California Proposition 19, Bonds for Fish and Wildlife Habitat (1984)
Proposition 19 provided $35 million for the Wildlife Conservation Board and the State Coastal Conservancy for the acquisition, enhancement, and development of habitat areas.
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:
Approval of this measure would affect state and local government finances in the following ways:
1. Cost of Paying Off the Bonds
The general obligation bonds authorized by this measure normally would be paid off over a period of up to 20 years. Under current law the state can sell bonds at any interest rate up to 11 percent.
Given current market conditions, the bonds probably would be sold at an interest rate of about 9 percent. If the full $85 million in general obligation bonds were sold at a 9-percent interest rate and paid off over a 20-year period, the interest cost to the state would be approximately $80.3 million. This cost would be more or less if the bonds were sold at interest rates above or below 9 percent. The cost of paying off the bonds would be paid from the State General Fund, using revenues received in future years.
2. Other Fiscal Effects
Generally, increased borrowing tends to increase interest costs. The state and local governments could incur higher costs under other bond finance programs if the bond sales authorized by this measure result in a higher overall interest rate on state and local bonds. These additional costs cannot be estimated.
The interest paid by the state on these bonds would be exempt from the state personal income tax. Therefore, to the extent that the bonds were purchased by California taxpayers in lieu of taxable investments, the state would experience a loss of income tax revenue. It is not possible, however, to estimate what this revenue loss would be.
To the extent that additional lands are acquired by the Wildlife Conservation Board, by the State Coastal Conservancy, and by local public agencies as a result of this measure, the agency responsible for managing these lands would incur additional costs. The amount of these operating and maintenance costs is unknown and would depend on how the acquired properties are managed.
To the extent that the state acquires privately owned lands under this measure, local governments would experience a reduction in property tax revenues. The size of this loss would depend on (a) the local property tax rate and (b) the assessed value of the lands acquired. Under existing law, state payments to school districts would increase automatically to cover the property tax revenue losses incurred by school districts, but no state payments would be made to cover the property tax losses experienced by other local entities.
Path to the ballot
The California State Legislature voted to put Proposition 19 on the ballot via Senate Bill 512 (Statutes of 1984, Ch. 6).