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California Proposition 67, Tax on Telephone Calls (2004)
California Proposition 67, or the Emergency Medical Care Initiative, was on the November 2, 2004 election ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was overwhelmingly defeated.
Proposition 67 would have imposed a 3.7% tax on in-state telephone calls. Supporters of Proposition 67 emphasized that need in California for more emergency rooms. Opponents of 67 emphasized the fact that it was a tax increase.
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Text of measure
The ballot title was:
The question on the ballot was:
- "Should the telephone surcharge be increased and other funds for emergency room physicians, hospital emergency rooms, community clinics, emergency personnel training/equipment, and 911 telephone system be allocated?"
- Provides funding to physicians for uncompensated emergency care, hospitals for emergency services, community clinics for uncompensated care, emergency personnel training/equipment, and emergency telephone system improvements.
- Funded by addition of 3% to existing surcharge rate on telephone use within California, portions of tobacco taxes, and criminal and traffic penalties.
- Limits surcharge collected by residential telephone service providers to 50 cents per month. Monthly cap does not apply to cell phones or business lines.
- Excludes funding from government appropriations limitations, and telephone surcharge from Proposition 98's school spending requirements.
- See also: Fiscal impact statement
The California Legislative Analyst's Office provided an estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact for Proposition 67. That estimate was:
- Increased state revenues of about $500 million annually from an increased surcharge on telephone bills that would be used (1) to reimburse physicians and hospitals for uncompensated emergency medical care and (2) for other specified purposes. This amount would probably grow in future years.
- Continued funding of about $32 million annually in Proposition 99 tobacco tax funds to reimburse physicians and community clinics for uncompensated medical services.
Campaign spending on Proposition 67 was fairly even, with the "Yes on 67" side spending $6.7 million and the "No on 67" side spending $7.6 million.
Larger donors to Proposition 67 included:
- California Healthcare Association: $2.447 million
- California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians: $1.5 million
The "No on 67" committee was called the "Stop the Phone Tax No on 67" committee. Some of its larger donors included:
- SBC Communications: $4.18 million
- Verizon: $1.2 million
- Cingular Wireless: $1 million
- Official Voter Guide to Proposition 67
- November 2004 election results from the California Secretary of State
- LAO analysis of Proposition 67
- Guide to Proposition 67 from the California Voter Foundation
- Analysis of Proposition 67 from the Institute of Governmental Studies
- Archived copy of the "No on 67" campaign website
- Archived copy of the "Yes on 67" campaign website
- PDF of the mailed November 2, 2004 voter guide for Propositions 59, 60, 60A, 61-64, 66-72