September 2002

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Ballot Propositions 

Analyses of November 2002 Ballot Propositions
By Cal-Tax Staff

The staff of the California Taxpayers’ Association has prepared analyses of the seven propositions on the November 5 General Election ballot.

(Cal-Tax positions: Support for Propositions 47 and 49, opposition to Propositions 50 and 51, and no recommendation on Propositions 46, 48 and 52.)

The propositions:

Proposition 46

Title: Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002
Sponsor: Western Center on Law and Poverty
Legislative History: SB 1227 (Senator John Burton) – Senate: 27-11; Assembly: 54-21

Major Provisions:

  •  Allows the issuance of a $2.1 billion general obligation (G.O.) bond to fund various affordable housing and emergency shelter programs, including:

o        $1.1 billion for various Multifamily Housing Programs.

§         $800 million to provide low-interest loans for affordable housing development.

§         $195 million for low-interest loans for housing projects offering health services.

§         $50 million to prevent affordable housing agreements from expiring.

§         $25 million for matching grants to local housing trust funds.

§         $20 million to fund space for services (job training, health, childcare, etc.).

§         $15 million in low interest loans to build housing for low-income UC/CSU students.

§         $ 5 million for modifications to housing of low-income renters with disabilities.

o        $405 million for Homeownership Programs:

§         $117.5 million to fund low-interest loans for low income homebuyers.

§         $115 million to fund various low income homeownership programs.

§         $ 75 million in grants to fund the Building and Equity and Growth in Neighborhoods (BEGIN) Program, which would reduce restrictive regulations on residential construction.

§         $50 million to provide gap financing to compensate for statutorily approved increases in school facility fees on new homes in economically distressed areas or for first-time, low income earners.

§         $25 million to provide downpayment loans for low-income school personnel.

§         $12.5 million for down payment assistance for first-time, low-income homebuyers participating in specified counseling programs.

§         $10 million for low-income self help housing construction management.

o        $200 million for Farmworker Housing Programs:

§         $155 million for low-interest loans/grants to construct farm worker housing.

§         $25 million for low-interest loans/grants which serve migratory workers.

§         $20 million for low-interest loans/grants for farm worker housing offering health services.

 o        $385 million for Other Housing Programs:

§         $195 million to provide grants to construct homeless shelters.

§         $100 million in capital grants to local entities to increase permits to build affordable housing projects.

§         $ 85 million for insurance high-risk housing mortgages.

§         $ 5 million for grants for capital expenditures for local code enforcement.

  • Requires the Bureau of State Audits to conduct periodic audits to ensure that bond proceeds are timely awarded, consistent with law, and used in compliance with law.


As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, an estimated 1.1 million people living in California are homeless. Of this amount, approximately 108,000 could be “chronically homeless,” meaning they have no shelter for at least half the year.

The Legislative Analyst states that about 150,000 houses and apartments are built in California each year, approximately 100,000 units less than what the Department of Finance says are needed annually to meet demand. Most of these units are built entirely with private dollars and sold or rented at market rates. Some, however, receive subsidies from federal, state, and local governments, such as grants, rent control or building subsidies. Typically, when housing construction is subsidized, state and local governments require that a certain amount of housing be dedicated to low-income Californians. California has built an average of 500 affordable housing units a year since 1999, according to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in the Chronicle article. Other state programs provide homebuyers with direct financial assistance to help with the costs of a down payment.

The State Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Housing Finance Agency (CHFA), and the State Treasurer's Office administer a variety of housing programs intended to increase the supply of workforce housing and promote homeownership opportunities. These programs include:   the Multifamily Housing Program, CalHome Program, Emergency Housing Assistance Program, Code Enforcement Program, Housing Grant Program, Housing Preservation Program, Self-Help Housing Program and Housing and Homebuyers Downpayment Assistance Program.

By the end of 1996, these funds were all committed. In the meantime, approximately 20,000 privately owned apartments subsidized by federal dollars have been permanently removed from California’s low-income housing pool as reported by the Sacramento Bee. The 2000-01 Budget Act appropriated more than $500 million for housing programs. Most of these funds have been spent, and the remainder is expected to be exhausted by the end of 2001-02.

The Job-Center Housing Coalition, composed of more than 70 businesses (including Cal-Tax), housing, community and labor organizations, is fighting for affordable housing reforms by supporting a package of “smart housing” bills that:

  • Encourage the development of affordable California homes, particularly those that efficiently utilize land near existing job centers;

  • Replace a “sue first” policy for construction disputes with a consumer-friendly 10-year warranty to reduce lawsuit abuse to attract affordable homes;

  • Reverse skewed fiscal policies – which punish residential construction – into reliable revenue streams which make new homes fiscal winners;

  • Make infill housing a reality by limiting not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) control of housing markets and promoting smart, high-density housing;

  • Revive urban areas through clean-up and redevelopment of used properties;

  • Reduce excessive fees and other housing taxes, and promote the adoption of local regulatory policies that serve as incentives for affordable homeownership,

  • Turn land-use planning into local blueprints for housing and economic growth.

Fiscal Impact: Based on the Legislative Analyst’s (LAO) projection:

Bond Costs. Generally, the interest on bonds issued by the state is exempt from both state and federal income taxes. Historically, the type of bonds proposed by this measure have not received the federal tax exemption because the ultimate recipients are private parties, resulting in a higher interest rate for the bonds. If the bonds were sold at an average interest rate of 6.25 percent (the current rate for this type of bond) and repaid over 30 years, the cost would be about $4.7 billion to pay off both the principal ($2.1 billion) and interest ($2.6 billion). The average payment would be about $157 million per year.

Administrative Costs: Several agencies would experience increased costs to administer the various housing programs funded by this measure. Under existing law, a portion of the programs’ allocations from the bond funds – up to about $100 million – could be used for these administrative costs. The measure also authorizes some recipients to pay for administrative costs, increasing funds available for this purpose.

Policy Considerations:

1.  Does this proposal meet Cal-Tax's criteria for evaluating bond proposals, as outlined below?

  • The project to be financed is a capital facility or infrastructure project and the bond funding will pay for land acquisition and capital costs, not for maintenance, operations, non-construction salaries or wages, or ongoing costs.

  • Non-bond financing is not a reasonable option.

  • The project costs are appropriately shared by future taxpayers because the project will have a useful life at least as long as the term of the bonds and future taxpayers will benefit from the facility that is built with the bond proceeds.

  • It is not appropriate for bond funds to pay for equipment, computers, or similar items that will not be useful for at least as long as the debt is outstanding.

  • For state bonds, projects funded must be of state-level concern and importance. State bonds should not pay for local projects that do not have significant extra-territorial impact.

  • Interest rates for indebtedness are not abnormally high and the overall state debt level will not be excessive.

2. As stated in the criteria above, Cal-Tax usually approves G.O. bonds that fund public priority capital facilities, infrastructure, and land acquisition – and opposes bonds that fund maintenance, operations, non-construction salaries or wages, or ongoing costs. A notable amount of these bond revenues would be used for various activities that are generally not paid for with bond funds. For example: $357 million in loans to provide homeowner assistance; the LAO estimates that up to $100 million of bond revenues could be used to cover agencies’ administrative costs to implement programs; $85 million to fund insurance for high-risk homeowners; $50 million to pay a portion of school facility fees; $12.5 million for downpayment assistance for those who participate in homeownership counseling programs; $10 million for construction management (i.e. technical assistance and support functions) of build-yourself projects, etc.

3. According to the Job-Center Housing Coalition, several factors have prevented developers from building more affordable housing, including: excessive litigation causing unwarranted lawsuits, a state tax structure that rewards cities and counties for retail development at the expense of new housing, excessive fees and housing taxes, etc. Are these problems addressed in Prop. 46 so that unnecessary costs can be eliminated from new home construction?

  • The measure provides $75 million to the BEGIN Program, a Job-Center Housing proposal, which builds on a pilot program launched by Governor Pete Wilson in 1993 by rewarding local government for reducing the regulatory costs of constructing housing. Under the BEGIN program, local governments that provide one or more of the following incentives (based on a point system) to developers will be eligible to receive down-payment assistance for prospective low-income homebuyers: waive or lower fees, relax strict design requirements (i.e. parking, etc.), grant higher densities, and streamline local permitting processes.

