State ballot initiatives affect student life

Savanna Gharibian

(October 17, 2012) — One of California’s eleven propositions is Proposition 30. It increases taxes for people who are making over $250,000 for seven years, as well as increases the sales tax by a quarter of a cent for four years. These tax raises are expected to help fund public education for K-12, community colleges, Cal States and UCs, and prevent budget cuts on educational programs for 2012-2013. Voting yes on this proposition will validate these plans, and voting no will ensure that schools do not receive the extra money. Supporters say the benefits of Prop. 30 are that it will finally allow schools to evade budget cuts and have better funding, as well as ensure public safety. Although Prop. 30 can profoundly aid schools, opponents argue that there is still no guarantee that schools will be funded by the increased tax revenues even if it passed. According to a Glendale News-Press interview with the district’s chief business and financial officer, Eva Lueck, “What the failure of Prop. 30 would produce is an additional $12-million midyear cut to Glendale schools.” Freshman Sevan Sarkhoshian would vote yes because he does not want schools to suffer through budget cuts. “I would vote yes because there are people that don’t make that much money and the government still taxes them. The government should tax the rich people more because they get more money,” said Sarkhoshian. Junior Eduard Antonyan does not agree with Prop. 30 and said he would vote against it. “I would vote no because rich people should not have to pay for education,” Antonyan said. Antonyan said he believes that rich people are not obligated to spend their money on this cause. Antonyan also says that he feels the government should not be trusted with the money since it is not guaranteed that the money will be given to schools. For Antonyan, certain “pointless” policies have made him believe that the government cannot be trusted in matters like this. Another proposal is Proposition 34, which revokes the death penalty and instead enforces life imprisonment without parole. This applies to current people sentenced to death. A grant of $100 million will also be given to local law enforcement agencies to help fund homicide and rape investigation. A “yes” vote will ensure that the death penalty is revoked and that local law enforcement will receive grants for the next four years. A “no” vote will enforce the current death penalty and grants will not be given to law enforcement agencies. Supporters say Prop. 34 will make sure that an innocent person is never executed, and will save taxpayers from spending money on death penalty cases. However, it has some disadvantages as well. Opponents believe that taxpayers are burdened with funding the $100 million in grants. Also, opponents argue, without a death penalty, taxpayers’ money is spent on the well-being of criminals who previously killed many people. Some think that the idea of supporting criminals is wrong. Sophomore Alisa Azizyan is a supporter of Prop. 34. “I would vote yes because I don’t believe that criminals should be sentenced to death,” Azizyan said. “They should be imprisoned.” Junior Arzviek Moradian is against Prop. 34. “I would vote no on Prop. 34 simply because people that receive the death penalty, in my opinion, deserve it,” Moradian said. She believes that the death penalty is compensation for the family that lost a loved one. For people who really care about what they consume, Proposition 37 would be of high importance. It calls for companies to label products that contain genetically altered plants and animals. It also bans calling processed food natural. Prop. 37 will cost California from $100,000 to $1 million dollars to ensure that genetically engineered foods are labeled. A “yes” vote says that genetically engineered foods must be labeled; voting “no” would mean that genetically engineered foods will not be labeled. Supporters say that Prop. 37 benefits consumers because it allows them to know what they are eating. Without labels people would not be able to know which product they would want to purchase. Opponents say it can create new governmental administrations that would add millions to the tax as well as permit people to sue farmers and small businesses. Senior Brenda Macias supports Prop. 37. “I would vote yes because I would want to know if my food is genetically engineered,” said Macias. “I have the right to know.” Science teacher Virginia Benzer does not support Prop. 37 and would vote no. She believes that the proposition is “arbitrary.” “A large percentage of food in the produce section that is carbohydrate based is genetically engineered,” Benzer said. “Prop. 37 will put a lot of stress because they will have to work harder to produce crops.” Benzer says that she thinks that genetic labeling is a good idea, but the way the proposition is written favors big businesses and harms small farmers. “I believe in free enterprise,” she said.