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Proposition 32 - The difference Between Mandatory and Voluntary

Meuser explains why he is supporting Proposition 32.

Passing Proposition 32 is a step forward for the taxpayers in California. Not only are corporate, union, and government contractors banned from using their money to “buy” government contracts, but Proposition 32 also bans the automatic deductions from individual paychecks for the purpose of supporting political causes. 

People have the right to spend their money in the manner they choose.  They can voluntarily contribute to charity, church, or political causes.  In contrast, payroll deductions for various taxes are mandatory and required by law. Currently, corporations, unions, and government contractors can take automatic deductions out of their employees’ paychecks for political causes. However, no one automatically takes payroll deductions for charity or church. Why is it that these entities are allowed to take your money for political causes?

Imagine if there were an additional ten-cent tax on every gallon of gasoline. This tax would be used to subsidize a local gas guzzling SUV manufacturer so as to make SUVs more affordable. If you did not want to pay this ten-cent tax, then on the first working day of each year, you had to personally go to the DMV and fill out a three-page form stating that you were opposed to SUVs and that you did not want to pay the additional 10 cent per gallon tax this year.

When “free will” and “voluntary” are removed from the process, automatic payroll deductions start looking like a tax. This is especially irksome when forced to give to a cause that may be antithetical to your personal beliefs.  However, voluntary contributions, done without compulsion or intimidation, enable citizens to voice their support to the causes they agree with. This proposition does not prevent a voluntary deduction by a union or corporation from your paycheck. 

It has been argued that Proposition 32 does not prevent super PACs from raising money for political purposes.  Furthermore, corporations and other forms of businesses may find ways to contribute money for political purposes. For the sake of argument, let us concede that this is true. But these and other potential loop holes of concern can be addressed in future legislation. Our vote for Proposition 32 should not be based upon what the author did not put in the Proposition.

One known purpose of Proposition 32 is to prevent automatic deductions from individual’s paychecks.  It ensures that individuals only contribute to candidates, parties, or political causes with which they are in agreement when they want to make contributions. 

We all have the right to spend our money the way we desire and this includes contributions to causes.   Many large corporations have a process like this in place when it comes to donations to charities. These donations are purely voluntary just like contributions to political causes. Contributions that are confiscated without consent or by force for purposes that are not in accordance with personal beliefs should not be tolerated. After all, this is the United States of America, not a communist country.

The process should be such that a willing individual opts in for paycheck deductions. It should not take a lot of effort to opt out of donating to a political cause.  In fact, there should be no effort at all; you just choose not to give. 

A known problem is that government contractors contribute to politicians with the “understanding” that when state contracts come up for bids, the contractors that were the most generous in supporting a particular candidate or party expect a political payback.  These paybacks lead to political and economic cronyism which is detrimental to the state as a whole.  Proposition 32 is designed to prevent this abuse.

Is Proposition 32 perfect?  No.  Does it solve all the problems? No. Is there another way to stop the abuses in the system?  Probably.  But doing nothing will not solve the problems either. Proposition 32 is a step in the right direction toward cleaning up the problems that threaten California’s future.  Let us deal with the known problems and solve them first. Then as the possible problems come, the same initiative process is still intact to deal with any new problems.

Mark Meuser is a candidate for State Senate District 7. You can follow him on Facebook.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jane Lea November 06, 2012 at 06:31 AM
No where in the ballot language does it state that voluntary contributions can be used. Show me the language. It states that no contributions can be used doesn't make exceptions for voluntary.
Jane Lea November 06, 2012 at 06:36 AM
And who made you the Hostest cupcake fairy? And it's OK for an out of state PAC to drop 11 million into the Yes campaign. You just want it only your way without checks and balances. That's call free labor or maybe in your world it call slavery.
c5 November 06, 2012 at 02:17 PM
i voted yes on 32. public sector unions are the worst superpacs that exist, given the massive conflict of interest in the public sector with the mandatory money flowing from workers to the union and then right back into the political campaigns so the unions can purchase the politicians who will 'negotiate' their contracts...disgusting stuff imo.
Andrew November 06, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I took my family's 8 ballots to the polling place and all 8 were YES ON 32. Give the Assembly and state Senate back to the people !
Cooper Hall November 06, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Were you listening to your 8-track player on your way there? Vote by mail. It's the 21st century. You do know that Dionne Warwick is no longer a Top 40 artist, right?

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