§         Questions:

A. By offering only down payment assistance to local government as in incentive to participate in the BEGIN program, how much of an impact would this program have on reducing excessive fees which could potentially reduce local governments’ (including school districts) fee revenues?

B. Would the deciding factor to participate in the program still be based on the option that brings in the greatest amount of long-term “discretionary” revenue to their jurisdiction, such as sales tax revenues from retail malls as opposed to receiving one-time funds earmarked for downpayment assistance?

C. What about excessive litigation and housing taxes?  If these issues are not addressed, would they continue to drive up the costs of building affordable housing units, thus reducing the number of units that could be built with bond revenues?

  • To address the issue of “Reverse skewed fiscal policies – which punish residential construction – into reliable revenue streams which make new homes fiscal winners,” Prop. 46 also allocates $100 million in grants to local governments for increasing affordable housing units by issuing building permits above their previous 3-year average.

§             Questions:

A. Should state G.O. bond funds be used as an incentive for local governments to issue more building permits to construct affordable housing units? The LAO points out that housing bonds (unlike most other types of state G.O. bonds) are not exempt from federal taxation and therefore are financed at a higher interest rate.

B. How much of an incentive would a one-time, $100 million allocation be for local governments when sales tax revenues are continuously generated from commercial development?

C. What will happen to the permit process when the grant revenues are fully depleted?

4. Many of these problems have been 30 years in the making. Is it realistic to expect this $2.1 billion bond alone to drastically reduce California’s affordable housing crisis? Could this measure be a realistic first step to combat the problem?

5. According to the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), tens of thousands of low- and moderate-income households every year need assistance to buy or rent housing. When the state (or other governmental entities) don’t provide this assistance, private homebuilders – and, ultimately, homebuyers – get stuck with the tab.  In the absence of state funding for affordable housing, it’s estimated that more than one hundred California communities require homebuilders to construct affordable housing – or pay hefty “in lieu” fees – as a condition of getting new projects approved. In other words, a few homebuilders (and homebuyers) are forced to provide the social welfare assistance that government has failed to appropriate from a broader tax base. The Homebuilders Association of Northern California estimates that these so-called “inclusionary zoning” programs create a subsidy cost, on average, of $30,000 per home that has to be borne by homebuilders and, ultimately, market-rate homebuyers. This is nothing short of a housing tax – a consequence of government not fulfilling its obligations to its citizens (in this case, lower-income people).

6. Student housing is typically self supporting, paid for by student fees, donations and public-private partnerships. If the state traditionally does not fund student housing, would it be more practical to build UC/CSU affordable housing units with lease revenue bonds?

7. The cost of this $2.1 billion G.O. bond would be about $4.7 billion over 30 years. The average payment would be about $157 million per year. Since the state is facing a $23.6 billion budget deficit (which could grow to approximately $51 billion in the next five years based on LAO projections), is the additional debt load within the state’s capacity to carry?

8. A soon-to-be-released study of the benefits of housing to California’s economy – by Bob Fountain of CSUS’s Real Estate and Land Use Institute economy [a preliminary draft was provided by CBIA to Cal-Tax staff after the August 15th Executive Committee meeting] – shows that, at a sub-standard annual production level of 132,000 units, housing construction generates $40 billion in economic output every year. Fountain also found that “housing” as a sector of the economy is worth $257 billion in annual economic output – the highest of all sectors.  It’s also estimated (but not scientifically reported) that each new home built in California generates $19,000 in state tax revenue. On that basis, the production of 8,300 units annually would generate enough state revenue to service the $157,000,000 in debt.

§             Questions:

A. According to the HCD, California builds only 500 affordable housing units a year. How is the CSUS $19,000 estimate relevant to the affordable housing discussion since it is based on the construction of “all” housing in California?

B. Moreover, where is the guarantee in the measure that the state tax revenues derived from newly built homes would be available to fund the additional bond debt?  Wouldn’t most of these revenues be placed in the state general fund for discretionary use, including providing services to the newly built homes?

C. Would the state be required to reduce services or raise additional revenues to service the additional bond debt?

9. Is it necessary to dedicate bond revenues for the purpose of school facilities fee funding? The committee staff analysis notes that due to lack of participation in this program, the 2001 Budget Act shifted $108 million of program funds to the general fund (GF) and eliminated a future $20 million GF transfer. However, with passage of this affordable housing bond, will there be a higher demand for school facilities fee funding in the near future?

10. Why does the measure dedicate affordable housing bond revenues to specific groups (i.e., school personnel and UC/CSU students) when these lower-income earners would naturally qualify for traditional affordable housing assistance?

Support Arguments:

  • Safe shelter is fundamental to a decent life. Prop. 46 will double the number of emergency shelter beds; provide security improvements and repairs to existing shelters; provide clean and safe housing for senior citizens and low-income families; provide affordable housing for working people and accessibility improvements for disabled Californians; loan assistance for military veterans, teachers, police and firefighters, and create 276,000 jobs to help improve the state’s economy.

  • Proposition 46 requires independent audits and contains strict accountability provisions to ensure the funds are used as promised.

  • Proposition 46 provides shelter for thousands of homeless children, allowing them to attend neighborhood schools without having to worry about a roof over their head.

Support arguments signed by:

Pete Major, Executive Director, Habitat for humanity in Orange County; Barbara Inatsugu, President, League of Women Voters of California; Dr. Kathie Mathis, Executive Director, Association of Aid Victims of Domestic Violence.

Opposition Arguments:

  • California is already on the brink of bankruptcy and now is not the time to be going further into debt. Passing bonds only adds to the state’s debts. Here is a snapshot of its current situation: $24 billion budget deficit this year; $26.9 billion in current G.O. bonds outstanding; $11 billion in energy bonds that have yet to be sold, and a $13 billion school bond on this ballot.

  • Of the $2.1 billion, only $290 million, about 15%, is put into the “Self Help” fund that would help low-income, first-time homebuyers with down payments, a major selling point for this bond. Of that, only $12.5 million would actually be used to help with down payments. To make matters worse, to get the $12.5 million, recipients have to purchase houses in government approved locations. None of these areas are in high-income areas where it is so hard to purchase a home.

  • If we want to improve housing availability in California, we first need to make it easier to construct new homes. We need to reduce the red tape that homebuilders have to go through to build new housing. This bond does nothing to address the barriers that exist to provide affordable, abundant housing in California.

Opposition arguments signed by:

Senator Ray Haynes, Chair, Senate Constitutional Amendments Committee; Assemblyman Anthony Pescetti, Vice Chair, Utilities and Commerce Committee; Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Proposition 47

Title: Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Acts of 2002 and 2004
Sponsor: Assembly Member Robert Hertzberg
Legislative History: AB 16, introduced December 4, 2000 Assembly Floor (71-8); Senate Floor (26-7); Conference Committee (4-0), 3/20/02

Major Provisions:

  • Authorizes a statewide general obligation (G.O.) bond election in November 2002 for $13.05 billion and automatically places on the 2004 ballot another statewide G.O. bond issuance of $12.3 billion:

The $13.05 billion 2002 bond would be allocated as follows:

  • $11.4 billion in GO bonds would be for K-12  education facilities as follows:

ü      $4.8 billion for new construction and modernization projects filed by Feb. 1, 2002.

ü      $3.45 billion for new school construction related to growth, including:

  • $100 million for charter schools.

  • $25 million for school fee relief if the housing bond fails at the 11/02 election.

ü      $1.4 billion for modernization of older schools.

ü      $1.7 billion for Critically Overcrowded Schools (COS).

ü      $50 million for joint-use facilities.

  • $1.65 billion in GO bonds for higher education facilities as follows:

ü      $408.2 million for the University of California (UC).

ü      $495.9 million for the California State University (CSU).

ü      $745.9 million for the California Community Colleges (CCC).

The measure also appropriates $651 million in lease revenue bonds for higher education projects. The combined G.O. and lease revenue bonds: $2.3 billion.

The $12.3 billion 2004 G.O. bond would be allocated as follows:

  • $10 billion would be for K-12 education facilities as follows:

ü      $5.26 billion for new school construction related to growth.

  • $300 million for charter schools

  • $25 million for school fee relief if the housing bond fails at the 11/02 election.

ü      $2.25 billion for modernization of older schools.

ü      $2.44 billion for Critically Overcrowded Schools.

ü      $50 million for joint-use facilities.

  • $2.3 billion for higher education facilities as follows:

ü      $690 million for UC.

