Director of Communication & Engagement
CARLSBAD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
From an increase in voting by mail to less polling locations, there’s no doubt many things will look very differently for voters this election year. However, what stays the same is the fact that voting is how citizens exercise their power to decide the future of their cities, regions and the country. In California, there are twelve ballot propositions that are being placed before the voters. The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce reached out to the business community to see which were the most important to them. Survey results showed that the top three propositions to our business community are Prop. 15, Prop. 22 and Prop. 20, in that order.
“Taxes are a continuing issue in California,” says the Chamber’s Chair-Elect, and financial planner at WWM Financial,
Catherine Magaña. “A new way for the state to come up with more money to pay for the ever-increasing financial burden it is taking on, is to change proposition 13 with a new proposition – Prop 15.”
While the proposition’s official description says that it “increases funding sources for public schools, community colleges, and local government services by changing tax assessment of commercial and industrial property,” Magaña argues Prop. 15’s approval would be particularly harmful for small businesses. “Currently, the taxes are based on the purchase price of the building. The change would mean that taxes will be assessed on the basis of current market value. This will lead to a huge increase in taxes that the property’s owner will have to pay. What inevitably will happen is that rents will have to increase to cover this additional cost to the landlord. Rents are already sky high in the state. This also will mean that renters will have to pay even more to lease their space at a time when so many businesses are already teetering on bankruptcy due to the shut down associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Jim Brubaker from Brubaker and Associates, Inc., a business and individual insurance company, says Prop. 15 “is an economic nightmare. It would cause a shock to the commercial real estate market that would economically destroy many small building owners and cause a massive depression in the commercial real estate market and increase the exodus of the productive population out of California.”
Independent contractors vs. employees
Magaña says that for those who like Uber and Lyft, “voting yes on Proposition 22 is the way to save these businesses in California. Both have threatened to shut down in California if the drivers are reclassified as employees.” This proposition is probably the most widely covered due to the controversies surrounding California Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5) which extends employee classification status to gig workers. “One of the reasons that ‘app-based’ ride sharing companies are so popular is because of how much cheaper and convenient the rides are in comparison to some other forms of transportation. The reason they are cheaper is because each driver is an independent contractor.”
While the flexibility of becoming and Uber or Lyft driver, for example for people who need a second job, is very appealing, Magaña says that there is one positive aspect of categorizing them as employees. “The independent contractor drivers would be entitled to other compensation such as minimum earnings, healthcare subsides and vehicle insurance.” However, she adds that if both companies decide to shut down, those flexible and convenient jobs would be gone as well.
From misdemeanor to felony
Proposition 20 was third on the list and it “restricts parole for certain offenses currently considered to be non-violent and authorizes felony sentences for certain offenses currently treated only as misdemeanors.” Magaña believes supporting this proposition would help small businesses. “Small retail businesses are the ones most impacted by theft of goods. Prop 20 authorizes felony charges for specified theft crimes currently chargeable as misdemeanors, including some theft crimes where the value is between $250 and $950. This new law will hopefully discourage shoplifting and thereby saving small retail businesses thousands of dollars a year.”
An engaged business community
One of the most gratifying results of the survey was that 99% of the people who responded are planning to vote. “It would not be surprising to see a record voter turnout this year. Elections, especially local ones, can be won or lost by just a few votes, so it is important for everyone to get to the polls and cast a ballot,” says Magaña.
When we asked the community which races mattered to them the most between President, District 49th Congressional race, State Assembly Member District 76 and Carlsbad City Council, most of them said the presidential race was the most important. “The 2020 presidential election could be the most important election of our lifetime. The health of the economy is one of the top issues as well as healthcare, Supreme Court appointments and the coronavirus outbreak,” comments Magaña.
Interestingly, the second most important race for those who answered the survey is the Carlsbad City Council race. “Since the laws of Carlsbad have a huge effect on all of its citizens, the Carlsbad electorate needs to be sure about who they are electing.” There are four highly regarded candidates running: for District 2 Keith Blackburn and Lela Panagides and for District 4 Teresa Acosta and Phil Urbina. All of them have strong ties to the Carlsbad Chamber. “If you don’t know what their policies are, then you might want to do some homework on all the candidates,” says Magaña.
For more information on this year’s election, check out our 2020 Voter Resource Guide.