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Following The Money Swirling Around Propositions 6 And 10

Gasoline prices are displayed at a Chevron station in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Oct. 30, 2017.
Associated Press
Gasoline prices are displayed at a Chevron station in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Oct. 30, 2017.
Following The Money Swirling Around Propositions 6 And 10
Following The Money Swirling Around Propositions 6 And 10 GUEST: Jill Castellano, reporter, INewsource

Two of the biggest state propositions on the November ballot have generated a lot of voter interest and they've also generated a lot of dollars. Proposition 6 which would repeal the gas tax increase is a hard fought effort effort that is with major political players lining up on each side and Proposition 10 which would make it easier for cities to enact rent control measures. Pitt's housing advocates against landlords and developers. One way to track the progress of these issues is to follow the money. That's just what news source has been doing. PBS CBS's Jade Heineman spoke with the new sports reporter Jill Castellano. Jill thank you so much for joining us today. What are the arguments for repealing and keeping the gas tax. So the argument to repeal the gas tax is that this is a big burden on working families. It could be another seven hundred dollars a year for any given family and that's too much money according to the people who want to get rid of this gas tax increase that was passed last year. That's an extra 12 cents a gallon. So they want to see that go away and make it easier for working families. But on the other side the people who want to keep the gas tax a lot of them are Democrats a lot of them say actually we need this money this money coming from the gas tax is funding infrastructure projects that are very important and in the long run will actually help working families help parents get to work on time and rebuild our infrastructure that's crumbling right now. Already we've seen five billion dollars worth of infrastructure money coming from this gas tax money and one billion dollars is coming specifically to San Diego County. All that money is going to disappear if Prop 6 passes. And you know you reported that San Diego is the home of the gas tax repeal effort. How did that come about. Yeah it's a really interesting story. It started with a man named Carl DeMaio who people might remember as one of the someone who ran for mayor and Congress and was on the city council here in San Diego. He now has his own radio talk show conservative radio talk show and he really energizes his listeners and one of the things that he's talked a lot about is the gas tax and he's managed to mobilize his audience and just using his network here in San Diego to fuel this whole campaign over one fifth of the almost 1 million signatures to get this on the ballot came from San Diego. And how much money does the repeal campaign have and where does it all come from. About five million dollars most of it is grassroots funded from small donors though they are getting help from some big Republicans running for office in California including John Cox the Republican governor candidate from San Diego County. And how does that compare to what the supporters of the gas tax are varies. They've raised way more money. There are people who want to keep this gas tax have over 32 million dollars and 11 groups have given one million dollars or more each. So this is a big money campaign. People who might benefit and get construction contracts through this gas tax money labor unions groups like that. Moving on to Proposition 10 now which would give local governments in California the ability to enact rent control. Jill what does Prop 10 actually do. It doesn't mandate rent control right. It does not. In almost all circumstances. So what it actually does is it repeals the Costa Hawkins rent control housing act from 1995 which was a law that severely limited the ability of cities to enact or expand rent control. So if you lived in a city like Los Angeles that had some rent control in 1995 it couldn't be expanded if you lived in a city where there's no rent control. They can't start acting like control on new housing built after 1995. So this repeals that and what it does is it puts that power back into the hands of the local governments to decide whether they should enact rank or troll or not. If Prop 10 passes atcha and who's supporting yes on Prop 10 and how much money have they raised the supporters are people like tenants rights groups and some labor unions who say this is really important to minimise displacement of people who can't afford to live where they do if the rent is going up by hundreds of dollars a year. They've raised about 20 million dollars and most of that money or I should say a large chunk of that money is coming from the Los Angeles based AIDS Healthcare Foundation which has funded a number of ballot measures in the past. And what about the opposition. There is a really big opposition campaign that basically what they're arguing is this could really decentralize the groups that the homebuilders the people who want to build more housing from actually coming to California and building more housing because they don't have the ability to have the same rates and charge the same rates to the people in the homes so that it's actually could in effect reduce the number of homes on the market and raise rents and raise prices on housing and reduce housing affordability. This is something that economists talk about a lot about and it's generally agreed that among economists that rent control is bad for housing affordability. And this campaign has raised fifty seven million dollars. So the the anti Prop 10 group that doesn't want rent control has way more money than the supporters of Prop 10 have a lot of these big donors are real estate groups like Blackstone Property Partners an Equity Residential. I see. So why does all this money matter what does money do for a ballot measure campaign. So I think the reason why we need to take a step back and look at the money is because it doesn't force anyone to vote a certain way but it gives them the chance to get their message out. It gives a chance for any particular campaign to reach more eyeballs in a state like California. You can't knock on every door and get your message out but you can pay a lot of money for television ads and flyers and bombard people with all sorts of ads in their mailboxes. And the more that you can do that the better advantage that you have. So in both of these cases Prop 6 and Prop 10 the anti side the opposition campaigns have way more money than the supporters do. And that gives them a big advantage come election day. Well Jill thanks so much for joining us and thanks for breaking that down. No problem. Thank you. That was Cape S.S Jade Hyneman speaking with eye news source reporter Jill Castellano eye news source is an independently funded news partner of PBS.

California is where you'll find some of the highest gas prices in the country. And San Diego is ground zero for efforts to repeal the latest hike in taxes on that gasoline.

The repeal could come via Proposition 6 on the November ballot. It would not only repeal the 12 cent tax and other new vehicle fees but would require that voters approve any new gas taxes or fees passed by the legislature in the future.

Proponents of Proposition 6, like San Diegan Carl DeMaio, the host of a conservative radio talk show, say the new tax, 12 cents per gallon, raised by the legislature last year, is too burdensome and unnecessary. The repealers have raised more than $5 million.

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Related: What’s At Stake For San Diego In Proposition 6 Gas Tax Vote

Opponents of Proposition 6 say the current tax is needed to pay for California's crumbling roads and bridges. The anti-repeal forces have raised $32 million so far.

California is also one state where sky-high rents and housing prices are to be found in nearly every city. This situation has led to Proposition 10, which would allow cities to expand rent control policies. Cities must currently abide by the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which the ability to control rents on certain buildings.

Related: Prop 10 Brings Rent Control Debate Boiling To The Surface

As with Proposition 6, the fundraising for the two sides has been lopsided. The forces in favor of rent control expansion have $20 million to spend, while those against have stockpiled $57 million.

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New financial reports are due out next week. The money figures for each will change once again.

The 2024 primary election is March 5. Find in-depth reporting on each race to help you understand what's on your ballot.