California Proposition 89, Public Funding for Political Campaigns (2006)

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California Proposition 89 was on the November 7, 2006 ballot in California as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated.

The measure was designed to give eligible candidates public funding for political campaigns, and to put limits on contributions for political campaigns.

Election results

Proposition 89
Defeatedd No6,132,61874.3%
Yes 2,124,728 25.7%

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

Political Campaigns. Public Financing. Corporate Tax Increase. Campaign Contributions and Expenditure Limits. Initiative Statute.


Proposition 89 2006.PNG

The question on the ballot was:

"Should eligible candidates for state elective offices receive public campaign funding that is supported by new taxes on corporations and financial institutions, and should contribution limits be imposed on those candidates who do not receive public campaign funding?"


The official summary provided to describe Proposition 89 said:

  • Provides that candidates for state elective office meeting certain eligibility requirements, including collection of a specified number of $5.00 contributions from voters, may voluntarily receive public campaign funding from Fair Political Practices Commission, in amounts varying by elective office and election type.
  • Increases income tax rate on corporations and financial institutions by 0.2 percent to fund program.
  • Imposes new limits on campaign contributions to state-office candidates and campaign committees, and new restrictions on contributions by lobbyists, state contractors.
  • Limits certain contributions and expenditures by corporations.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • "Increased revenues (primarily from increased taxes on corporations and financial institutions) totaling more than $200 million annually. The funds would be spent on the public financing of political campaigns for state elected officials."



The official voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 89 were signed by:

Arguments in favor

Supporters of Proposition 89 argued that in Proposition 89 was enacted, it would:

  • "Help level the playing field and make our elections more fair and competitive—so that candidates with the best ideas have a chance to win, even if they are not rich or well connected to wealthy special interest groups and lobbyists."
  • "Require candidates to adhere to strict spending limits and reject special interest contributions in order to qualify for public financing.
  • "Ban contributions to candidates by lobbyists and state contractors."
  • "Set limits on outside, so-called “independent” campaign committees created by big contributors to influence elections."
  • "Limit to $10,000 the amount corporations can spend directly on ballot measure campaigns."
  • "Restrict contributions by corporations, unions, and individuals to $500 for candidates for state Legislature, $1,000 to candidates for statewide office."
  • "Establish tough penalties, including jail time and removing candidates from office who break the law."


$5,799,497 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Proposition 89.[2]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
California Nurses Association $4,988,153
Stephen M. Silberstein $100,000
Herbert M. Sandler $100,000



The official voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 89 were signed by:

Arguments against

Arguments made in opposition to Proposition 89 in the official voter guide included:

  • "Proposition 89 was put on the ballot by a single special interest group, the California Nurses Association, that wants an UNFAIR advantage in California elections while small businesses and individuals are effectively SHUT OUT of the political process. Even other labor organizations like those representing teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement do not support Proposition 89, because it RESTRICTS their participation in the political process as well."
  • "The authors of Proposition 89 say they are trying to stop big corporations from having too much influence. But, Proposition 89 restricts many small businesses from backing candidates or supporting and opposing initiatives. Even a mom-and-pop business, if it is incorporated like many are, is restricted under Proposition 89."
  • "Proposition 89 also restricts many nonprofit groups that want to educate voters about the issues they care about. For example, a group of crime victim advocates will be limited in warning voters about a candidate who is soft on crime. Teachers will be limited in helping elect candidates who will support improving our schools."
  • "Proposition 89 contains a $200 MILLION TAX INCREASE and gives that money to politicians to spend on their negative TV ads and junk mail."
  • "Proposition 89 places virtually no limits on how the politicians spend their taxpayer-financed campaign funds. It means that we, the taxpayers, will be paying for their negative ads!"[1]


$5,693,511 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "no" vote on Proposition 89.[3]

Donors of $150,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
California Chamber of Commerce $395,000
California Hospital Association $300,000
Chevron Corp. $250,000
California Business Roundtable $250,000
PHRMA $200,000
George Joseph $200,000
California Teachers Association $200,000
State Farm Insurance $195,000
Anthem Blue Cross $195,000
California Building Industry Association $150,000
United Healthcare $150,000

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

As an initiated state statute, 373,816 valid signatures were required to qualify Proposition 89 for the ballot.

External links

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