Proposition 26: Do Not Protect Polluters, No on Prop 26
The oil, alcohol, and tobacco industries have placed an initiative, Proposition 26, on the November ballot that would shift the burden of paying for their pollution onto California taxpayers. Environmental, consumer, and health safeguards would be severely weakened, and the problems facing state and local government services would be further exacerbated. The Legislative Analyst’s Office says that “decreased state and local government revenues… over time could total up to billions of dollars annually.”
Fundamentally Changes Constitutional Protections
If passed, Prop 26 would amend California’s Constitution so that regulatory fees would be redefined as taxes, and therefore require approval by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature, or by a costly local election also requiring a super majority. Such a majority is virtually impossible in today’s political climate.
Funds raised by these pollution fees are used by state and local governments for essential programs like oil spill or hazardous waste clean-up, health effects of cigarettes, pesticides, or alcohol, and the environmental costs of air pollution, used containers or tires, and carbon emissions. Instead these costs would have to be paid for by the taxpayers if the initiative is enacted, or not paid at all.
Polluters Protection Act
Proponents of Proposition 26 are portraying it as a campaign to “Stop Hidden Taxes,” but the problem isn’t taxes “hidden” as fees, it’s the oil and tobacco companies spending millions to protect themselves and hide their true motives:
• Polluters don’t want to pay fees used to clean up hazardous waste
Funding for Proposition 26 comes entirely from corporations or organizations that stand to gain financially if the initiative passes. Oil companies Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Conoco-Philips, alcohol companies such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, and the tobacco company Phillip Morris (through a half million dollar contribution to the California Chamber of Commerce) raised over two million dollars just to quality Prop 26 for the ballot.
We Can Win
A similar initiative, dubbed the Polluter Protection Act, was defeated in 2000 by a broad coalition of environmentalists, organized labor, public health advocates, and taxpayer and consumer rights organizations. A similar coalition is forming to fight this corporate re-branding of the Polluter Protection Act.
To find out more about how you can help stop Proposition 26, please visit www.stoppolluterprotection.com.
Corporations should pay for the harms and damage they cause – not try to hide behind anti-tax slogans.
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