California Proposition 56, Lower Threshold Required to Pass the State Budget (March 2004)
Proposition 56 was intended to penalize members of the California State Legislature for every day that the state budget is overdue. The proposition would also have lowered the threshold required pass a budget and enact new budget-related taxes to 55% from the 2/3 vote currently required. The 2/3 supermajority was created with the passage of California Proposition 13 in 1978. Proposition 56 was officially known as the Budget Accountability Act.
Donations to pass the measure exceeded $15.8 million, while donations to defeat the measure were in the range of $9.4 million.
Text of measure
The ballot title was:
The question on the ballot was:
- "Should the State Constitution and certain statutes be amended to allow the state legislature to pass the state budget and budget-related tax and appropriation bills with a 55 percent vote, and to make other changes to the budget process?"
- Permits Legislature to enact budget and budget-related tax and appropriation bills with 55% vote rather than 2/3 vote currently required.
- Requires that Legislature, Governor permanently lose salary, expenses for each day budget is late.
- Requires that Legislature stay in session until budget is passed.
- Requires budget summary in state ballot pamphlet and link to Internet website with legislators' voting records on budget and related taxes.
- Requires 25% of certain state revenue increases be deposited in reserve fund, which cannot be used to increase spending.
- See also: Fiscal impact statement
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:
- This measure would have varying state fiscal impacts from lowering the legislative vote requirement for budget-related spending and tax increases - including changes in spending and potentially significant increases in state tax revenues in some years. Fiscal impacts would depend primarily on the composition and actions of future Legislatures.
The ballot arguments in favor of Proposition 56 were signed by:
- Lenny Goldberg, Executive Director, California Tax Reform Association
- Jacqueline Jacobberger, President, League of Women Voters of California
- Carla Nino, President, California State PTA
- Helen Russ, President, California AARP
- Dan Terry, President, California Professional Firefighters
The ballot arguments opposing Proposition 56 were signed by:
- Larry McCarthy, President, California Taxpayers Association
- Allan Zaremberg, President, California Chamber of Commerce
- David Herman, Executive Director, The Seniors Coalition
The California Republican Party gave $750,000 to defeat it.
- Voter Information Guide with text of Proposition 56
- California Voter Foundation Guide to Proposition 56
- Donor details of Proposition 56, pro and con.
- March 2, 2004 ballot proposition election results
- LAO analysis of Proposition 56
- Smart Voter on Proposition 56