Protect Prop 13, vote for Jordan Cunningham
October 1, 2016
OPINION by FRED C. HOEY
The outcome of the 35th Assembly District election this year is critical to the future wellbeing of all Californians. In January 2017, the State Senate will undoubtedly return to a Democratic super majority when the one vacant seat is filled, and a net gain of two seats in the Assembly for the Democrats would produce a super majority in that chamber as well.
Why is it important to prevent two super majorities from becoming a reality in the Legislature?
First, two super majorities will allow the majority party to pass legislation without any consideration for the minority party. This essentially disenfranchises all minority party voters whose voices are silenced as part of the legislative process.
Second, with super majorities there would be no countervailing opposition to the imposition of new or higher taxes on our citizens, there would be the danger of new limitations on our individual liberties, including speech, through new laws, and there would likely be the imposition of new burdensome regulations on California businesses, resulting in adverse impacts on jobs and economic growth.
However, one of the most harmful threats, should super majorities emerge, is the risk of changes to Proposition 13, which was passed overwhelmingly by California voters in 1978. It is likely that super majorities in both chambers would pass modifications to Proposition 13 to the long term detriment of our economy and to all California citizens, whether homeowners, renters, or businesses owners.
Voters who are too young to know the history of Proposition 13 need to understand that prior to 1978 real property taxes were on a continuous upward trajectory at a rate greater than inflation, with homeowners having no assurance that property tax increases would not ultimately price them out of their homes. Many retired people on fixed incomes were, in fact, forced to sell their homes due solely to property tax increases. Likewise renters faced rising rents due to rising taxes on landlords.
If Proposition 13 protections are removed from commercial properties, from which many small business owners operate, many of those business owners will face uncertainty as to the future viability of their businesses.
It is likely that the first changes to Proposition 13 would be to split the tax rolls between owner-occupied residential properties versus commercial properties and non-owner occupied properties. But once the bridge is crossed modifying Proposition 13 it will not stop there.
Public unions and liberal politicians will keep up the pressure for more modifications and in time damage will be done to the detriment of every property owner regardless of the type of property. Eventually it will be 1978 all over again because the appetite for revenue is always growing.
The risk to free speech is always present; just ask a college professor or student with unpopular views or opinions.
One near term risk is the imposition of the disclosure of the names of citizens who provide financial support for organizations who champion positions in opposition to liberal orthodoxy. While disclosure may sound appealing, the reality is that it would have a chilling effect on citizens who support opposing viewpoints.
We need to encourage debate on the merits of the issue not suppress views that may be in the minority or unpopular. Any actions by government that suppress speech are antithetical to the concepts of individual freedom and liberty upon which America was founded.
Our founding fathers did not contemplate one party rule, which does not work well in the long run regardless of party, as evidenced by their creation of a system of governance incorporating the separation of powers. For those of us on the central coast one way we can help guard against the risk of a super majority in the State Assembly is to vote for Jordan Cunningham.
Jordan is an individual of sound judgment and moderation as evidenced by the wide range of endorsements he has attracted. With his election we can ensure that we will all have an articulate moderating voice in Sacramento whose mission will be the protection of our interests including our liberties.
Fred C. Hoey is a retired bank executive who lives in Creston.