California Proposition 88, Statewide $50 Parcel Tax (2006)
Proposition 88 would have added a new section to the California Constitution to impose an annual $50 tax on most parcels of land in California. This new tax would have raised about $450 million each year. The money would have been allocated to individual school districts across the state.
If Proposition 88 had been approved, it would have added four entirely new sections to four different articles of the California Constitution.
Specifically, it would have:
- Added a new Section 6.2 to Article IX of the California Constitution.
- Added a new Section 21.5 to Article XIII A of the California Constitution.
- Added a new Section 14 to Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
- Added a new Section 8.3 to Article XVI of the California Constitution.
Text of measure
The ballot title was:
The question on the ballot was:
- "Should the California Constitution be amended to levy an annual $50 real property tax on most parcels with the funds allocated to five specified K-12 education programs?"
The official summary provided to describe Proposition 88 said:
- Provides additional public school funding for kindergarten through grade 12.
- Funded by $50 tax on each real property parcel.
- Exempts certain elderly and disabled homeowners.
- Funds must be used for class size reduction, textbooks, school safety, Academic Success facility grants, and data system to evaluate educational program effectiveness.
- Provides for reimbursement to General Fund to offset anticipated decrease in income tax revenues due to increased deductions attributable to new parcel tax.
- Requires school district audits, penalties for fund misuse.
- Revenue excluded from minimum education funding (Proposition 98) calculations.
- See also: Fiscal impact statement
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:
- "State parcel tax revenue of roughly $450 million annually, allocated to school districts for specified education programs."
The official voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 88 were signed by:
- Reed Hastings, Past President, California State Board of Education; CEO of Netflix
- Jack O'Connell, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Shelbi Wilson, California Teacher of the Year, 2006
- Russell "Rusty" Hammer, former Chamber of Commerce Executive
- Stephanie Pridmore, Local PTA President
Arguments in favor
Supporters of Prop 88 argued that:
- "Students in one-third of California classrooms don’t have a textbook to take home—and many don’t even have a textbook to use in class."
- "Teachers are paying for school materials out of their own pockets."
- "Too many California classrooms are still overcrowded."
- "Proposition 88 will help California graduate the skilled, educated workforce that is critical to a healthy business environment and our state’s economic prosperity."
- "Reduce class size so students get more individualized instruction."
- "Provide textbooks and other learning materials, so teachers don’t have to pay for these fundamental necessities out of their own pockets."
- "Make schools safer for students and teachers and help stop campus violence and gangs."
$11,957,645 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Proposition 88.
Donors of $100,000 or more were:
|L. John Doerr||$2,000,000|
The official voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 88 were signed by:
- Dr. Tom Bogetich, retired executive director, California State Board of Education
- Jon Coupal, president, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
- Joel Fox, president, Small Business Action Committee
- Clifford Corigliano, Sr. Teacher of the Year, 2003
- Art Pedroza, member, California and American Federations of Teachers, AFL-CIO
- Lorie McCann, Parent-Teachers Association Local President
Arguments made in opposition to Proposition 88 included:
- "Proposition 88 does nothing to assure that funds raised in your community are spent on your schools. Proposition 88 lets the State Legislature give your tax money to any school district in the state."
- "Proposition 88 creates a whole new kind of statewide property tax. Currently, all property taxes are collected locally and are used for local services, such as improving your local schools, reducing traffic congestion, improving health care, and increasing firefighting, paramedic, and law enforcement capabilities. The Proposition 88 property parcel tax goes to the State first."
- "Proposition 88 would impose the first statewide property tax since 1910 and would encourage other special interests to pass more and bigger property parcel taxes for their self interest causes."
- "Opening the door to the new property parcel tax could lead to huge new property taxes, contrary to the clear intent of Proposition 13 to limit property taxes. We could see owners of small homes or mom-and-pop stores taxed out of their homes and shops."
- "This new tax is never ending; we will pay it forever, whether it does anything to help schools or not!"
- "Proposition 88 gives Sacramento politicians increased power to decide where and how to spend your money."
- "Proposition 88 uses a loophole to get around the two-thirds vote requirement in Proposition 13 to increase taxes. Proposition 13 requires a two-thirds voter approval to impose a local property parcel tax. Proposition 88 would impose a new statewide property parcel tax with only a simple majority vote. As a result, it is much easier to impose new statewide parcel taxes than a local parcel tax. This is another good reason to stop statewide property parcel taxes now before we are flooded with property parcel tax propositions."
$1,176,434 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "no" vote on Proposition 88.
Donors of $100,000 or more were:
|Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association||$464,775|
|American Resort Development Association||$150,000|
|Small Business Action Committee||$100,369|
|California Association of Realtors||$100,000|
|California Building Industry Association||$100,000|
Path to the ballot
- See also: California signature requirements
As an initiated constitutional amendment, 598,105 valid signatures were required to qualify Proposition 88 for the ballot.
- Official California Voter Pamphlet information about Proposition 88
- PDF of the mailed November 7, 2006 voter guide for Proposition 88
- Proposition 88 in the Smart Voter Guide
- Analysis of Proposition 88 from the Institute of Governmental Studies
- Guide to Proposition 88 from the California Voter Foundation
- Summary of donors to and against 88 from Cal-Access
- Donors for and against Proposition 88 from Follow The Money
- Official declaration of the November 7, 2006 results on ballot propositions