Californians voting in the November 2016 elections will be faced with a wide range of issues to decide. In addition to voting for federal, state, and local officials, voters will be asked to weigh in on 17 Statewide Ballot Initiatives plus a series of local ballot questions.

The Chamber of Commerce strongly encourages our members and their employees to exercise their rights to vote and to do so after fully examining the issues put forward and the arguments for and against the proposals.
In those cases where we believe that a particular item has the potential to do significant good or harm to local businesses and/or to the environment in which our businesses operate, the Chamber reserves the right to issue recommendations to members, their employees, and to the public in general who support a strong and vibrant local economy.

After reviewing the items that will appear on the November 2016 ballot, the Chamber’s Board of Directors has approved the recommendations outlined below.

Additional information about business perspectives on the ballot initiatives can be found HERE.

Good for Business:

Proposition 51 – School Bonds
This initiative authorizes the state to issue general obligation bonds to fund facility construction and upgrades for K-12 campuses, career-technical education facilities, charter schools, and community college campuses.

Proposition 52 – State Fees on Hospitals, Federal Medi-Cal Matching Funds
This measure makes a permanent a fee charged to hospitals to fund the state’s portion of Medi-Cal related expenses needed to be eligible for federal matching fees, rather than leaving the decision to periodic action by the legislature. It would also prohibit the state from using funds generated by this fee for any other purpose.

Proposition 54 – Legislative Transparency
The initiative requires all proposed new laws be published online in final form, viewable to the voters, for at least 72 hours before being voted on. The measure also requires that all legislative meetings be recorded and made freely available online within 24 hours.

Local Community School Bond Measures
G2016 – Orcutt Union School District Bond
H2016 – Santa Maria Joint Union High School
District Bond Measure
M2016 – Guadalupe Union School District Bond
N2016 – Guadalupe Union School District Bond
These measures would allow the school districts serving our community to issue bonds that will be used to make needed repairs and to build new and updated facilities on their various campuses. The bonds will also make the districts eligible for matching funds from the state to further improve facilities.

Bad for Business:

Proposition 53 – Revenue Bonds
This measure would require a state-wide vote every time a state or state-local partnership seeks to issue revenue bonds exceeding $2 billion to pay for infrastructure projects. The initiative would add unnecessary costs, bureaucracy, and delay to an approval process already bogged down with delays and bureaucracy. Potential projects that would be negatively impacted by this measure include transportation, local school construction, university/college construction, water systems, and emergency repairs following natural disaster. The measure would also erode local control by requiring statewide voter approval for local infrastructure projects.

Proposition 55 – Tax Extension on High Wealth Individuals
This item would extend, and make virtually permanent, temporary tax increases previously agreed to by Californians under Proposition 30. These taxes were supposed to be temporary while the state was in the midst of a financial crisis. The Chamber believes that this is not the time to extend the increases given the state’s growing fiscal reserves, the recent balanced budgets, and the fact that Proposition 30 doesn’t expire for another 2-plus years.

Proposition 61 – Prescription Drug Purchases, Pricing
This measure will increase what most Californians pay for health care premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs by shifting the cost of prescription drugs from government purchases to private payers, including employers. This item would create an artificial market cap for one group of purchases, shifting those costs to other payers in the system.