The California primaries will take place on June 5, and as you wade through page upon page of potential candidates for all manner of positions, be aware that there exist five ballot measures that could have immediate effect on everything from taxes to rain water collection.
Measure 68: Authorizes bonds funding parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection. If approved, $4 billion in “general obligation” bonds will be procured, adding an average of $200 million annually to bond repayment costs over 40 years while saving local governments “tens of millions of dollars” on natural resources-related projects.
The measure includes more than $1.2 billion to construct and improve local parks and would authorize $720 million toward procuring clean drinking water for communities, $550 million in flood protection and $200 toward preservation of the Salton Sea.
Measure 69: Requires that certain new transportation revenues be used for transportation purposes (constitutional amendment). If passed, the measure would require that revenues generated by the 2017 transportation funding law, known as SB-1, be used only for transportation purposes. It also prohibits the Legislature from diverting funds to other purposes.
This measure would amend the Constitution to require that funds raised by Senate Bill 1, which boosted gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, be used specifically for transportation purposes. The initiative was authored when the gas tax was approved.
Measure 70: Requires Legislative super-majority vote approving use of cap-and-trade reserve fund (constitutional amendment). Would require that a cap-and-trade revenue fund be created for use only by the Legislature if a two-thirds majority authorizes the use of said funds.
As it stands, 25 percent of the funds generated via the cap-and-trade program, which is meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions, are dedicated to the state’s high-speed rail project. The requirement would give Republicans in the Legislature more say in how the money is spent.
Measure 71: Sets the effective date for ballot measures (constitutional amendment). Assures that ballot measures approved by a majority of voters take effect five days after certification by the secretary of state.
As it currently stands, ballot measures that appear to be winning on Election Day via in-person voting become law the following day. This measure would change that to account for mail-in and absentee ballots, which can be counted up to three days following the vote. The secretary of state must certify an election no later than 38 days later.
Measure 72: Permits Legislature to exclude newly constructed rain-capture systems from property-tax reassessment requirement (constitutional amendment). Permits Legislature to allow construction of rain-capture systems on or after Jan. 1, 2019, without requiring a new property-tax assessment.
Supporters of the measure say that it would encourage homeowners to install rain-catching systems free from the cost of a property-tax increase and that such devices are beneficial to a state dealing with long-term drought.