ü      $690 million for CSU.

ü      $920 million for CCC.

  •  The bill proposes other changes in school facility construction as follows:

o        Expands the membership of the State Allocation Board from 7 to 10 members by adding one member of the Senate, one member of the Assembly, and one member appointed by the Governor. Requires that the Senate and Assembly members belong to majority party and one member from the minority party.

o        Requires the Seismic Safety Commission establish an advisory group (including the State Architect, the State Fire Marshall, reps from major associations of architects, engineers, and school facilities designers, etc.) to decide if a regulatory process may be developed, allowing the State Architect to determine if buildings not constructed in compliance with the Field Act meet – or can be retrofitted to meet – the pupil safety performance standard.

o        Eliminates the current priority point system.

o        Requires that the state modernization grants be matched by the school districts on a 60% (state)-to-40% (local) basis for projects filed after March 15, 2002. This is an increase from the current 80-20 match.

o        Defers the implementation of "level 3" developer fees until the state no longer has funding for new construction apportionments after the 2004 primary election.

o        Tightens standards to qualify for financial hardship funding by placing into statute the recently adopted State Allocation Board (SAB) regulations which require districts to hold an election for a local bond measure and require a district to bond itself to 60% of capacity.

o        Provides that public schools are authorized to receive an allowance up to 5% of the total construction or modernization cost to maximize the use of energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy technologies in all new school construction and school modernization projects toward achieving zero-energy-use schools.

o        Establishes a joint use program of $50 million in 2002 and $50 million in 2004 to build facilities that are jointly used by the school and the community.

o        Establishes a set aside of funds for critically overcrowded schools (COS) to allow qualifying districts (districts with school sites that have high numbers of students per acre) additional time to file their application. Specifics include:

ü      The 2002 bond: $1.7 billion for COS; and the 2004 bond: $2.44 billion.

ü      Unused COS funds will be transferred to the regular new construction program.

ü      Districts qualify to receive COS set aside funds if existing schools in the district exceed by 210% the recommended number of students per acre.

ü      A district receiving funds from COS is required to build in the general location of the qualifying densely overcrowded schools and must enroll at least 75% of its pupils from such overcrowded schools.


Based on the Senate Floor Analysis of April 3, 2002:  Under current law, the State School Facilities Program (SFP), funding for construction of new schools and  modernization of old schools comes from both state and  local sources.  State funding comes from voter-approved  General Obligation (G.O.) bonds and is allocated to school  districts by the State Allocation Board (SAB) pursuant to  the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 1998 (SB 50, Chapter 407, Statutes of 1998), which was designed to be less complex then was the previous law. Local funding comes from a variety of sources including local G.O. bonds, Mello-Roos bonds and developer fees.

In November 1998, the voters approved Proposition 1A that authorized a total of $9.2 billion in state G.O. bonds for education facilities: $2.5 billion for higher education facilities and the remaining $6.7 billion for K-12 facilities. These state bond funds will be fully allocated by mid-2002.

According to the Office of Public School Construction, over the next four years, there is a need for $21.1 billion in state bonds for school facilities to meet increasing enrollment demand and modernization needs.

California=s universities and community colleges are also experiencing fast growth in enrollments.  Although enrollments slowed significantly and even declined in the early 1990s, they have rebounded since the economy began recovery in the late 1990s. According to higher education officials, $9 billion is needed over the next four years for the facility needs of the University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges.

California voters have voted on the following state propositions to provide General-Obligation bonds for  K-12 school construction. The only one that has failed, as noted below, was Proposition 1B in June 1994, which failed by .4 percent of the vote.

November 1982

Proposition 1

$500 million

November 1984

Proposition 2

  450 million

November 1986

Proposition 53

  800 million

June 1988

Proposition 75

  800 million

November 1988

Proposition 79

  800 million

June 1990

Proposition 123

  800 million

November 1990

Proposition 146

  800 million

June 1992

Proposition 152

  1.9 billion

November 1992

Proposition 155

  900 million

June 1994 (Failed)

Proposition 1B

  1.0 billion

March  1996

Proposition 203

*3.0 billion

November 1998

        Proposition  1A

     ** 9.2 billion

* $2.025 billion K-12 + $975 million Higher Ed.

**$6.7 billion K-12 + $2.5 million Higher Ed.

Fiscal Impact:

Based on the April 3, Senate Floor Analysis:  General Fund debt service costs would vary depending on the rate at which the bonds would be sold (many of these bonds may not be sold for several years). According to the Legislative Analyst for every $1 billion of GO bonds sold with a 25 year term with level debt payments at an average interest rate of 5%, the annual debt service would be $71 million.

The Legislative Analyst reports as of October 2001, the state had about $26 billion of General Fund bond debt ($20 billion of GO bonds and $6 billion of lease-payment bonds). Also, the state has not yet sold about $12 billion of authorized bonds because  the projects to be funded by the bonds have not yet been undertaken. The LAO estimates that payments on the state's General Fund bond debt will be around $3.2 billion during the 2001-02 fiscal year. As the currently authorized bonds are sold, bond debt payments will increase to $3.7 billion in 2005-06 and decline thereafter.

The level of debt payments stated as a percentage of state General Fund revenues is referred to as the state's "debt ratio." This ratio stood at well under 3% at the start of the 1990s, and peaked at over 5% in the mid-1990s. It has since declined and currently stands at about 4.7%. Based on current authorizations, the ratio will continue to decline in future years.

Policy Considerations:

In 1997, the Cal-Tax Executive Committee and Board of Directors authorized Cal-Tax staff to support large schools bonds meeting the following criteria:

  • The bond must not be tied to a reduction in the vote requirement for local general obligation bonds.

  • The bond measure should include a limit on developer fees for school construction.

  • Cost-saving reforms would need to be included to make taxpayers= money go farther in solving facility needs.

  • The bond should be used for multi-year facilities spending involving long-term planning for future facilities needs.

To determine if the measure meets these criteria, we raise the following questions:

  • Is the state=s level of debt in a range that this additional debt would not create an undue burden on state finances and taxpayers?

  • Is the level of school construction needs great enough to warrant state involvement in providing funds?

  • Are the cost-saving measures and developer fee limits in the measure strong enough to justify supporting such a large bond measure?

  • If this bond is not approved, how will school districts generate the funding to accommodate rapid enrollment growth that is projected?

  • If this bond is not approved, will taxpayers face a more vigorous assault on the vote requirement for local general obligation bonds and property tax increases?

Support Arguments:

  • California’s public schools used to be among the best in the nation. Buy years of neglect and inadequate funding have taken their toll. Prop. 47 will help fix our schools … and help our student succeed.

  • Prop. 47 builds new schools and college classrooms for the hundreds of thousands new students entering classrooms in coming years, builds new classrooms to keep class sizes small, fixes leaky roofs, repairs bathrooms, puts heating and air conditioning in classrooms, provides funds for wiring classrooms to access technology, and makes sure communities get their fair share of the funds.

  • The measure provides for audits, cost controls, and other accountability requirements to guard against waste and mismanagement. It also assures that taxpayer funds cannot be spent on bureaucracy but only spent on building and renovating schools.

Support arguments signed by:

Allan Zaremberg, President, California Chamber of Commerce; Jan Harp Domene, President, California State PTA; Larry McCarthy, President, California Taxpayers’ Association

Opposition Arguments:

  • California is paying interest on tens of billions of dollars in outstanding bonds. Because we’ve passed so many bonds in recent years, California has been assigned the third lowest credit rating in the country. As such, we should be extremely careful whenever we consider taking on more debt.

  • Prop. 47 does not encourage school construction. Under this new scheme, the schools with the neediest kids aren’t obligated to begin building a single school for 61/2 years. School districts can reserve bond money by simply stating an “intent” to build a school. Schools built with the bond funds made available in 2004 would not have to break ground until 2011.

  • Prop. 47 overwhelmingly favors the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) over every other district in the state. LAUSD is eligible for over 30% of the new construction funds, even though it accounts for only 12% of the state’s student population.

