With 11 statewide initiatives on the November ballot, some student voters remain divided about the less publicized measures, like Proposition 32.
Prop. 32 would ban all political contributions to candidates from corporations and unions, as well as the ban of automatic wage deduction from employees’ paychecks for political donations. If this proposition passes, corporations and unions will no longer be able to use the money deducted from employees’ paychecks for political purposes.
According to a poll conducted by the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times released Thursday, 39 percent of respondents said they supported Prop. 32, while 46 percent said they opposed it.
Supporters argue a yes on Prop. 32 goes as far as the U.S. Constitution allows to cut the monetary tie between special interests and politicians. The Yes on Prop. 32 campaign cites corruption as the main reason for the initiative.
On their website, the campaign states: “Special interests control Sacramento … corporations, business associations and unions gave $89 million to state politicians and campaigns for the 2010 elections alone.” By contrast, opponents of the bill argue that it would, in fact, infringe on citizens’ rights to donate to a particular candidate or election.
“Prop 32 supporters claim the law will limit big campaign spending from all sides,” according to the Vote No on 32 website. “But the reality is that it would restrict everyday Californians from coming together to have a voice in elections while creating massive special exemptions for the same groups funding the campaign.”
Speaking as a non-partisan entity, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report detailing the measure and the effects it would have if passed. In the report, the office stated that the primary fiscal cost of the measure would be in the enforcement of these donations and the regulation of fair political practices.
“The amount of these costs is unknown, but could be in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually,” the Legislative Analyst’s Office stated in the same report. “Some of these costs could be offset by increased fines for not complying with the measure’s provisions.”
Like the respondents in the USC Dornsife poll, other USC students also seemed divided over the pros and cons of the measure.
“I agree with it because I feel that it is the individual’s right as to how they would want to lobby their money,” said Nicole Jabson, a senior majoring in public policy, management and planning. “That should be up to the individual’s discretion and should not be up to corporations or unions.”
Andy Tran, a first-year law student, also agreed with banning political contributions by deductions.
“If employers take wages from employees and put it wherever they want, I would be against that,” Tran said. “If they made the deductions mandatory and let the workers choose where the money was going, that would be a different story. The fact that [workers] are getting their money taken away and not being able to choose where that money goes is bothering.”
While supporters claim it will take big money out of politics, those against Prop. 32 argue that it will unfairly bar contributions by unions since it would still allow super PACs to contribute. They believe that the measure is largely supported by big businesses that will not be subject to its restrictions.
“I’m against Prop. 32 because it is unfairly biased against unions,” said Matthew Ivan, an undeclared sophomore. “It targets unions, who are very much representative of the middle class.”
Jabson also emphasized that there is too much at stake on this proposition for hard-line party bias to affect one’s vote.
“People need to be more educated on it because there is currently a lot of bias among liberals and conservatives, when it should really depend on your idea of how far corporations and unions should go in contributing to campaigns,” Jabson said.