Business & Real Estate

A guide to weighing the ballot propositions this election

Californians have 12 propositions to vote on in Tuesday’s election, with issues ranging from affirmative action to rent control. The future of Uber and Lyft could be decided, as well as property-tax rates on certain buildings. With so much at stake during a jam-packed election season, following is an overview of the propositions on the ballot.

Proposition 14
A “yes” vote would commit $5.5 billion in funding through general obligation bonds to the state’s stem cell research agency – the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) – with some funding going toward research for treatment of brain and nervous system diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Park-

A “no” vote would not commit the funding.

Why now? In 2004, California voters approved a $3 billion measure to create the institute. But its budget has been dwindling, and last year CIRM had to suspend applications for new projects.

Town Crier File Photo
Proposition 15 would levy property taxes on commercial properties worth more than $3 million based on market value rather than purchase price.

Proposition 15
A “yes” vote would levy property taxes on commercial properties worth more than $3 million based on market value rather than purchase price, implementing a higher tax rate for larger businesses and corporations. The money would go toward local governments and schools. The change would not affect homeowners.

A “no vote” would not institute the amendment, keeping property-tax rates based on purchase price rather than market value.

Why now? Since 1978, when California voters passed Proposition 13, property owners have had to pay taxes based on purchase price. But with rising real estate values over the past few decades – leading to a higher tax rate for some newer businesses – and dwindling local budgets due to the pandemic, petitioners have asked for a partial repeal of Proposition 13.

Proposition 16
A “yes” vote would reinstate affirmative action in California by repealing Proposition 209, which made it illegal for government or public institutions to use race, sex, ethnicity or national origin in hiring or admissions practices. The regulation would apply only to areas involving public employment, contracting and education.

A “no” vote would maintain Proposition 209 and the ban on using race, sex, ethnicity or national origin in hiring or admissions practices for public institutions.

Why now? The California State Legislature placed Proposition 16 on the ballot in late June, after nationwide protests supporting racial equality in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

Proposition 17
A “yes” vote would allow those on parole for felony convictions to vote and run for office.

A “no” vote would continue to ban those on parole from voting and running for office.

Why now? The State Legislature has been progressive in pushing for voting rights for those convicted of crimes and narrowly voted to place Proposition 17 on the ballot this year.

Proposition 18
A “yes” vote would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary and special elections if they will turn 18 by the time of the next general election.

A “no” vote would not allow the amendment.

Why now? The State Legislature voted to place Proposition 18 on the ballot.

Proposition 19
A “yes” vote would allow Californians over the age of 55 to pay lower property taxes if they move into a new house with an equal or more expensive value, and increase property taxes for children who inherit their parents’ homes.

A “no” vote would not allow the amendments, meaning older Californians would not be able to transfer additional tax assessments, and tax assessments being transferred from parents to children would remain permissible.

Why now? The State Legislature voted to place Proposition 19 on the ballot. The proposition is receiving major sponsorship from the California Association of Realtors.

Proposition 20
A “yes” vote would allow prosecutors to classify certain theft and fraud crimes as felonies rather than misdemeanors, and restrict parole for an additional number of felonies.

A “no” vote would oppose the initiative.

Why now? Petitioners placed the initiative on the ballot to push back against recent propositions passed that reclassified certain felonies as misdemeanors and allowed more inmates to be eligible for early release.

Proposition 21
A “yes” vote would allow local jurisdictions to enact rent control measures on units more than 15 years old.

A “no” vote would maintain the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act passed in 1995, which prohibited cities from enacting rent control measures.

Why now? A measure that would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act wholesale failed decisively in 2018. Proposition 21, placed on the ballot by petition, would be a partial repeal.

Proposition 22
A “yes” vote would classify rideshare and delivery drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft as independent contractors rather than employees.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The hotly contested Proposition 22 would classify rideshare and delivery drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft as independent contractors rather than employees.

A “no” vote would not exempt companies such as Uber and Lyft from Assembly Bill 5, which has specific regulations regarding whether such drivers should be treated as employees or independent contractors.

Why now? In perhaps the most hotly contested measure on the ballot, Proposition 22 will settle a lengthy dispute between Uber and Lyft and California legislators. The companies have threatened to shut down if they have to comply with AB 5, which classifies some drivers as employees.

Proposition 23
A “yes” vote would set specific regulations on kidney dialysis clinics, such as requiring at least one physician present during all operating hours.

A “no” vote would not enact such regulations.

Why now? A labor union, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, helped garner enough signatures to place Proposition 23 on the ballot. A similar measure failed two years ago.

Proposition 24
A “yes” vote would expand California’s data privacy law, including a provision that would let consumers tell businesses to desist from sharing personal information.

A “no” vote would not expand California’s data privacy law.

Why now? After pushing through a landmark data privacy law two years ago in the state, Bay Area real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart is asking for even more stringent regulations on tech companies.

Proposition 25
A “yes” vote would make California the first state to replace cash bail, instead assessing a person’s risk for not appearing at trial to determine whether or not they should be released.

A “no” vote would keep in place the cash bail system.

Why now? Senate Bill 10, passed in 2018 and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, would have implemented the initiative. But the law underwent a veto referendum and was placed on the

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