California's business community won a sweeping victory in Tuesday's statewide elections, with the governor's race and virtually every measure on the ballot breaking its way.
Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's landslide victory in the gubernatorial election assures business interests that the most anti-business measures coming out of the Democrat-controlled state Legislature will be vetoed.
And all five of the ballot measures in the $37 billion infrastructure bond package crafted by Schwarzenegger and the Legislature and heavily supported by business interests passed Tuesday, as did a separate water and park projects measure.
In addition to funding repairs on the state's overcrowded highways, decaying water works and overburdened schools, the bond package should provide tens of thousands of engineering and construction jobs over the next decade.
Meanwhile, all the tax measures opposed by the state's major business interests went down to defeat. Most notably, the $4 billion oil extraction tax that generated $150 million in campaign spending on both sides was handily defeated by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin.
Voters also rejected a hefty cigarette tax, a parcel tax for school construction and a measure to set up a public finance system for campaigns that would have been financed by a $200 million tax on corporations. A measure limiting the ability of public agencies to condemn land through eminent domain and placing additional restrictions on zoning changes also went down to defeat. That measure drew a mixed response from the business community.
Locally, the picture for business also was mixed. In the city of Los Angeles, a $1 billion affordable housing bond fell just short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. But a measure to extend term limits for City Council members that was crafted in part by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce did pass, though it may face legal challenges.
In other cities around L.A. County, voters in Inglewood and San Marino approved sales tax increases to fund more public safety services. In Arcadia, voters passed a measure to prohibit paid parking in major retail centers and narrowly approved restricting the posting of signs at the Santa Anita Racetrack.
Meanwhile, voters in Pasadena rejected a measure that would have allowed the National Football League to lease the Rose Bowl and renovate the stadium for a football team. And voters in Santa Monica approved a parcel tax to pay for cleaning up the city's beaches.
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