California Proposition 94, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians Gaming Compact (2008)

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California Proposition 94 was on the February 5, 2008 ballot in California as a veto referendum, where it was approved.

If Proposition 94 had been defeated, it would have nullified a gaming compact enacted in early 2007 between the state of California and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians. It was one of four extremely similar ballot measures that appeared simultaneously on the February 5 ballot.

All four similar gaming compact measures allow certain Native American tribes in California to add additional slot machines in exchange for giving the state government a higher percentage of their profits from the new slot machines. The four ballot measures differed only in which tribe they referred to and how many slot machines that tribe was allowed to add as a result of the compacts.

See also: California Tribal Gaming Compacts (2008)

Election results

California Proposition 94
Approveda Yes 4,812,313 55.6%

Specific provisions

Proposition 94:

  1. Allowed the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians to add an additional 5,500 slot machines in the two casinos where it already operates 2,000 slot machines.
  2. Requires the tribe to make a minimum $44,500,000 annual payment to the state government, and pay an additional percentage of the revenue generated from the additional slot machines to the state. Currently, the tribe pays about $29 million a year for its existing 2,000 slot machines.[1]
  3. Required the tribe to enter into an enforceable agreement to "reduce or avoid significant environmental impacts and to pay for increased public service costs, or go to arbitration to settle disagreements on these issues." This is a stronger degree of regulation than existed in the 1999 gaming compacts that were supplanted by Proposition 94.

The 1999 compact

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Local Measures

In 1999, the Governor and 58 tribes, including the Pechanga tribe, reached agreements on casino compacts, which were also approved by the state legislature and under federal agreement. These compacts established that tribes have exclusive rights to operate certain gambling activities in California.

Under the 1999 compacts, the Pechanga tribe was:

  • Allowed to operate 2000 slot machines
  • Required to pay $29 million annually to the state, $300,000 to the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) and $28.3 million to the Special Distribution Fund (SDF) which covers shortfalls in the RSTF, funding programs that assist people with gambling problems, paying costs of state agencies that regulate tribal casinos, and making grants to local governments affected by tribal casinos.
  • Required to give unions access to the employees for purposes of organizing. Both the tribe and the union can express their opinions so long as they do not threaten employees, use force against them, or promise benefits.[2]

Under the 1999 compacts, neither the state nor the tribe was subject to California Environmental Quality Act {CEQA) requirements when a casino is built.

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

Referendum on Amendment to Indian Gaming Compact.


The official summary provided to describe Proposition 94 said:

A "Yes" vote approves and a "No" vote rejects, a law that:

  • Ratifies amendment to existing gaming compact between the state and Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians; amendment would permit tribe to operate 5,500 additional slot machines;
  • Omits certain projects from scope of California Environmental Quality Act; amendment provides for Tribal Environmental Impact Report and intergovernmental procedure to address environmental impact;
  • Revenue paid by tribe to be deposited into General Fund; tribe would make $42,500,000 annual payment and pay percentage of revenue generated from the additional slot machines to the state.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

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

  • Net increase in annual state government revenues probably in the tens of millions of dollars, growing over time through 2030.
  • For local governments in Riverside County, potential net increase of revenues due to economic growth and potential increased payments from the tribe to offset higher costs.



The official voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 94 were signed by:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Jack O'Connell, California Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Gene Gantt, Legislative Director, California Fire Chiefs Association[3]
  • Linda Adams, Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency
  • Alan Wayne Barcelona, president, California Statewide Law Enforcement Association[4]

Arguments in favor

Supporters of Proposition 94 made these arguments in its favor in the state's official voter guide and elsewhere:

  • "These agreements will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenues each year and billions in the years ahead to help pay for public safety, education, and other services.
  • Raise $200 million the first year (with revenues increasing significantly in future years) and an estimated $9 billion over the next two decades to help balance the budget and pay for schools, roads and bridges, public safety and health care
  • "The agreements will create thousands of new jobs for Indians and non-Indians."
  • The agreement will strengthen employee and environmental protections.[4]


A joint campaign was conducted in favor of Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97.

$108,366,370 was contributed to the joint campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on all 4 propositions.[5]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians $41,896,993
Morongo Band of Mission Indians $37,875,177
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians $20,865,025
Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation $6,031,637



The official voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 94 were signed by:

  • Marty Hittelman, president, California Federation of Teachers
  • John A. Gomez, Jr., president, American Indian Rights and Resources Organization
  • Lenny Goldberg, executive director, California Tax Reform Association
  • John F. Hanley, fire captain, Fire Fighters Local 798
  • Dolores Huerta, co-founder, United Farm Workers
  • Maury Hannigan, former commissioner and chief executive officer, California Highway Patrol

Some of the motivation for opposition to Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 came from the UNITE-HERE Coalition, a union that was angered that the tribes refused to agree to collective bargaining.[6],[7]

The owners of Hollywood Park and Bay meadows horse tracks and a handful of Indian gaming tribes with competing casinos bankrolled the opposition campaign.[8]

Arguments against

2008 propositions
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February 5
Proposition 91Proposition 92
Proposition 93Proposition 94
Proposition 95Proposition 96
Proposition 97
June 3
Proposition 98Proposition 99
November 4
Proposition 1AProposition 2
Proposition 3Proposition 4
Proposition 5Proposition 6
Proposition 7Proposition 8
Proposition 9Proposition 10
Proposition 11Proposition 12
Local measures

Californians Against Unfair Deals gave these reasons to oppose the compacts:[9]

  • Fail to include clear and fair revenue sharing plans
  • The deals would make California home to some of the largest casinos in the world, with more than twice as many slot machines as the big Vegas casinos.
  • One third of California's gaming business would be given to 4 of 108 tribes, which might economically devastate smaller tribes.
  • The new compacts fail to let communities protest over the possible environmental impact on the area.
  • The 4 tribes that benefit from the compacts have a history of denying affordable health care to their employees.
  • The deals let the Big 4 tribes manipulate the "revenue sharing formula" and underpay the state.


A joint campaign was conducted in opposition to Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97.

$64,331,873 was contributed to the joint campaign in favor of a "no" vote on all 4 propositions, through two different committees (Californians Against Unfair Deals and Tribes for Fair Play).[10]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
Pala Band of Mission Indians $12,985,836
Auburn Rancheria $12,985,836
Stockbridge Real Estate Fund $3,000,000
UNITE Here $3,000,000
Bay Meadows Race Track $2,756,750
Hollywood Park Race Track $2,756,750
Fair Public Policy Coalition $1,720,200
International Union of Operating Engineers $100,000
SEIU $100,000

Public opinion polls

See also Polls, 2008 ballot measures
Date of Poll Polling company In favor Opposed Undecided
December 2007 Field Poll 39% 33% 28%
January 14-20, 2008 Field Poll[11] 42% 37% 21%

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

As veto referendums, 433,971 valid signatures each were required to qualify Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 for the ballot, or a total of 1,735,884 signatures. The joint signature drive to qualify all four for the ballot was conducted by Arno Political Consultants and was paid for by Californians Against Unfair Deals.

Arno Political Consultants was paid $3,704,531.30 in total for this work. That comes to $926,132.83 for each individual petition drive.[12]

See also: California ballot initiative petition signature costs

External links

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