California Proposition 1A, Local Property and Sales Taxes to Remain with Local Governments (2004)

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This page is about a 2004 California proposition labeled "Proposition 1A." Consult the Proposition 1A disambiguation page if you are looking for a different Proposition 1A.

California Proposition 1(A) was on the November 2, 2004 ballot in California as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was overwhelmingly approved.

Proposition 1A said that local property and sales tax revenue is to remain with local governments rather than going into the statewide treasury. The only exception is if the governor declares an emergency and 2/3rds of the California State Legislature agrees.

Over $8.7 million was spent by supporters of the measure (including Walmart) on their campaign; no money was spent by any opponents.

Election results

Proposition 1A
Approveda Yes 9,411,198 83.7%
See also: California ballot propositions that were approved with a vote of 80% or more

Constitutional changes

California Constitution
Proposition 1A:

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

Protection of Local Government Revenues. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.


Chart prepared for the Proposition 1A voter guide by the LAO to illustrate the history of major state actions regarding local finance

The question on the ballot was:

"Should local property tax and sales tax revenues remain with local government thereby safeguarding funding for public safety, health, libraries, parks, and other local services? Provisions can only be suspended if the Governor declares a fiscal necessity and two-thirds of the Legislature concur."


The summary of the ballot measure prepared by the California Attorney General said:

  • Protects local funding for public safety, health, libraries, parks, and other locally delivered services.
  • Prohibits the State from reducing local governments' property tax proceeds.
  • Allows the provisions to be suspended only if the Governor declares a fiscal necessity and two-thirds of the Legislature approve the suspension. Suspended funds must be repaid within three years.
  • Also requires local sales tax revenues to remain with local government and be spent for local purposes.
  • Requires the State to fund legislative mandates on local governments or suspend their operation.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The California Legislative Analyst's Office provided an estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact for Proposition 55. That estimate was:

Proposition 1A would reduce state authority over local finances. Over time, it could have significant fiscal impacts on state and local governments, as described below.
Long-Term Effect on Local and State Finance
  • Higher and More Stable Local Government Revenues. Given the number and magnitude of past state actions affecting local taxes, this measure’s restrictions on state authority to enact such measures in the future would have potentially major fiscal effects on local governments. For example, the state could not enact measures that permanently shift property taxes from local governments to schools in order to reduce state costs for education programs. In these cases, this measure would result in local government revenues being more stable—and higher—than otherwise would be the case. The magnitude of increased local revenues is unknown and would depend on future actions by the state. Given past actions by the state, however, this increase in local government revenues could be in the billions of dollars annually. These increased local revenues could result in higher spending on local programs or decreased local fees or taxes.
  • Lower Resources for State Programs. In general, the measure’s effect on state finances would be the opposite of its effect on local finances. That is, this measure could result in decreased resources being available for state programs than otherwise would be the case. This reduction, in turn, would affect state spending and/or taxes. For example, because the state could not use local government property taxes permanently as part of the state’s budget solution, the Legislature would need to take alternative actions to resolve the state’s budget difficulties—such as increasing state taxes or decreasing spending on other state programs. As with the local impact, the total fiscal effect also could be in the billions of dollars annually.
  • Less Change to the Revenue of Individual Local Governments. Proposition 1A restricts the state’s authority to reallocate local tax revenues to address concerns regarding funding for specific local governments or to restructure local government finance. For example, the state could not enact measures that changed how local sales tax revenues are allocated to cities and counties. In addition, measures that reallocated property taxes among local governments in a county would require approval by two-thirds of the Members of each house of the Legislature (rather than majority votes). As a result, this measure would result in fewer changes to local government revenues than otherwise would have been the case.

"Poison pill"

The text of Proposition 1A contained "poison pill" language with respect to Proposition 65, which was on the same ballot. Proposition 1A's "poison pill" language said:

"That the people find and declare that this measure and the Taxpayers and Public Safety Protection Act, which appears as Proposition 65 on the November 2, 2004, general election ballot (hereafter Proposition 65) both relate to local government, including matters concerning tax revenues and reimbursement for the cost of state mandates, in a comprehensive and substantively conflicting manner. Because this measure is intended to be a comprehensive and competing alternative to Proposition 65, it is the intent of the people that this measure supersede in its entirety Proposition 65, if this measure and Proposition 65 both are approved and this measure receives a higher number of affirmative votes than Proposition 65. Therefore, in the event that this measure and Proposition 65 both are approved and this measure receives a higher number of affirmative votes, none of the provisions of Proposition 65 shall take effect."

Campaign donations

The ballot measure campaign was heavily subsidized by:

Campaign consultants

The campaign to pass Proposition 1A paid Winner & Mandabach Campaigns slightly over $2,543,000 in consulting fees. The petition drive management company, Progressive Campaigns, Inc., received over $2,776,000 for petition circulating and campaign consulting.[1]

Path to the ballot

Proposition 1A was voted onto the ballot by the California State Legislature via Senate Constitutional Amendment 4 of the 2003–2004 Regular Session (Resolution Chapter 133, Statutes of 2004).

Votes in legislature to refer to ballot
Chamber Ayes Noes
Assembly 64 13
Senate 34 5

External links