California Proposition 1F, No Legislative Pay Increases if Budget Is In Deficit (May 2009)

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California Proposition 1F (May 2009) is one of six ballot propositions that was on the May 19 ballot in California. It was overwhelmingly approved.[1][2][3]

Proposition 1F was part of the 2009-2010 California state budget and tax increase agreement.[4][5]

Proposition 1F prohibits the California Citizens Compensation Commission, the state commission that sets salary levels for the governor, other top state officials, and members of the California State Legislature (both the state senate and the state assembly) from increasing those salaries if the state General Fund is expected to end the year with a deficit. (Specifically, if the state's Director of Finance reports that there will be "a negative balance in the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties at the end of that fiscal year.")

In 2009, California legislators were paid $116,208 annually, which is the highest among state legislators in the U.S. California's state legislators also are given $170/day "per diem" expense money for each day they are in session.[6] Unlike most state legislators, California legislators serve full time.[7][8]

Election results

California Proposition 1F
Approveda Yes 3,565,419 74.3%
Final results from the California Secretary of State


Proposition 1F is one of six statewide ballot propositions placed on the May ballot as part of a part of the 2009-2010 state budget and tax increase agreement, which include Propositions 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F. The package of ballot measures was intended to close an approximately $42 billion budget gap. However, the California Legislative Analyst's Office, an agency of the state government, said in early March that tax revenues flowing into the state treasury are "well below" the projections it used earlier in the year, and that California's government faced an additional $8 billion gap in addition to the earlier $42 billion gap.[9] Proposition 1F was sponsored in the California State Senate as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment by state senator Abel Maldonado.

Constitutional changes

California Constitution

Proposition 1F amended Section 8 of Article III of the California Constitution.

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

Elected Officials' Salaries. Prevents Pay Increases During Budget Deficit Years. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.


The official summary provided to describe Proposition 1F said:

  • Encourages balanced state budgets by preventing elected Members of the Legislature and statewide constitutional officers, including the Governor, from receiving pay raises in years when the state is running a deficit.
  • Directs the Director of Finance to determine whether a given year is a deficit year.
  • Prevents the Citizens Compensation Commission from increasing elected officials’ salaries in years when the state Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties is in the negative by an amount equal to or greater than one percent of the General Fund.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The estimate of net state and local government fiscal implications of Proposition 1F provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • Minor state savings related to elected state officials’ salaries in some cases when the state is expected to end the year with a budget deficit.

Explanation from SOS

In announcing the May 19 election, the California Secretary of State's office provided this description of Proposition 1F:

Existing provisions of the California Constitution direct the California Citizens Compensation Commission to establish and adjust the salary and benefits for Members of the Legislature and certain other state officers. This measure would prohibit the commission from adopting in a fiscal year a resolution that would increase the salary of Members of the Legislature or other state officers if the Director of Finance determines that there will be a negative balance in the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties at the end of that fiscal year.


Interview with Abel Maldonado
See also: Supporters of California Propositions 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E or 1F (May 2009)


Supporters of Proposition 1F included:

  • Budget Reform Now.
  • On April 26, the California Democratic Party, meeting in its annual convention, endorsed Proposition 1F.[10]

The official arguments in favor of Proposition 1F in the voter guide were signed by:

Arguments in favor

Arguments made in favor of Proposition 1F in the official voter guide included:

  • "A vote for Proposition 1F is a vote to prohibit legislators, the Governor and other state politicians from getting pay raises whenever our state is running a budget deficit."
  • "By stopping legislative pay raises during state budget deficits, we can save our state millions of dollars when they're needed most and bring accountability to the legislature."
  • "Since 2005, legislators have had their pay increased three separate times. In four years their pay has increased nearly $17,000. Every year legislators have received a pay raise the state has been in a deficit."
  • "California's legislators are the highest paid in the nation, some earning more than $130,000 a year in salary plus tens of thousands more annually in perks and benefits. From taxpayer-funded cars and gas, to tax-free money for living expenses, legislators are living high off the hog while the state's deficit continues to grow."