Opposition arguments signed by:

Senator Wm. J. Pete Knight; Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association; Lewis K. Uhler, President, National Tax Limitation Committee

Proposition 48

Title: Court Consolidation
 California Law Revision Commission
Legislative History: ACA 15 of 2002 (Assembly Member Howard Wayne) Assembly: 72-0; Senate: 38-0

Major Provisions:

  • Deletes obsolete statutes from the state Constitution, relating to municipal courts as a result of voter approved municipal and superior court consolidation.

o        Deletes from the Constitution references to municipal courts, which have been eliminated by unification of the trial courts into superior courts.

o        Deletes from the Constitution a section that governs the creation of municipal courts of the state and that allows for the unification of municipal and superior courts into one trial court.

o        Increases the membership of superior court judges on the Judicial Council to 10, reflecting the total of 5 superior court judges and 5 municipal court judges currently required by the Constitution.

o        Increases the membership of superior court judges on the Commission on Judicial Performance to two judges of superior courts, reflecting the total of one superior court judge and one municipal court judge currently required by the Constitution.

o        Deletes from the Constitution the requirements for eligibility to be a judge of the municipal court.

o        Repeals on January 1, 2007, the Constitutional provisions relating to the transition period for the unification of the superior and municipal courts.


In 1998, California voters approved Proposition 220, which permitted superior and municipal courts, known as “trial courts,” within a county to consolidate their operations if approved by a majority vote of the superior court judges and municipal court judges in the county. Under consolidation, the superior court assumes jurisdiction over all matters handled previously by superior and municipal courts; municipal court judges become superior court judges and the municipal courts are abolished. All 58 California counties have since voted to consolidate their trial court operations. At the request of the Legislature, the California Law Revision Commission has made recommendations on repealing statutes that are obsolete because of trial court reforms, including those resulting from court consolidation.

Fiscal Impact:

According to the Legislative Analyst, this measure would not result in additional costs to state or local government.

Policy Considerations:

  • This measure merely conforms to current law by deleting obsolete text from the state Constitution. Wouldn’t it make better economic sense to develop a more efficient process to delete outdated text in the state Constitution? Is the placement of initiatives on statewide ballots to delete obsolete provisions an archaic form of democracy and a waste of taxpayer time and money.

Support Arguments:

  • This is a non-controversial change that updates the California Constitution. It passed each house of the Legislature unanimously.

  • Currently the state Constitution provides for two types of trial courts, superior and municipal courts, in each county. But due to unification of the trial courts, there are no longer any municipal courts in California. However, the California Constitution still contains provisions dealing with municipal courts. There provisions are obsolete and need to be removed.

  • The proposition implements recommendations of the California Law Revision Commission, which was directed by law to recommend repeal of provisions that have become obsolete because of trial court unification.

Support arguments signed by:

Assemblyman Howard Wayne

Opposition Arguments:

  • The main drawback to the proposal is that it would preclude the re-establishment of municipal courts in any of California’s 58 counties. We would want to establish municipal courts to save money (superior court judges are paid more) and to promote fairness in appeals. The basis for seeking review of what a judge has done in a case is that the judge ruled or acted wrongly. A one-court system which asks judges of the very same court to correct or rebuke their colleagues creates the appearance of unfairness.

  • Separate municipal and superior courts in the counties offered more “checks and balances” than the consolidated superior courts which have now been established.

Opposition arguments signed by:

Gary B. Wesley, Co-Chair, Voter Information Alliance; Melvin L. Emerich, Co-Chair, Voter Information Alliance

Proposition 49

Title: After School Education and Safety Program Act of 2002. Initiative Statute.
Status: Signature gathering phase: November 2002 ballot.
Sponsors: Paul F. Miner and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Legislative History:

This initiative would revamp the existing before and after school program. The after school program was established in 1998 by SB 1756 (Lockyer); AB 2284 (Torlakson), and AB 1428 (Ortiz). The before component was established in 2001 by AB 6 (Cardenas).

Major Provisions:

  • Increases the existing $85 million appropriation to the before-and-after school program by an amount not to exceed $550 million, beginning in June 2004 or later when funding is available.

o        This measure would dedicate up to $465 million of the growth of non Prop. 98 general fund revenues only after amount of non-Prop. 98 general fund appropriations exceed by $1.5 billion the newly established base year allocation. If this criterion is not met, the funding level will be determined by the previous year’s allocation.

o        Guarantees that all Proposition 98 programs will be fully funded first.

  • States the revenues would be used for the following purposes:

A) To fund all existing before and after school programs.

B) To make available the three-year renewable school grants to every eligible California public elementary school (up to $50,000), and middle and junior high school (no greater than $75,000). Charter schools would also be eligible for the grants. (Schools which serve a disproportionately greater number of low income students would receive priority grants up for surplus grants up to existing law maximums.)

C) To expand the use of school facilities for K-9 students when they are not in school by adding computer training, fine arts and physical fitness to the program.

  • Changes the title of the existing After School Learning and Safe Neighborhoods Partnerships Program to the After School Education and Safety Program Act.


California’s After School Learning and Safe Neighborhoods Partnerships Program was enacted in 1998 by the three identical measures SB 1756 (Lockyer), AB 2284 (Torlakson), and AB 1428 (Ortiz). This program began with $50 million, which grew to $87 million by 2000-01 to fund participation of about 100,000 students. Assembly Bill 6 (Cardenas) of 2001 expanded the program to include a before-school component and allocated an additional $30 million for the program’s expansion. In early 2002, the governor reduced the program funding by $22 million to mitigate the budget gap. His initial spending cut was $29.7 million, but approximately $7.5 million of program funds were restored.

Currently, the funding of these programs is in the form of three-year renewable grants, and a 50% local funding match is required. Funding is based on a daily amount per student served, and there is a maximum grant amount per site. Local education agencies (LEAs) and cities, counties, and non-profits that have formed partnerships with LEAs can apply for the grants. Priority funding is granted to schools that provide at least 50 percent of their pupils with subsidized meals.

The program must include both academic support and recreation/youth crime prevention programs. The programs can be operated before school, after school, during summer, intersession or vacations, and all programs have minimum operation requirements. Participants are required to adhere to evaluation standards, including the assessment of academic performance, attendance and behavioral changes.

In the September 11 (2001) Assembly Floor Analysis of AB 6 are laudatory remarks of this program by the State Department of Education: "this program is a success, particularly in its ability to increase student academic outcomes … attending classes more frequently, and enjoying school more. 1999 STAR test results indicate that for all students in the program, reading scores increased by almost 10% and the math scores by more than 7%. … for those students who scored below the 25th national percentile ranking (NPR) in the baseline period, their reading scores increased by 55% and the math scores by more than 70%. … more than one-third of students who scored below the 25th NPR in math scored in a higher quartile in the follow-up year and 28% of those who started in the lowest quartile in reading were in a higher quartile the very next year."

The City of San Diego's "6 to 6" program is the model for the before and after school programs, as reported in the September 7, 2001, Senate Floor Analysis. The "6 to 6" program currently operates in all 297 elementary and middle schools in the city, serving 85 to 100 pupils in each elementary school and 100 to 300 pupils at each middle school, the report indicates. EdSource reports that 57% of the students sampled improved their Stanford-9 reading scores, and 44% improved on their math scores.

A study of LA’s Better Educated Students for Tomorrow program, described as "the grand daddy of on-site after school programs in California," found that 85% of the children said they liked school more since participating in the program. They were absent fewer days and showed positive achievement on standardized test, according to EdSource.

Since 1988, the Federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLC) program has offered after school grants primarily to rural and inner city schools. By November 2001, approximately 775 centers (out of 6,697 nationwide) operated in California, with federal grant funding over $105 million. This revenue has served 58,000 K-12 students and 13,000 adults. For fiscal year 2002, the state is expecting to receive $42 million for new programs out of the $1 billion national allocation. The three-to-five year grants are one-time and a funding match is optional.

Fiscal Impact:

This measure would provide up to $550 million for after school programs when funds are available. The current allocation for the before and after school program is $87 million, which means the program could experience up to $465 million of additional funding.

Policy Considerations:

  • According to the author, and studies cited below, after school programs save taxpayers money by reducing crime, reducing health costs associated with drug and alcohol use, cutting grade repetition (savings ranging from $11 million to $20 million annually), and reducing the need for remedial education. The author has commissioned a study to quantify the taxpayer savings resulting from this policy change. These figures will help voters evaluate this measure.

  • Cal-Tax is currently working on a major project to bridge the budget gap. One of the proposals on this list is to defer payment for expansion of the "Before and After School Learning and Safe Neighborhoods Partnerships Program," which is the mold for this new initiative. The draft of this measure appears to be consistent for Cal-Tax to support, since we are merely asking for a deferment of the program expansion, and this initiative does not take effect until July 2004.

