We Can’t Afford Proposition 6

If Proposition 6 were to pass, it would siphon state allocated funds from schools, hospitals, childcare centers and existing public safety programs as it fails to create revenue. By imposing more bureaucracy and massive spending increases, the initiative would deepen California’s budget crisis and impede existing prevention and intervention programs. Such funding would be locked into the budget, regardless of the need and increased yearly relative to inflation. It would require a ¾ “super majority” legislative vote to override this spending, a higher threshold than is required to amend the state budget. Prop. 6 would cost almost $1 billion in its first year alone, not including the one-time state outlay costs for prison facilities that could exceed $500 million. These funds can be better used for state healthcare, education, and existing intervention and public safety services that have been proven effective in reducing crime.

This measure unfairly targets certain demographics with its many revisions to the criminal code. Prop. 6 would require any youth 14 years or older who is convicted of a gang-related felony unfit for custody in youth prison and would be tried in adult court. Poor people on public housing subsidies would be forced to submit to annual criminal background checks. Not only would those with recent criminal convictions be forced to leave public housing, but their families would be left homeless as well. Undocumented immigrants charged with violent or gang crimes would be denied bail and local sheriffs would be forced to check the immigration status of all individuals arrested and contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if an undocumented individual is detained, effectively shifting the burden of immigration enforcement from the federal government to local law enforcement agencies, and thus local taxpayers.

Prop. 6 is unproven. As the official campaign committee opposing Prop. 6 points out: “Prop. 6 spends a billion dollars a year on programs with no real oversight or accountability… programs selected without a competitive process or cost-benefit analysis. The largest increase in funding under Prop. 6 is for ‘Citizens Options for Public Safety,’ a program the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office found has ‘no definable goals” and ‘no identifiable results.’”

Prop. 6 is wasteful and disastrous to the state budget, placing greater burden on local jails to deal with overcrowding issues by making 30 new crimes, increasing existing jail terms, and not providing any increased revenue to fund such operations. Cities and counties would be forced to finance and build “temporary housing” to ease overcrowding. These funds are better used for public safety services and local housing authorities to police their tenants of section 8 housing. Prop. 6 would undermine county juvenile justice coordinating councils by reducing community input from non-profit organizations providing service to minors.