California Proposition 134, Alcohol Tax Act (1990)

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California Proposition 134, or the Alcohol Tax Act of 1990, was on the November 6, 1990 ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.

Proposition 134 would have added an additional tax on alcohol.

Election results

Proposition 134
Defeatedd No5,076,82268.97%
Yes 2,285,256 31.01%

Constitutional changes

If Proposition 134 had passed, it would have altered the California Constitution in these ways:

Ballot summary

  • Establishes Alcohol Surtax Fund in State Treasury.
  • Imposes surtax of five cents per 12 ounces beer, 5 ounces most wines, 1 ounce distilled spirits.
  • Imposes additional per unit floor stock tax.
  • Proceeds deposited into Alcohol Surtax Fund.
  • Guarantees 1989-90 nonsurtax funding with required annual adjustments, and appropriates Surtax Fund revenues for increased funding for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery programs (24%); emergency medical care (25%); community mental health programs (15%); child abuse and domestic violence prevention training and victim services (15%); alcohol and drug related law enforcement costs, other programs (21%).

Fiscal impact

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

  • Surtax would increase tax on beer from 4 cents to 57 cents per gallon, most wines from 1 cent to $1.29 per gallon, and distilled spirits from $2 to $8.40 per gallon.
  • The surtax would result in additional state revenues of approximately $360 million in 1990-91 and $760 million in 1991-92, depending on alcohol sales.
  • State General Fund revenues could increase or decrease several million dollars due to effect on sales tax revenues and revenues from existing alcoholic beverage taxes.
  • Local sales tax revenue would increase by several million dollars.
  • The guarantee for 1989-90 level nonsurtax funding, with required annual adjustments, for various health, mental health, criminal justice and other programs could increase costs by $180 million in 1990-91 and over $300 million in 1991-92; possibly additional tens of millions of dollars in subsequent years.
  • These costs would have to be funded from revenues other than surtax.
  • Expenditure of surtax revenues for prevention and treatment programs could result in future savings.

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