It is election season and that means Californians once again face a daunting package of ballot questions on difficult public policy issues. This year’s initiatives cover a wide range of topics including taxes, campaign contributions, criminal justice, budget reform, food labeling and much more. As has been the case in years past, the ballot measures are not always as straightforward as they first appear. Some are grounded on questionable assumptions and value judgments. Others, despite admirable motivations, would nevertheless lead to unintended or unforeseeable adverse consequences. Some of these initiatives would empower the government to restrict individual freedom and choice in the name of uncertain benefits. And several would further burden California taxpayers by dramatically expanding the size and scope of state government.
California’s unemployment rate is at 10.7 percent (as of July data), and the current state budget is already billions in the red due to shortfalls in tax collections. Voters are going to have to look seriously at the choices these initiatives represent.
The nonprofit and nonpartisan Reason Foundation evaluated the 11 initiatives on this year’s ballot. We provide a "plain English" summary of the arguments for and against each proposition, some information on supporters and opponents and funding of the campaigns, and some discussion of what Reason judges voters should think about when deciding on each proposition.
Here, in brief, is the free minds and free markets perspective on each proposition.