  • This measure would dedicate up to $465 million of the growth of non Prop. 98 general fund revenues only after the amount of non-Prop. 98 general fund appropriations exceed by $1.5 billion the newly established base year allocation. If this criterion is not met, the funding level will be determined by the previous year’s allocation.

Support Arguments:

  • Proposition 49 is funded out of future growth in state revenues, but only after our economy has recovered. It will not require an increase in taxes or affect the current budget. The prestigious Rose Institute says Prop. 49 saves society approximately $9 for every $1 invested. The return to taxpayers alone is approximately $3 for every $1 tax dollar invested.

  • Recent studies of existing after school programs by major universities and think tanks are unanimous – after school programs change lives by improving grades and reducing crime: Police statistics show that violent juvenile crime increases dramatically during the after school hours between 3 p.m.. and 6 p.m., creating a "danger zone" for kids and neighborhoods. These are the hours when kids are most likely to join gangs, use alcohol and tobacco and become addicted to drugs. A study of the most crime-ridden schools in Los Angeles showed crime rates dropped 40% when those schools offered after school programs. Another study showed vandalism and stealing plummeted 66%, while violent acts, carrying concealed weapons, and arrests were reduced 50% among program participants.

  • Prop. 49 improves grades and test scores. Studies show that after school programs increase scores on standardized math and reading tests and improve grades, while decreasing the incidence of grade repetition, dropping out of school, and remedial education.

Support arguments signed by:

Arnold Schwarzenegger; Wayne Johnson, President, California Teachers Association; Warren Rupf, President, California State Sheriffs’ Association

Opposition Arguments:

  • Prop. 49 looks good, but in reality, it disregards principles of good government by reducing government’s flexibility to respond to changing needs and priorities. It takes after school programs and sets them apart from all other needs funded by tax dollars. The program will be entitled to guaranteed funding every year in good times and bad, get a free pass through the budget process every year, and receive special protection not afforded other priorities. Prop. 49 is the first attempt to earmark money for one particular program within the Prop. 98 guarantee.

  • One of the problems with Prop. 49 is that the trigger is too small. Inflation and population growth alone will require twice the amount they’ve calculated. In tough budget times, that will mean other programs will have to be cut or taxes raised.

  • If Prop. 49 passes, other special interests will try similar measures in future elections. The result will be less flexibility to address future and changing needs, less money for non-Prop. 98 programs, and less discretionary money for local school districts.

Opposition arguments signed by:

Barbara Inatsugu, President, League of Women Voters of California

Proposition 50

Title: Water Quality, Supply and Safe Drinking Water Projects. Coastal Wetlands Purchase and Protection. Bonds. Initiative Statute.
Sponsor: Joseph L. Caves

Major Provisions:

  • This measure allows the state to sell $3.44 billion in general obligation bonds for various water-related programs:

o        $950 million for Coastal Protection projects, including: wetlands acquisition, protection, restoration, and watershed projects.

o        $825 million for CALFED Bay-Delta Program, including: water use efficiency and conservation, water supply reliability, ecosystem restoration, watershed protection, water conveyance, delta levee restoration, and water storage planning and studies.

o        $640 million for Integrated Regional Water Management: including various water supply, pollution reduction, water treatment, flood management, and wetlands restoration projects; land and water acquisitions to improve/protect water quality, water supply reliability and fish and wildlife habitat.

o        $435 million for Safe Drinking Water Projects, including: small community drinking water system upgrades, contaminant removal and treatment, water quality monitoring, drinking water source protection.

o        $370 million for Clean Water and Water Quality, including: water pollution prevention, water recycling, water quality improvements, river parkway projects, coastal non-point source pollution control, Lake Tahoe water quality improvements, land and water acquisitions to protect water quality in the Sierra Nevada-Cascade Mountain Region.

o        $100 million for Desalination and Water Treatment Project, including: desalination projects, treatment/removal of specified contaminants, drinking water disinfecting projects.

o        $70 million for Colorado River Management, including: Ecosystem restoration, and canal lining.

o        $50 million for Water Security, including: protection of drinking water systems from terrorist attacks and other deliberate acts of destruction or degradation.


According to the Legislative Analyst, the state administers a number of coastal protection and water resources programs to acquire and protect coastal wetlands and watersheds, conserve and protect water resources, and develop and improve the reliability of water supplies. The state also provides grants and loans to local agencies and nonprofit organizations for similar purposes. These programs are for a variety of specific purposes, including:

  • Coastal Wetlands and Watersheds. The state has provided funds to acquire and restore coastal wetlands and watersheds.

  • The state has provided funds for loans and grants to public water systems for facility improvements to meet safe drinking water standards.

  • The state has also funded the restoration and improvement of fish and wildlife habitat in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary (the Bay-Delta). Additionally, the state has funded water quality and supply projects in the Bay-Delta region which supplies a substantial portion of the water used in the state for domestic, industrial, agricultural, and environmental purposes. These funds have been provided through the CALFED Bay-Delta Program which is a joint state and federal effort to better manage water resources in this region.

  • The state has also provided funds for various other projects throughout the state that improve water quality and/or supply. For example, the state has provided loans and grants to local agencies for the construction and implementation of wastewater treatment, water recycling, and water conservation projects and facilities. Also, the state has provided funds to line canals to conserve Colorado River water.

Funding for these programs has come from various sources, including the state General Fund, federal funds, and general obligation bonds. Since 1990, voters have approved about $3 billion in bonds that are primarily for water-related purposes (Proposition 204 of 1996 and Proposition 13 of 2000, both supported by Cal-Tax). It is estimated that about $1.9 billion of the bonds authorized by these previous bond acts will have been spent or committed to specific projects as of June 2002, leaving a balance of about $1.1 billion for future projects.

In addition, in March 2002, voters approved a $2.6 billion resources bond measure (Proposition 40, which Cal-Tax also supported). A majority of the funds from that bond are for park-related projects, although some funds are available for water conservation and water quality projects. Approximately $1.325 billion of Proposition 40 bond revenues will be used for parks and historical resources; $1.275 billion is dedicated for land, air and water conservation projects, including:

  •  $445 million for specified Conservancies:

  •  $375 million for protection of Water Ways.

  •  $300 million for the Wildlife Conservation Board.

  •  $75 million for grants to preserve agricultural land.

  •  $50 million to Air Resources Board to reduce air pollution in parks.

  •  $20 million to Conservation Corps to acquire and develop support facilities.

  •  $10 million to Forestry and Fire Protection department for urban forestry programs.

Fiscal Impact:  Based on Legislative Analyst projections:

Bond Costs. The cost of these bonds would depend on their interest rates and the time period over which they are repaid. If the bonds were sold at an interest rate of 5.25 percent (the current rate for this type of bond) and repaid over 30 years, the cost would be about $6.9 billion to pay off both the principal ($3.44 billion) and interest ($3.46 billion). The average payment would be about $230 million per year.

However, total costs to the state will be somewhat less. This is because the measure requires that loans made for coastal non-point source pollution control (up to $100 million) be repaid to the General Fund (GF). The repayment of these loans could reduce GF costs by up to $100 million (not including interest payments) over the life of the bonds.

Property Tax-Related Impacts. The measure provides funds for land acquisition by governments and nonprofit organizations, for various purposes including coastal protection. Under state law, property owned by government entities, and by nonprofit organizations under specified conditions, is exempt from property taxation. To the extent that this measure results in property being exempted from taxation, local governments would receive reduced property tax revenues. The LAO estimates reduced property tax revenues ranging from a few million dollars to roughly $10 million annually. Because existing law requires the state to make up property tax losses experienced by schools, about one-half of any losses resulting from this change would be offset by the state.

Operational Costs. State and local governments may incur additional costs to operate or maintain a property or project that is purchased or developed with the bond funds. The amount of these additional costs is unknown.

