who rain down buckets of cash. Why didn’t this bother them with Prop. 37?

    1. I voted against 37 because I felt it was anti-science on the health merits. I think there are plenty of legal and economic problems with GM food, but health isn’t one of them.

      1. I voted for prop 37 because the primary purpose of GM crops is to capture and lock producers into a dependent-customer relationship with Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, and their ilk.

        I hail from a farm state; few American corporations are as evil as Monsanto and Syngenta.

        Syngenta produces atrazine, a persistent herbicide, outlawed in Europe, that is known to be a hormone disruptor.
        Seventy-six million pounds of atrazine are applied to US farmland annually; significant residues are found in groundwater, drinking water, animals, and humans.

        As I cannot legally torch Syngenta corporate HQ, but I can legally vote against their interests in CA, I chose the latter course of action.

        1. I agree. The environmental effects are much much more of a problem. I’m reasonably sure that whatever I die of, it won’t be eating GMO foods, of which I trust I consume plenty.

          Ever since I realized that the fed gov let people put silicone and saline in women’s bodies, for no good reason (reconstruction aside), I don’t trust it with my safety anymore. I still find it bizarre that this is considered normal. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    2. I voted against Prop 37 because I don’t like the hysteria and anti-science sentiments that motivate its proponents, and I think that the problem could be as easily addressed with certified, regulated labeling of “GM-free” foods, rather than imposing some sort of shameful scarlet letter on products containing GM ingredients. This reinforced my anti-initiative bias (which is hardly insurmountable; I think I voted for nearly half the initiatives this time)

      I don’t receive commercial broadcast media in any quantity to speak of; I’m not saying I made the right decision, but it wasn’t influenced by ads.

      1. Well, I agree insofar as it would be great to have a Leg that could function. Maybe we’ll have one now.

        I’m worried though. We haven’t fixed our campaign finance system. Maybe now it will be even worse. Heaven only knows what the state Dems will do to CEQA. This could get ugly. I would’ve preferred to just get rid of Prop. 13. Sometimes Republicans are better on local control issues. Not often, but occasionally.

  3. Why did prop 30 pass? I thought prop 13 required a 2/3 vote to raise taxes (modified down to 55% for school measures a few years ago). The official state voter information guide doesn’t say how much each ballot measure needs.

    1. I thought that was a 2/3 vote of the legislature?

      Prop 13 didn’t pass with 2/3 of the vote (it came close); it would be a bit crazy if a ballot initiative could require future ballot initiatives to overcome a higher hurdle than it did itself.

      1. You’re right, it is crazy.

        There is a case that may come before the state Supreme Court on this very point, sort of. (Plaintiffs are arguing it is unfair to require a supermajority … but I’m not sure exactly what they’re basing the unfairness on. I haven’t tracked down the briefs yet. Plus I am supposed to be doing something else right now.) Looks like the Court is needing extra time to decide whether to hear it.

        Here is a link to the docket page, if you’re bored:


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