Pro-Business, Big Oil, Alcohol Industries Fund Prop 26, Unions Fight Against It

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Industries that support Prop 26 | Chart via MAPLight.org

Among the nine propositions Californians will be voting on in the November 2nd election, Prop 26 is not getting much attention. How could it, though? Taxing rules, when compared with marijuana, state parks and climate, is not exactly a sexy topic. But that doesn't mean it's important and could mean major change for the state.

Basically, Prop 26 "expands the definition of a tax and a tax increase so that more proposals would require approval by two-thirds of the Legislature or by local voters," according to the state's legislative analyst. That is to say, it changes some things that are not currently considered a tax, such as fees and property charges, to become a tax, thus going through a more rigorous process to be approved.

"Generally, the types of fees and charges that would become taxes under the measure are ones that government imposes to address health, environmental, or other societal or economic concerns," continues the analysis, which notes fees on alcohol retailers, hazardous materials and oil recycling would be considered taxes when introduced, thus needing a two-thirds vote, which is much harder garner support for (especially in a state so politically paralyzed).

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Industries/Groups funding the campaign against Prop 26 by industry | Chart via MAPLight.org

Additionally, any taxpayer -- yes, any taxpayer, no matter how big or small of an industry -- that will have their taxes increased will need to secure a two-thirds vote. Depending on the situation, it will be a vote of the legislature (statewide tax) or the people (local tax).

A total of about $13 million, mostly by the Yes on 26 folks, has been raised for the proposition, and today, campaign funding database MapLIGHT has published a break down of who's funding which side.

"Ballot measures write laws that California citizens will live under for years to come," said Daniel Newman, MAPLight.org's executive director. "California voters deserve to know who is spending millions of dollars to influence laws in our state. MAPLight.org's new Prop. 26 webpage shines a light on the money fueling the debate surrounding this proposed law."

By industry and interest, high-rolling proponents of Prop 23 include pro-businss ($4.7 million from the likes of the California Chamber of Commerce and others), oil and gas ($3.8 million from companies like Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum, for example) and alcohol producers (Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, etc.).

On the other side of the issue are various unions, which has raisd $1.8 million total. The biggest donors include the California State Council of Service Employees ($500,000) and the California Teachers Association ($254,000).

Via Ballotpedia, only a handful of newspapers have endorsed Prop 26, including the Orange County Register and Long Beach Press Telegram. The editorial opposition, however, is a longer list and includes the LA Times, L.A. Daily News, Sacramento Bee, Ventura County Star, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Fresno Bee and Bakersfield Californian.