Policy Considerations:

  • Does this proposal meet Cal-Tax's criteria for evaluating bond proposals, as outlined below?

o        The project to be financed is a capital facility or infrastructure project and the bond funding will pay for land acquisition and capital costs, not for maintenance, operations, non-construction salaries or wages, or ongoing costs.

o        Non-bond financing is not a reasonable option.

o        The project costs are appropriately shared by future taxpayers because the project will have a useful life at least as long as the term of the bonds and future taxpayers will benefit from the facility that is built with the bond proceeds.

o        It is not appropriate for bond funds to pay for equipment, computers, or similar items that will not be useful for at least as long as the debt is outstanding.

o        For state bonds, projects funded must be of state-level concern and importance. State bonds should not pay for local projects that do not have significant extra-territorial impact.

o        Interest rates for indebtedness are not abnormally high and the overall state debt level will not be excessive.

  • This measure was drafted by private parties and received no public hearings or legislative review. With the exclusion of legislative review and public input, how can we be certain that these are the state’s top priority water projects? How were the criteria established for placing these projects in the measure? Can this type of initiative lead to more “pay to play” politics and quid pro quo exchanges by allowing specific water projects to be funded by bond revenues in exchange for donations.

  • This measure funds various local projects, such as upgrading small community drinking water systems. Does the measure violate this Cal-Tax criterion: “For state bonds, projects funded must be of state-level concern and importance. State bonds should not pay for local projects that do not have significant extra-territorial impact.”

  • The LAO estimates a property tax revenue loss ranging from a “few millions to $10 million,” since state land acquisitions would be exempt from property taxation. In addition, the state would be required to reimburse schools for loss property tax revenues. Given the state’s current fiscal condition, a budget deficit of over $23 billion dollars (projected to grow to over $50 billion if state spending is not reduced), can the state afford to lose property tax revenues and compensate schools for loss property tax revenues? Moreover, given the state’s current fiscal condition, does it have the capacity to finance an additional $230 million a year to service this loan?

  • The LAO estimates that $1.1 billion is available for future water projects, and Proposition 40, the $2.6 billion state G.O. bond measure approved five months ago, dedicates an additional $820 million to water projects. This leaves approximately $1.92 billion available for future water-related projects. Is Proposition 50 really necessary at this time?

  • The measure establishes the traditional bond finance committee to determine if it is “necessary or desirable” to issue bonds. Why does this measure lack the formation of a committee to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and projects funded by these bond revenues? This measure lacks accountability.

Support Arguments:

  • Our water supply is threatened by pollution, recurring drought, population growth, and inadequate security. Prop. 50 will help overcome these threats by:  removing dangerous, cancer causing pollutants from our drinking water; creating new water supplies to keep up with population growth; keeping raw sewage and pollution out of our coastal waters and cleaning up beaches and bays; protecting rivers, lakes and streams and preserving coastal wetlands; protecting our reservoirs, dams, pumping stations and pipelines from terrorist threats and intentional contamination.

  • California’s population is expected to nearly double in the next forty years.  Proposition 50 funds state and local water system improvements needed to keep up with population growth by providing new water supplies and supporting water conservation programs.

  • Proposition 50 will use existing tax revenue where it is needed now – to protect our water supply and ensure safe drinking water for all Californians.

Support arguments signed by:

Barbara Inatsugu, President, League of Voters of California; Dan Taylor, Vice President, National Audubon Society; Marguerite Young, California Director, Clean Water Action

Opposition Arguments:

  • In spite of all the water bonds California taxpayers have approved in the last 30 years, our Governor and Legislature have taken no action to develop new water storage facilities. In fact, the construction of dams and reservoirs has been at a virtual standstill for many years.  Most of the bond monies have gone for endless studies of the problems, and to pander unrealistic environmental demands.

  • Prop. 50 has been described as the “stealth bond issue.” Proponents are trying to sell it as a clean drinking water initiative. However, all California taxpayers should know it was drafted by a Sacramento lobbyist for several environmental groups and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. What Prop. 50 really does is dole out bond funds to the pet projects of those environmental groups that paid to put it on the ballot.

  • Recently, a group of 30 taxpayer organizations from around the state met in convention under the name California Taxpayers Coalition and voted unanimously to oppose Proposition 50.

Opposition arguments signed by:

Ernie Dynda, President, United Organizations of Taxpayers; Edward J. (Ted) Costa, CEO, People’s Advocate; Tom C. Rogers, Chairman, Citizens Against Unfair Taxation

Proposition 51

Title: Transportation. Allocation of Sales and Use Taxes Raised from Sale Lease of Motor Vehicles.
Sponsor: Gerald H. Meral
Legislative History: No Legislative History.

Major Provisions:

Creates the Traffic Congestion Relief and Safe Schools Bus Trust Fund.

Reallocates 30% of certain state sales & use tax revenues (those collected on the sale or lease (not rental) of new or used motor vehicles in the state of California) into the newly created fund for transportation, safety and environmental programs. Funds would be deposited in a variety of accounts for various purposes including, mass transit, new school buses, street and road repairs, public transit facilities, disabled and senior transport services, environmental mitigation, bicycle and pedestrian improvements and parking structures (See table below). Monies in each account, however, are first allocated to 45 specific projects which would receive specified amounts of money each year.

Below is a general distribution of proceeds to the various state funds:

Distribution of Funds

% Funding

Passenger Rail and Bus Transit


·   Construction and improvement of transit facilities and purchase of transit vehicles.


·   Passenger rail operations, construction, and improvement, and modernization of passenger rail infrastructure.


·   Grants to improve public facilities for new development near rail or bus transit stations.


·   Grants to provide transportation to seniors and disabled persons.


·   Transit assistance to counties with populations less than 250,000 to improve mobility of people who cannot drive.


Traffic Congestion and Safety


·   Traffic Congestion Relief Program projects and other highway and street projects to improve traffic flow.


·   Grants for highway safety projects.


·   Projects to separate rail lines from streets and highways.




·   Wildlife habitat and land acquisition to mitigate environmental effects of transportation improvements.


·   Grants for diesel emission reduction.


·   Water pollution reduction projects to mitigate water quality impact of transportation improvements.


School Bus


·   Grants to replace older school buses and increase fleet size.


Bicycle and Pedestrian


·   Regional projects to improve convenience and safety of bicycle travel and bicycle education programs.


·   Regional sidewalk and walkway projects.


·   Grants to enforce traffic safety laws along pedestrian and bicycle routes, and to educate the public on safe travel to school.


Distribution of Funds

% Funding

Passenger Rail and Bus Transit


·   Construction and improvement of transit facilities and purchase of transit vehicles.


·   Passenger rail operations, construction, and improvement, and modernization of passenger rail infrastructure.


·   Grants to improve public facilities for new development near rail or bus transit stations.


·   Grants to provide transportation to seniors and disabled persons.


·   Transit assistance to counties with populations less than 250,000 to improve mobility of people who cannot drive.


Traffic Congestion and Safety


·   Traffic Congestion Relief Program projects and other highway and street projects to improve traffic flow.


·   Grants for highway safety projects.


·   Projects to separate rail lines from streets and highways.




·   Wildlife habitat and land acquisition to mitigate environmental effects of transportation improvements.


·   Grants for diesel emission reduction.


·   Water pollution reduction projects to mitigate water quality impact of transportation improvements.


School Bus


·   Grants to replace older school buses and increase fleet size.


Bicycle and Pedestrian


·   Regional projects to improve convenience and safety of bicycle travel and bicycle education programs.


·   Regional sidewalk and walkway projects.


·   Grants to enforce traffic safety laws along pedestrian and bicycle routes, and to educate the public on safe travel to school.


This measure creates a new seven member commission (5 governor appointments, one each to the Speaker and Senate Rules) the purpose of which is to conduct audits of expenditures from the fund.

However, the initiative specifically prohibits subsequent modification to the allocation of monies to the projects specified.

Background: The statewide sales and use tax rate is currently 6%, the vast majority of which goes to the general fund to support state government  Less than 1% of the sales tax revenue is dedicated to transportation programs and services. Beginning in 2003-2004, most state sales tax revenue generated from the sale of gasoline will be use exclusively for transportation increasing the overall portion of state sales tax revenues dedicated to transportation to 4.5%. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, California annually collects about $3.4 billion in sales and use taxes on the sale and lease of new and used motor vehicles and sends approximately $16.5 billion per year to maintain, operate, and improve highways, streets and road, rail and transit systems.

Fiscal Effect: $420 million in 2002-03, $910 million in 2003-04, and increasing amounts annually thereafter, depending on the increase in sales and leasing of motor vehicles.

Policy Considerations:

  • A number of these projects may be appropriate or even necessary to the improvement of congestion and transportation need in their jurisdiction.

  • Do Californian’s want to encourage statewide propositions as a vehicle for funding local transportation projects on a project by project basis?

  • A broad range of organizations and institutions have endorsed this initiative forming an odd conglomeration.  Closer scrutiny of the initiative, however, suggests that this diverse group (developers, environmentalists and local governments) have united be hind this initiative because it offers specific funding for specific projects to satisfy those interests.

  • Dedicating statewide revenues for a specific but broad/statewide purpose (i.e., transportation) is one thing.  Is it a good idea to dedicate statewide tax dollars to fund specified local projects or for specified local purposes without potential for modification?

  • How is a voter in Eureka supposed to know whether any of the 45 or so projects which are specifically allocated money from this project is either efficient or even warranted, much less, whether it is of such statewide importance as to warrant the contribution of his tax dollar?

  • Where’s the oversight? The proposition provides not just the allocation of funds to specific projects, but specifies the scope of the use of the monies provided which is generally very broad. Where’s the accountability? The seven member commission? By the terms of the initiative, no statute can modify the allocation of funds proposed by the initiative which funding appears to exist in perpetuity.

  • Some projects might be labeled as necessary infrastructure improvements, others clearly “luxury” (for example funding the music concourse at Golden Gate Park, the railroad museum, and a boat taxi service on Lake Tahoe). Is this the right time to be funding these types of projects when the state is expecting several years of double digit multi-billion dollar deficits?

Supporting Arguments

YES on 51 requires the use of existing state funds to:

  • Relieve traffic congestion and make safety improvements to California’s most accident prone roads.

  • Improve school bus safety, and provide safe routes for children walking or biking to school.

  • Make road improvements that assist police, fire and ambulance emergency teams and protect highway workers.

  • Reduce oil and gas pollution from roads and streams.

  • Strengthen bridges to prevent earthquake damage.

  • Improve public transit to reduce traffic on roads and to improve mobility for seniors and the disabled.

Supported by:


Bailey Trucking

Bay Area Transportation and Land Use Coalition

Blue & Gold Fleet

California Association for Coordinated Transportation

California Association of Bicycling Organizations

California Bicycle Coalition

California Transit Association

California Trucking Association

East Bay Bicycle Coalition

Exposition Park Stakeholders

Friends of the Green Line

Friends of the Red Line

Goodyear Hay Mart and Trucking

Jim Doherty Trucking, Inc.

Market Street Railway

Masters Tug and Towing

McGuire Lowbed Service

Modern Transit Society

Napa Valley Wine Train, Inc.

Partners for Highway Safety

Rail Passenger Association of California

Red and White Fleet

Richard Hoagland Trucking

Rico Trucking

Sacramento Capitol Station District

Sacramento Regional Transit

Seaboard Marine

South Natomas Transportation Management Association

Southern California Transit Advocates

The Transit Coalition

Westar Marine Services



Amalgamated Transit Union

United Transportation Union



A-1 Construction Equipment Services

Building Industry Association of Kern County

California Business Properties Association

Catellus Development Corporation

Cooley Enterprises Inc.

David S. Taylor Interests

Downtown Sacramento Partnership

Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association (San Francisco)

Figueroa Corridor Partnership (Business Improvement District)

Forsberg Schaller Construction

Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission/ Fresno Local Conservation Corps

Gray and Reynolds Properties

Hillwood Investments

Hornblower Cruises and Events

J. H. Meek and Sons, Inc.

Niegel Land and Development

Pardee Homes

Planning Company Associates

Rocklin Rock LLC

Specialty Environmental Services

Tejon Ranch Company



American River Conservancy

American River Parkway Foundation

Anza-Borrego Foundation

Arden Manor Recreation and Park District

Ballona Wetlands Land Trust

California Coastal Coalition

Center for Natural Lands Management

Coastal Land Trust

Defenders of Wildlife

Endangered Habitats League

Environmental Council of Sacramento

Fallbrook Land Conservancy

Feather River Land Trust

Friends of the Desert Mountains

Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks

Golden Gate National Parks Association

Goleta Valley Land Trust

Greenspace - The Cambria Land Trust

Hills for Everyone

Humane Society of the United States

Lassen Land and Trails Trust

League to Save Lake Tahoe

Los Angeles Conservation Corps

Mission Resource Conservation District

Moro Estuary Greenbelt Alliance

Mountains Restoration Trust

Muir Heritage Land Trust

National Parks Conservation Association

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense Council

North East Trees

Orange County Conservation Corps

Pitzer College Ecology Center

Planning and Conservation League

The River Center

San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust

San Diego River Park - Lakeside Conservancy

San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy

San Francisco Conservation Corps

San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust

San Jose Conservation Corps

Shasta Land Trust

Sierra Club California

The Sierra Fund

Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Association

Sunrise Recreation and Park District

Tides Foundation

Trust for Public Land

Tulare County Conservation Corps

Tuolumne County Land Trust

Union of Concerned Scientists

Volcan Mountain Preserve Foundation



City of Calabasas

City of Cathedral City

City of Desert Hot Springs

City of Indio

City of Inglewood

City of Irvine

City of La Canada Flintridge

City of Laguna Woods

City of Oakland

City of Orange Cove

City of Palm Springs

City of Rancho Mirage

City of Sacramento

Roger Dickinson, Supervisor, County of Sacramento

Port of Oakland

Sam Pratt, Councilman, City of Temecula



Antioch Unified School District

California Association of School Transportation Officials

Delaine Eastin, California Superintendent of Public Instruction

Fontana Unified School District

Fresno Unified School District

Hamilton Union High School

Hart-Ransom Union School District

Kings Canyon Unified School District

La Mesa-Spring Valley School District

McKinleyville Union School District

Mid-Placer Public Schools

Modesto City Schools

Monrovia Unified School District

Ojai Unified School District

Palm Springs Unified School District

Planada School District

Pomona Unified School District

Red Bluff Union School District

San Bernadino City Unified School District

Small School Districts Association

School Transportation Coalition

University of Southern California

Wasco Union School District

Wheatland School District

Woodland Joint Unified School District



California Organization of Police and Sheriffs



American Lung Association of California

California Nurses Association

California School Nurses Organization



California Safe Kids Network

Greater Sacramento Safe Kids Coalition

Inland Empire Safe Kids Coalition

Orange County Safe Kids Coalition

Placer County Safe Kids Coalition

San Joaquin Safe Kids Coalition

Ventura County Safe Kids Coalition



California Academy of Sciences

California Public Interest Research Group

California State Railroad Museum Foundation

The Crocker Art Museum

The Exploratorium

Exposition Park Stakeholders

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Fort Mason Foundation

Hollywood Beautification Team

Music Concourse Community Partnership

Sacramento Valley Residents for Responsible Growth

San Francisco Maritime National Park



American Farmland Trust

Amistad Ranches

Bullseye Farms

Cilker Orchards

Milk Producers Council



Philippine Action Group for the Environment



California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, Inc.

Resources for Independent Living, Inc.

Opposition Arguments:

  • Does anyone still believe there is a free lunch?

  • The proponents of Proposition 51 apparently think so.

  • Their list of pork barrel, special interest projects totaling billions of dollars apparently will come from “existing funds.”

  • Well, Proposition 51 will ad about $1billion yearly to a significant state deficit predicted by the Legislative Analyst for years to come.

  • So, “use of existing funds” means one of two things: either critical spending, like public safety or higher education, is cut.

  • Or taxes will have to be raised.

  • This is not free lunch.

  • Ask yourself these question before you vote on Proposition 51:

o        With ongoing budget deficits, should your tax dollars be spent to build paths for golf carts at Leisure World? The spending is LOCKED into Prop. 51.

o        With ongoing budget deficits, should the state fund freeway interchanges for developers who paid to put Prop. 51 on the ballot? A freeway interchange for a campaign contributor proposing a large development in LA County is LOCKED into Prop. 51.

o        Do you think taxes should be raised or programs cut to build and maintain museums and a music concourse? Or should private funds pay for these luxury projects? Prop. 51 REQUIRES taxpayer spending on these projects.

o        Do you think priorities for your tax dollars should be determined by special interests which receive your tax dollars? Prop. 51 has numerous projects which benefit specific contributors.

o        Say NO to this pay-to-play scheme. Don’t add $1 billion annually to the state deficit.

Opposed by:

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (Jonathan Coupal); California Tax Reform Association (Lenny Goldberg); National Tax Limitation Committee (Lou Uhler)

Proposition 52

Title: Election Day Voter Registration Act of 2002
Sponsor: Lance Olson (Olson, Hagel, Waters & Fishburn, LLP) and Vigo G. Nielsen, Jr. (Nielsen, Merksamer, Mueller, Parrinello & Naylor)

Legislative History: AB 1094 (Hertzberg) 1999-2000 Session. Originally proposed election day voter registration, but in face of gubernatorial opposition, amended to permit registration up to 15 days in advance of the election.

Major Provisions:

Under current law and starting this year, Californians who desire to vote at an upcoming election must register with county election officials by the 15th day prior to the election. Prior to this year, Californian’s had to register at least 29 days in advance of the election. This was put into place by AB 1094 (Hertzberg) as a compromise to its originally proposed election day voter registration proposal.

This initiative would move that time line back to 29 days, but allow a new registration/re-registration process for the period between 28 days and the election with election day registration at the polling place.

Election Day Registration and Voting: This measure would permit an eligible voter, beginning 28 days prior to the election and up to and including the day of the election, to register at any office of the county elections official in the county in which the voter resides. If the voter chooses to register or reregister on the day of the election they may do so at the place of voting by presenting “proof of current residence.”

Election Day Registration Fund: This measure establishes the “Election Day Registration Fund” within the State Treasury. Each year, approximately $6 million would be deposited into the fund from the state’s General Fund and distributed to counties for their costs of election day voter registration (including hiring and training additional personnel, providing materials, and expanding voter outreach programs). Counties receiving funds would be required to submit an annual report.

Increased Penalties for Voter Fraud:  This measure increases the penalties for fraudulent registration or voting activity. It also creates a new crime of conspiracy of two or more people who commit specified election fraud punishable by imprisonment in state prison.


At the March 2002 primary only 24.6% of the voting-age population in California showed up at the polls and a historically low 34.6% of registered voters showed up. Was the primary too early, is it too hard to have to remember to register prior to voting, or are voters simply increasingly turned off by politics in the once Golden State? Is it apathy, cynicism, confusion, or disillusionment?

At the same time, California has some of the most lax set of standards for voting and voter registration in the nation. To register, simply fill out a registration card 15 days prior to the election listing your Name, address (just a description of where you live will suffice), date and place of birth, and party affiliation if any. That’s it. You can even register or re-register online. When you show up at the polls, no ID is required to verify that you are who you say you are. Absentee voting is even easier, if only requiring a little more advanced planning. The whole movement towards identification and voter registration verification has been marred by accusations of racism and discrimination against those who might be required to present valid identification.

Since 1995, millions of Californians have wither registered or re-registered to vote while conducting transactions through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State also receives hundreds of complaints each election from voters who have not had their voter registration information promptly sent to county election officials by DMV.

Along comes Proposition 52 which is being paid for by Robert McKay of San Francisco (contributions to date exceed $1.7 million and he has publicly committed to spending $8 million). Mr. McKay heads up McKay Investment Group, is the heir to the Taco Bell fortune and has served as a Director of since August 2001.

In the “hire both sides” column Mr. McKay has hired as co-drafters of the initiative two of the state’s leading political lawyers: Republican Vigo G. “Chip” Nielsen of Nielsen, Merksamer, Mueller, Parrinello & Naylor and Democrat Lance Olsen of Olson, Hagel, Waters & Fishburn. The lead consultants are Republican Donna Lucas and Democrat Gale Kaufman.

Six other states have implemented Election Day Voting (EDV): Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin since the mid-1970s, Idaho, New Hampshire and Wyoming since 1994.

Proof of Current Residence: Under the initiative, on the day of the election, in order to register AND vote, the voter must present either a California drivers license, California ID or any TWO of the following:  Military ID, College or university fee card or student ID; Lease agreement; Mortgage statement; Property tax statement; Income tax return; Utility bill; credit card bill; Bank statement; Printed check or bank deposit slip; vehicle registration; mail addressed to the voter at his or her current residence address; or Sworn written statement given in the presence of a poll worker at the polling place from a registered voter in the precinct stating that he or she know s and can identify the person who is attempting to vote, and attesting to the name and residence address of the person attempting to vote (the last two cannot be used together).

Fiscal Effect:  Appropriates $6 million annually (adjusted for cost-of-living increases) for county costs of election-day voter registration activities. Unknown costs to the Secretary of state and state general fund for prosecutions and imprisonments of convicted violators.

Policy Considerations:

  • Voters at the polls are at or near all time lows both as to both percentage of eligible voters and percentage of registered voters. Should we presume that the problem is difficulty in registration?

  • If apathy, cynicism or disillusionment, are causes for low voter turnout, is making it easier to register and vote going to resolve that problem?

  • If making it easier to vote also increases the opportunity for the commission of voter fraud, is making voting easier worth the price?

  • What’s the taxpayer impact?

  • Is a utility bill and single piece of mail addressed to the voter sufficient proof of identity?

  • How are polling VOLUNTEERS supposed to enforce ID requirements or competently verify their veracity?  For example, how would a polling place volunteer be able to ascertain the legitimacy of a piece of mail or a lease agreement or mortgage statement?

  • Is democracy better or worse off making voting easier but failing to adequately secure its legitimacy?

  • Where is the passport as a valid form of ID?

Supporting Arguments

  • Every California citizen who is legally eligible should be able to vote on election day. Anyone who tries to vote illegally should be stopped and prosecuted.

  • Presently, California law makes it nearly impossible for some citizens to vote – and too easy for other to commit voter fraud.

  • Prop. 52 ensures that every eligible citizen has the opportunity to vote, and increases penalties for voter fraud.

  • Prop. 52 will:

o        Give all legally eligible citizens the right to vote on election day.

o        Allow Legally eligible citizens to register and vote on election day only with a valid California driver’s license or two required forms of identification proving they are California residents voting at the right polling place.

o        Double the penalties for voting illegally or for voter fraud.

o        Provide training to election day poll workers on processing voter registrations and preventing voter fraud.

  • Prop. 52 Prevents Voter Fraud.

    o        Under current state law, there’s no requirement to show identification when registering to vote. Voter fraud laws are too weak and need to be strengthened.

    o        Currently County elections officials aren’t required to report voter fraud to law enforcement officials.

    o        The existing system has loopholes that have even allowed pets to be registered as voters!

    Supported by:

    The League of Women Voters; California Professional Firefighters; California Nurses Association; Lee Baca, LA County Sheriff; March Fong Eu, Former Secretary of State

    Opposition Arguments:

    • Don’t be fooled.  Prop. 52 is full of loopholes that corrupt our election process and will lead to widespread voter fraud.

    • That’s why Law Enforcement leaders like Contra Costa County District Attorney Gary Yancey, Ventura County District Attorney Mike Bradbury, Shasta County District Attorney McGregor Scott and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Thomas all say NO on 52.

    • FACT: Prop. 52 makes it easier for CRIMINALS and NON-CITIZENS to vote. That’s not fair to qualified voters who follow the rules.

    • FACT: Prop. 52 does not require a drivers license or other government identification to register and vote on election day. Under Prop. 52, a piece of junk mail is considered a valid form of ID!

    • FACT: Hidden in the fine print is a change in the law that makes proving FRAUD almost impossible. The authors of Proposition 52 are trying to fool you with take of tough penalties. Tough penalties mean nothing if it’s impossible to prove the crime was committed.

    • FACT: 44 other state wisely DO NOT ALLOW Election Day registration.

    • “Prop. 52 would bilk taxpayers $6 million yearly for a program that allows dishonest politicians to steal elections” Paul Gann, President, Gann Taxpayer Organization.

    • Remember Florida?  Don’t let it happen here. Other states are moving to tighten their laws against election fraud. Prop. 52 sends California in the opposite direction.

    • The Backers of Prop. 52 are trying to fool you. Don’t let them get away with it.

    Opposed by:

    Honorable Ed Jagels, District Attorney of Kern County; Roy Burns, President, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs; Jill Schall, President, Women Prosecutors of California; Honorable Jan Scully, District Attorney for Sacramento County; Honorable Mike Carona, Sheriff of Orange County; Sharon Runner, Co-Chair, Citizens & Law Enforcement Against Election Fraud