Green Party Policy Demands to the California State Legislature/Green Party Legislative Agenda

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Green Party urges the California State Legislature, in which there is now a historic 2/3 super-majority of Democrats in both houses, to address several key issues confronting our state. The Green Party advocates a ‘Green New Deal’ of specific solutions that would heal our planet, invigorate our democracy, increase fairness in our economy and ensure health-care for all. 

The Green Party seeks to align itself and work in coalition with kindred individuals and social movements who support these changes, and to build support for them among Californians at large and within the legislature, in order to help ensure their passage. 

1. Climate Change

Climate change is the defining crisis of our time. We must take action to ensure that future generations have a liveable planet, including:
 
• Robust promotion of conservation, efficiency and renewable sources, including financial underwriting for new technologies for energy conservation, production and storage, and for distributed generation and community-scale 'islanded' smart grids. 'Islanded' smart grids means both local generation and storage, and development of micro-grids which can continue to function if much or all of the rest of a regional grid is disabled, and which can supply or receive surplus electricity from other micro-grids
Promptly close and decommission the state's nuclear power plants at Diablo Canyon and San Onofre
Implement a carbon tax instead of cap and trade
Cap and trade is an invitation to powerful interests to avoid making needed change, sells the right to pollute and harms already overexposed communities; while a carbon tax automatically shifts the market in favor of green solutions and rewards greens businesses and workers.

2. Electoral reform

California’s Democracy is strongest when all voices are heard and when voters have the greatest opportunity to vote for and elect people who truly represent them. As a priority, the Green Party calls for :
 
• A ballot initiative to overturn Proposition 14, The Top Two Elections System.
• Legislation to restore the right of Californians to cast write-in votes in the general election -- and have them counted.

 
The Green Party also believes that California should move to change its electoral system to one of multi-seat districts with proportional representation for the state legislature; ranked-choice voting for single-seat, statewide constitutional office; with public financing of all ballot qualified candidates, including free media time.

3. Progressive taxation

The passage of Proposition 30 was only a temporary, short term and insufficient approach to California's finances. The state's structural budget deficit remains and long-term, structural solutions are in order to address it. The Green Party supports:
 
• Immediate efforts to lower the threshold to approve new taxes from 2/3 to 55%.
• Efforts to rectify the historic inequity under Proposition 13 where owners of commercial properties evade paying fair market value by leasing such properties rather than reselling them.

 
The Green Party’s legislative agenda includes addressing the state's structural budget deficit and issues of fairness and equity in taxation through progressive reforms to the tax system, including a progressive income tax; natural resources extraction taxes such as an oil severance tax; pollution taxes like a carbon tax; closing corporate loopholes and eliminating corporate welfare; and legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana - all while cutting income taxes for the average worker and payroll taxes for small businesses, so that we incentivize work and a healthy environment, penalize pollution and waste, and keep the unearned profit out of speculation and monopolies.

4. Health Care

Healthcare is a human right. The current federal health care law, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and known informally as Obamacare, puts insurance companies in charge of providing healthcare to citizens. The Green Party rejects that approach and calls for:
 
• A system of Universal, Single Payer Health Care for California.

 
Greens note that California legislature Democrats passed a "single payer-healthcare" bill on three occasions when it was expected to be vetoed. The first two attempts were vetoed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats pulled it the third time when Schwarzenegger threatened to veto it again. Single-payer was reintroduced again in 2011 when Democratic Governor Jerry Brown took office, but at that time, Democrats failed to get enough votes to pass it. Now with a super majority of Democrats in both houses, no reason not to pass it.

5. Living Wage

The Green Party believes every person who wants to work is entitled to a job that pays a liveable wage. The original minimum wage enacted under FDR's New Deal was intended to be a liveable wage, but today it is far from that, and this is exacerbated by reduced social services in the state for those in need. As a result, many Californians who work hard and play by the rules are unable to sustain themselves.

In the name of fairness to those hard-working Californians and as a powerful stimulant to the economy, the Green Party supports:

• Immediate efforts to raise the minimum wage up to or greater than San Francisco's minimum wage and index it to inflation; and
• Efforts to swiftly enact a real living wage for California

County: