While the headlines surrounding next week’s California Primary Election are largely focused on the Republican Gubernatorial Candidates, the June 8 ballot contains several measures critical to business and the economic future of our city and state. From open primaries to pension reform, the outcomes of next week’s election will set the course of our state’s future political and economic climate.
Among the most critical measures for California is Prop 14 – the open primary initiative. If passed, this proposition will have a profound impact on upcoming statewide and Congressional races by allowing voters to vote in a primary election and advance the two top vote getters, regardless of party affiliation. This common sense election reform will bring more voters to the polls and should help elect more moderate legislators from both parties to tackle our state’s complex problems.
Prop 16 – the Taxpayer’s Right to Vote Act – will determine whether or not residents should have a right to vote on public power. As San Francisco moves forward with plans to create a government-run energy program, Prop 16 ensures that voters will have the final say on whether or not our city should get into the power business – something we have already rejected 12 times at the polls. The outcome of Prop 16 will directly affect San Francisco’s future energy choices and the investments they may require.
We also have an unprecedented opportunity to improve our city’s fiscal security in Measure D – the pension reform initiative. Estimated to save the city $400 million over the next 25 years, this measure would amend the city Charter to reduce skyrocketing pension benefits costs for new city employees. As the city continues to grapple with a half-a-billion dollar budget deficit, pension reform will help ensure San Francisco does not follow the path of Vallejo and other cities which have gone bankrupt over unfunded pension obligations.
Other local measures will determine whether or not we should invest in school and emergency response infrastructure. Measures A and B will fund seismic upgrades and needed repairs in our schools and improve emergency response infrastructure respectively. As we have seen from the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, these are investments we can’t afford not to make.
While Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner will continue to stay in the spotlight through Election Day, we must not forget about the many state and local measures that will shape our political and economic landscape for years to come. The Chamber encourages the business community to vote on June 8th. Click here to view and bring the Chamber’s 2010 California Primary Election Ballot voting guide to the polls.