California General Election - Official Voter Information Guide
United States Flag
   
Title and Summary Analysis Arguments and Rebuttals Text of Proposed Law

PROP 89

POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS.  PUBLIC FINANCING.
CORPORATE TAX INCREASE. CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURE LIMITS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF PROPOSITION 89 ARGUMENT AGAINST PROPOSITION 89

VOTE YES TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST THE POWER OF SPECIAL INTERESTS AND LOBBYISTS IN CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT.

VOTE “YES” ON PROPOSITION 89, THE CLEAN MONEY AND FAIR ELECTIONS ACT


We have a crisis of corruption in our government marked by scandal after scandal and criminal investigations of politicians from both parties. It is time for Californians to clean up this corruption and make politicians accountable to voters instead of big money campaign contributors.

THE PROBLEM

Right now, special interests like big oil companies, the drug giants, the insurance industry, and HMOs can get their way in Sacramento by donating millions to elect politicians who will owe them favors. Lobbyists and special interests use campaign contributions to pass their pork barrel projects and create tax loopholes—costing consumers and taxpayers like you billions of dollars each year.

THE SOLUTION: PROPOSITION 89

If you’re dissatisfied with the way campaigns are funded in California and the effect of campaign contributions on state government, Vote Yes on Prop. 89.

YOUR “YES” VOTE WILL:

  1. Help level the playing field and make our elections more fair and competitive—so that candidates with the best ideas have a chance to win, even if they are not rich or well connected to wealthy special interest groups and lobbyists.

  2. Require candidates to adhere to strict spending limits and reject special interest contributions in order to qualify for public financing.

  3. Ban contributions to candidates by lobbyists and state contractors.

  4. Set limits on outside, so-called “independent” campaign committees created by big contributors to influence elections.

  5. Limit to $10,000 the amount corporations can spend directly on ballot measure campaigns.
  6. Restrict contributions by corporations, unions, and individuals to $500 for candidates for state Legislature, $1,000 to candidates for statewide office.

  7. Establish tough penalties, including jail time and removing candidates from office who break the law.
NOT FUNDED BY INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS OR THE STATE BUDGET

Proposition 89 is specifically funded by a modest increase in the corporate income tax rate—raising it from 8.84% to 9.04%. The resulting corporate income tax rate would still be less than it was from 1980 until 1996. Corporations should pay their fair share in taxes.

WHEN YOU HEAR THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROPOSITION 89, REMEMBER:
  • Opposition to Proposition 89 is being led and funded by the big oil companies, drug companies, the insurance industry, HMOs, and other entrenched interests.

  • Proposition 89 was drafted and reviewed by experts in constitutional and election law and put on the ballot and backed by Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters.

  • The opponents of Proposition 89 want to keep the system exactly the way it is, because they know it works for them, NOT for you. They are making false claims against Proposition 89 because they want to keep political power for themselves rather than having fair elections that make politicians accountable to the voters.
VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 89! RETURN ELECTIONS TO THE VOTERS AND REDUCE THE POWER OF THE SPECIAL INTERESTS.

DEBORAH BURGER, RN, President
California Nurses Association

HARVEY ROSENFIELD, Founder
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights

SUSAN LERNER, Executive Director
California Clean Money Campaign


REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR
OF PROPOSITION 89

Here’s what you should know before voting:

PROPOSITION 89 IS A TAX INCREASE TO PAY FOR POLITICIANS’ NEGATIVE POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

The supporters of Proposition 89 won’t tell you that what this measure really does, plain and simple, is raise taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars so politicians can run their campaigns at taxpayers’ expense.

Everything we don’t like about political campaigns— negative television ads and junk mail in our mailboxes— would still be there. The only difference is OUR TAX DOLLARS would be paying for it.

AFFECTS SMALL BUSINESSES TOO

They claim that Proposition 89 is about reducing the impact of big corporations in elections, but it also SEVERELY LIMITS the ability of many small businesses from backing candidates or impacting measures.

That’s why the California Small Business Association opposes Prop. 89.

PROP. 89 IS COMPLICATED AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL

They say Prop. 89 was crafted by election experts, but they don’t tell you that major portions of a similar measure were recently thrown out by the Supreme Court. The truth—Prop. 89 is a complicated, 55-page measure that won’t work.

PROP. 89 IS UNFAIR

And the biggest deception of all—the authors of Proposition 89 are special interests too! They wrote Prop. 89 so they can still contribute BIG MONEY to ballot initiatives, while small businesses, nonprofits, and others are virtually SHUT OUT. Prop. 89 is a power grab by a single special interest to dominate elections under the guise of campaign reform.

DON’T BE FOOLED BY PROP. 89—IT’S PHONY REFORM.

