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PROPOSITION 2000 General
Argument Against
Argument Against Proposition 37

Proposition 37 asks a simple question of voters: should polluters or taxpayers pay for the cost of cleaning up pollution?

We say that polluters, not taxpayers, should pay. So we say NO on Proposition 37.

The oil, tobacco, and alcohol companies who put this on the ballot don’t want to pay the costs of cleaning up their mess, or even monitoring or researching the problems they cause. They‘d rather stick you with the bill.

That’s why we call Prop. 37 THE POLLUTER PROTECTION ACT (

OIL, TOBACCO, AND ALCOHOL CORPORATIONS CONTRIBUTED 92% OF THE MONEY BEHIND THIS MEASURE, according to their first report with the Secretary of State. They spent over $1 million to put this on the ballot.

And oil, tobacco, and alcohol will spend millions more to pass it. Monitor their spending at

Here’s how it works:

Proposition 37 would overturn a UNANIMOUS decision of the California Supreme Court which upheld the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. (Sinclair Paint vs. Board of Equalization, 1997.)

The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act enacted fees, by majority vote, on those oil and paint companies who put lead in our environment. Those fees pay for removing lead paint from the environment and treating children poisoned by lead.

Proposition 37 would make it impossible to enact such fees to address clean-up and health costs ever again. Instead, these fees would be prohibited, so that these companies would now be able to hide behind laws designed to protect ordinary taxpayers.

They want to call clean-up fees “taxes”, in order to require 2/3 vote of the Legislature. These special interests know that they have enough power to get 1/3 of one house of the Legislature to block such taxes.

And, by calling clean-up fees “taxes”, they know that politicians would then have to vote for “tax” increases. Since politicians are reluctant to buck these powerful interests, they can now say they are against “tax increases”. That’s how special interest protection works.

As the Sacramento Bee warned, “The initiative won’t change the underlying reality, which is that someone has to pay the costs of mitigating pollution; if not polluters, then the rest of us.” (Editorial entitled, “Who Pays? Voters to decide who gets the bill for pollution,” July 6, 2000.)

Here’s the type of fees which would be banned if Proposition 37 passes:

• Fees on oil companies to clean up MTBE in our water supply.

• Fees on tobacco companies to research treatment for smoking-related diseases.

• Fees on liquor stores and stripclubs to pay for police protection in neighborhoods.

• Fees on airlines to monitor noise caused by airport expansion.

AND IF THE POLLUTERS DON’T PAY, WE, THE TAXPAYERS, WILL! If Prop. 37 passes, your taxes will pay for the problems that tobacco, oil, and other polluting companies cause.

Join California Professional Firefighters, Coalition for Clean Air, Sierra Club, Congress of California Seniors, Consumer Federation of California, California Nurses Association, and the California Association of Professional Scientists.

Vote NO on the Polluter Protection Act!

Peace Officers Research Association of California
LENNY GOLDBERG, Executive Director
California Tax Reform Association
JON RAINWATER, Executive Director
California League of Conservation Voters

  Analysis by the Legislative Analyst
  Argument in Favor of Proposition 37
  Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Proposition 37
  Argument Against Proposition 37
  Rebuttal to Argument Against Proposition 37

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