There is a saying that not all money is good money. Although in California we have many needs such as In areas such as quality education, homelessness, mental health, gambling addiction programs and support for Native American tribes, I prefer that we consider other solutions to support these ongoing problems without expanding gambling.
In my last column, I set out my position on some government proposals I want voters to consider when voting on November 8th. Here are the last four.
Proposals 26 and 27 promise to address California’s critical problems with additional funding. While there are many adults who gamble responsibly, encouraging more gambling for legitimate reasons is a slippery slope. Gambling can be very addictive and ruin people’s lives. Gambling addiction can indirectly lead to drug abuse, alcoholism and criminal activity.
Proposition 26 extends California wagering to personal sports betting, roulette and craps at tribal casinos and certain licensed racetracks. Proposition 27 legalizes online sports betting in California, but not in tribal areas.
The United States owes much to Indigenous Peoples for centuries of genocide, land grabs and disease outbreaks. Native Americans should have independence on their sovereign lands. And the additional revenue from tribal casinos can help more people in their community.
The key to effective programs to combat homelessness and provide quality education and mental health is getting dollars into the cities, counties, and school districts with the lowest circulation. The implementation of specific programs that benefit all Native Americans represents serious redress, including the United States’ compliance with past treaties with Indigenous peoples.
The idea of additional tax revenue to address homelessness, fund education, and support tribes is appealing. However, both measures come at the expense of the lives potentially ruined by gambling addiction.
Nobody likes higher taxes. Proposal 30 increases taxes for Californians with annual personal income greater than $2 million.
The 1.75 percent tax increase for these people would go into a fund separate from the general fund to increase electric car use, reduce pollution from public buses and large trucks, and build a network of charging stations. The fund would also help fight wildfires by providing training, hiring firefighters and other prevention programs.
Another goal is to make electric vehicles affordable for low- and middle-income families. And the initiative could create or support green jobs.
California needs to reduce emissions for cleaner air, which could slow climate change and trigger prolonged drought and extreme heat. We have an annual threat of wildfires devastating the lives of many families that we also need to address.
Environmental justice activists say low-income communities, communities of color and other vulnerable populations are experiencing disproportionate impacts from climate change compared to other communities.
For these reasons, Proposition 30 deserves support, as wildfires, gasoline and diesel vehicles remain significant sources of air pollution.
When it comes to Proposition 31, banning flavored tobacco products, a yes vote will uphold the 2020 law banning the retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products. Opposition means voters want to repeal the 2020 law by keeping the sale of flavored tobacco legal in California.
The Sacramento Sister Circle mentioned a survey in its 2022 Voter Guide that found “vape use more than doubled among high school students and tripled among middle school students from 2017 to 2019.” Seventy percent of teens named “flavors” for their use.
For decades we have heard about the increased risk of many health problems from tobacco use and secondhand smoke. Children are attracted to sweet-tasting tobacco products. Nicotine is addictive and flavored tobacco can lead to lifelong addiction. Also, most tobacco ads are heavily targeted at African Americans and people of color, who suffer the most from tobacco-related diseases.
The opposition states that if we vote yes, we would lose some tax revenues that fund health care, early childhood programs, tobacco control and medical research. Adults would lose their freedom to buy flavored tobacco products legally at local locations.
I said earlier that not all money is good money. We must protect the next generation as best we can and understand that even with a yes vote, parents, teachers and the community must continue to educate about the serious long-term consequences of using tobacco products.
That is my position on the government proposals. As I said in my previous column, if the government is smart enough to ask our opinion on November 8th, I think we should give it.
— The Vacaville author is a social issues advocate. 2022 Winner of the Women of the Year Congress Award. Email: email@example.com