VOTE NO ON PROP. 89.

LARRY McCARTHY, President
California Taxpayers’ Association

BETTY JO TOCCOLI, Chair
California Small Business Roundtable

JAMES M. HALL, Former Chair
California Fair Political Practices Commission

Don’t be fooled by Proposition 89. Prop. 89 is NOT about cleaning up politics. But, it is 56 pages of new, complicated, confusing election rules that won’t work.

Proposition 89 was put on the ballot by a single special interest group, the California Nurses Association, that wants an UNFAIR advantage in California elections while small businesses and individuals are effectively SHUT OUT of the political process. Even other labor organizations like those representing teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement do not support Proposition 89, because it RESTRICTS their participation in the political process as well.

PROPOSITION 89: NOT JUST ABOUT BIG CORPORATIONS.

The authors of Prop. 89 say they are trying to stop big corporations from having too much influence. But, Proposition 89 restricts many small businesses from backing candidates or supporting and opposing initiatives. Even a mom-and-pop business, if it is incorporated like many are, is restricted under Prop. 89.

Proposition 89 also restricts many nonprofit groups that want to educate voters about the issues they care about. For example, a group of crime victim advocates will be limited in warning voters about a candidate who is soft on crime. Teachers will be limited in helping elect candidates who will support improving our schools.

PROPOSITION 89: INCREASES TAXES TO PAY FOR NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNS.

California has many urgent priorities to get our state back on the right track.

Proposition 89 contains a $200 MILLION TAX INCREASE and gives that money to politicians to spend on their negative TV ads and junk mail.

Proposition 89 places virtually no limits on how the politicians spend their taxpayer-financed campaign funds. It means that we, the taxpayers, will be paying for their negative ads!

PROPOSITION 89: WON’T STOP WEALTHY CANDIDATES.

Proposition 89 puts no limits on wealthy candidates who try to buy California elections.

Under Proposition 89, a politician using taxpayer funds and running against a wealthy candidate can get up to ten times the normal taxpayer money to run his campaign. A candidate for Governor could qualify for up to $200 million of taxpayer money to run his or her campaign.

PROPOSITION 89: IT’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

James Hall, past Chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, says:

“Proposition 89 is unconstitutional, unfair, and won’t work.”

Supporters of 89 say it is modeled after measures in other states. But, the United States Supreme Court recently found the contribution and expenditure limits in a similar measure from Vermont unconstitutional because they limit free speech and violate the First Amendment.

PROPOSITION 89: WE ALREADY HAVE CAMPAIGN LIMITS.

Californians have already passed a campaign finance reform law, Proposition 34, which strictly limits contributions to candidates. This law has survived several court challenges and is working. We don’t need Prop. 89.

SAY NO to PROPOSITION 89!

Proposition 89 is unfair to small businesses, nonprofits, and groups representing working Californians. It is a waste of our precious tax dollars, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s just another confusing measure that won’t work. Please join small businesses, taxpayers, educators, organized labor, and so many others in voting NO on Proposition 89.

ALLAN ZAREMBERG, President
California Chamber of Commerce

TONY QUINN, Former Commissioner
California Fair Political Practices Commission

LARRY McCARTHY, President
California Taxpayers’ Association


REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST
PROPOSITION 89

Elections should be decided by voters, not special interests. Elections should be about the best ideas, not who has the most money. Vote YES on Proposition 89 for fair and clean elections.

Proposition 89:

• Levels the playing field and makes our elections fairer and more competitive. Advocates for crime victims, education, healthcare, seniors, and other regular Californians will no longer be drowned out by big campaign spenders.

• Saves taxpayers money by ending the incentive for legislative giveaways on lobbyist-driven projects. The $3.3 billion in corporate tax loopholes today cost each California household $275 every year.

• Provides the antidote to negative advertising. Candidates who accept public financing must participate in real debates and cannot hide behind negative 30-second ads.

• Does not increase taxes on individuals. Small businesses will not foot the bill.

• Creates a Clean Money public financing system like those in other states that protects free speech and has been proven to be effective and constitutional.

• Opens our elections to a diversity of qualified candidates from all walks of life, like teachers, nurses, and firefighters, not just those with access to the most money.

• Sets tough penalties for those who violate the law.

The special interests oppose Prop. 89 because they like the control they have over our political system today. As a Los Angeles Times headline said, “Prop. 89: So Good It’s Scary—to Sacramento.”

It is time to put the voters back in charge. VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 89.

JACQUELINE JACOBBERGER, President League of Women Voters of California

RICHARD L. HASEN, JD, Ph.D., Constitutional Election Law Professor

KATHAY FENG, Executive Director
California Common Cause


Back to the top