Thursday, November 1, 2012

Political columnist predicts few surprises this election

By Melissa Murphy/
Posted: 11/01/2012 01:07:51 AM PDT

Halloween isn't the only scary thing this time of year -- politics are too.
That's how Political Columnist Dan Walters on Wednesday painted this year's election with less than a week before voters head to the polls.
"It's an odd election in some respects," he said to a room full of city and business leaders at a Solano Economic Development Corporation breakfast.
He predicted that in California, President Barack Obama will receive the most votes toward his re-election and it won't be any surprise that United State Senator Dianne Feinstein will hold onto her post representing California.
He added that there were two interesting aspects added to the election structure for this year, though, the top two candidates receiving the most votes in the primary, regardless of political party, moved on to the regular election and district lines were redrawn by an independent party with no regard to the location of the incumbents.
The Sacramento Bee columnist also added that "almost certainly" the Democrats will not regain control of the House of Representatives.
He explained that millions of dollars are being dumped into campaigns for 11 ballot measures in California and it will likely continue.
He said Gov. Jerry Brown or "Brown 2.0," as he called him, went straight to the ballot with Proposition 30, which would increase sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.50 percent statewide and create four high-income tax brackets for taxpayers with taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, $300,000, $500,000 and $1 million.
"It isn't doing well," Walters said of the proposition. "He campaigns, (support) goes down. He's not the best salesman for his own measure."
He added that the sales tax part of the proposition is likely to blame for it dragging.
However, if Proposition 30 doesn't pass, there will likely be a "political war" between counties, schools and colleges who will fight over a "shrinking pot of money."
"It's bad tax policy," he said. "We become more dependent on a few wealthy and their success in the stock market. ... It's dangerous."
He said the design of the proposition will last longer than Brown is in office, but the money source has an end date.
One tax measure Walters believes is likely to pass is Proposition 39, an income tax increase on out-of-state businesses that would not effect California-based companies or residents.
Most of the audience, however, has already voted and that made Walters question the need for his talk.
He admitted that elections are largely conducted by mail.
"Campaigning at the last minute is less effective," he said.
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