California is experiencing a housing crisis. The state’s extreme shortage of affordable housing has life and death consequences, especially for people with low incomes. Housing instability has been linked to public health crises, food insecurity, and developmental problems in children. Prop 1 will build and preserve affordable homes, including supportive housing, for veterans, working families, people with disabilities, Californians experiencing homelessness and others struggling to find a safe place to call home.
A quarter of the nation’s homeless reside in California--over 130,000 people. A significant percentage of our homeless population suffers from mental illness. Prop 2 allows the use of unspent money, originally allocated through a 2004 measure to fund mental health services, to be used to address the problem. If passed, the unspent money would be used to provide permanent supportive housing for people who need mental health services, and are either currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
It is essential that California manage and develop water resources in ways that benefit the environment, and that the environmental focus emphasizes both conservation and use-appropriate high water quality standards. However, this bond is not the way to accomplish those goals.
While the League of Women Voters of California supports the use of long-term debt (bond measures) to finance capital projects, this measure has a number of fatal flaws, including:
● Shifting the cost for water from the end users to California taxpayers;
While the League supports quality healthcare for all Californians, Prop 4 would use $1.5 billion in public, general obligation bond money to support privately-owned children’s hospitals, along with five children’s hospitals in the University of California system. State funds should not be used to support private facilities. This principle stands even when, as is the case in this measure, the facilities serve severely ill children. The bond money would be used for construction, expansion, renovation, and equipment projects.
Property taxes are the major source of funding for schools and local services. Prop 5 is a costly constitutional amendment that would reduce funds for schools and local services by $1 billion per year. In exchange for that $1 billion a year, Prop 5 would provide special tax benefits to some property owners. It does nothing to help low-income seniors, or families struggling to find housing. Seniors already have the ability to keep their tax break when they downsize. Prop 5 drains California’s coffers of money that is essential to schools and communities.
California is in critical need of highway and local street repairs and maintenance, and improvements to mass transit and transportation. Prop 6 would repeal the recently-enacted 2017 package of taxes and fees approved by the State Legislature to fund transportation projects, amounting to a loss of $4.7 billion in annual funding. The measure would also add a constitutional amendment requiring any fuel or diesel taxes to be approved by voters, limiting the legislature’s ability to address California’s serious infrastructure needs.
Multiple strategies are needed to address the significant housing shortages and inequities that exist across California. While this rent control measure offers little systemic progress, and may not result in adding new affordable housing units, it does allow local communities to respond to the housing crisis in ways that are appropriate for each of them. We support providing local communities with this control.
Where can I find non-partisan election information?
You can enter your address at www.VotersEdge.org/ca and get your entire ballot and polling place.