May 25, 2019
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Understanding the propositions

In addition to choosing presidential candidates, voters this Tuesday will have to decide on a variety of propositions. Gas, community colleges and Indian casinos are all on the ballot. The following guide explains current law, and what would change with a “yes” vote on each proposition.

Prop. 91: Transportation

The Way Things Are: Gasoline has an additional sales tax at the pump that goes towards road improvement. The money goes into the general fund and the state has the power to stop its transfer to road improvement.

What Would Change: Proposition 91 seeks to stop the state from blocking this transfer, so that the money automatically goes towards road improvement.

Proposition 91 also allows the government to take money from county and city transportation funds and “loan” it to the general fund without a deadline for repayment. The state can currently do these loans, but has to pay them back within three years.

Prop. 92: Funding community colleges

The Way Things Are: There is not a formal definition of community colleges in the state. They are grouped together with K-12 education when funding is determined.

Student fees are set at $20 a unit, and can be raised by a majority vote in the state legislature.

What Would Change: Proposition 92 would create a separate category in the state for community colleges, both for funding and governing purposes. It would also cut fees to $15 a unit and require a two-thirds vote in the state legislature to raise them. This would remove $70 million a year in revenue for community colleges. The proposal also guarantees an increase in funding for community colleges by an average of $300 million a year. It is not stated where the additional money would come from.

Prop. 93: Term limits

The Way Things Are: A politician cannot serve more than six years in the state Assembly and more than eight years in the state Senate, for a maximum total of 14 years in office.

What Would Change: It reduces the term limits for state legislators from 14 years to 12 years and removes the limits for the Assembly and Senate, meaning the politician could serve all 12 years in either one.

Prop. 94, 95, 96, 97: Indian gaming

Special note: Four tribes, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, are seeking amendments to the gaming compact. There is one proposition for each tribe, but they are seeking the same changes.

The Way Things Are: A compact is an agreement the governor negotiates directly with the tribes, then that is approved by the state legislature. The most recent compact related to Indian gaming casinos was signed in 1999, setting the current number of slot machines allowed on Indian land, and the amount the tribes would pay to the state government. The compact also exempted the tribes from following some state environmental regulations.

What Would Change: The tribes would each add 5,500 slot machines to their casinos. A percentage of the revenue generated from these new machines would be added to an annual payment the casinos would make to the state government. Between the four tribes, this would mean an additional $122.6 million a year in state revenues.The amendment would require the tribes to analyze environmental impacts of any new construction on tribal land, as well as compensate local governments for increases in public services due to increased use of the casinos.

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