$22,558,742 was reported contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Proposition 1F, with an additional $2,102 of reported independent expenditures in support.. Several of the most well-funded campaign committees advocating for a "yes" vote on Proposition 1F were simultaneously advocating for a "yes" vote on Propositions 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E. Because of this, it isn't possible to determine how much money was raised or spent just on Proposition 1F's behalf.[12]



The official arguments opposing Proposition 1F in the voter guide were signed by Pete Stahl.[13]

Arguments against

Stahl's arguments against Prop 1F included:

  • The $116,208 annual salary of a legislator "is solidly middle-class compensation" considering average salaries in most regions of the state.
  • Compared to how much executives are large companies typically earn, the salary paid to state legislators is "a terrific bargain."
  • It is false to believe that legislators are influenced by how much they make, rather than by their underlying political beliefs.
  • "Voters, please come to your senses. Proposition 1F will have absolutely no practical effect. Withholding pay raises from legislators will not suddenly propel them into agreement over how to balance the state budget. The problems run far deeper than that."[11]


A group called "Stop Taxing Us" registered in opposition to Proposition 1F, but this committee indicated that it raised no money. $1,197 of independent opposition expenditures was however reported.[12]


See also Public opinion polling for all May 2009 statewide ballot propositions
  • The Field Poll conducted a public opinion research survey between February 20 and March 1 on Proposition 1F and the other five budget-related measures that will appear on the May 19 ballot.[14][15]
  • On April 20-21, SurveyUSA conducted a poll of 1,300 California adults for KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego, and KFSN-TV Fresno. 15% of the registered voters they spoke with had already cast their vote. They concluded that for Proposition 1F, "the measure remains a jump ball."[18]
Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided
February 20-March 1 Field 77 percent 13 percent 10 percent
March 10-17 PPIC 81 percent 13 percent 6 percent
March 11-12 SurveyUSA 27 percent 31 percent 42 percent
April 16-26 Field 71 percent 24 percent 5 percent
April 20-21 SurveyUSA 32 percent 34 percent 33 percent
April 27 - May 4 PPIC 73 percent 24 percent 3 percent
May 8-10 SurveyUSA 45 percent 35 percent 20 percent
May 15-17 SurveyUSA 48 percent 38 percent 14 percent

Editorial opinion

"Yes on 1F"

Newspapers endorsing a "yes" vote on Proposition 1F included:

  • The Los Angeles Times, which wrote, "...we cannot be as cheerful as the campaign ads that began running last week...but the good outweighs the bad...It would merely block their pay raises when a deficit is predicted. This measure is, well, OK. It won't help much. But it won't hurt much either."[19]

"No on 1F"

Newspapers endorsing a "no" vote on Proposition 1E included:

  • The San Francisco Bay Guardian.[20]

Path to the ballot

The California State Legislature voted to put Proposition 1F on the ballot via Senate Constitutional Amendment 8 of the 2009–2010 Regular Session (Resolution Chapter 3, Statutes of 2009).

Votes in legislature to refer to SCA 8 to ballot
Chamber Ayes Noes
Assembly 80 0
Senate 39 0

External links

Suggest a link

Basic background information:



Additional reading:


  1. Sacramento Bee, "Angry voters whack budget, politicians," May 20, 2009
  2. Los Angeles Times, "The Next Special Election: April? May? June?," February 9, 2009
  3. Los Angeles Times, "With budget stalemate over, next move is up to California voters," February 20, 2009
  4. Los Angeles Times, "With budget stalemate over, next move is up to California voters," February 20, 2009
  5. Los Angeles Times, "May 19 election deadlines already drawing near," February 20, 2009
  6. National Conference of State Legislures, "2008 Legislator Compensation]
  7. Policy Archive on legislative salaries
  8. NCSL salary backgrounder
  9. San Diego Union-Tribune, "State budget springs a leak," March 14, 2009
  10. Los Angeles Times, "State Democrats decline to endorse 3 of 6 ballot measures," April 27, 2009
  11. 11.0 11.1 Voter Guide, "Arguments for and against Proposition 1F"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Follow the Money, Proposition 1F
  13. Sacramento Bee, "One guy defends legislative pay hikes," February 27, 2009
  14. Sacramento Bee, "Field Poll shows early backing for budget items on ballot," March 4, 2009
  15. Field Poll results for initial polling on six budget measures on May 19 ballot
  16. Sacramento Bee, "Budget ballot measures face uphill fight," March 26, 2009
  17. Public Policy Institute of California, "Special Election Ballot Propositions Face Tough Road," March 25, 2009
  18. SurveyUSA, "One Month From California Special Election, Opposition Grows to 5 of 6 Ballot Measures," April 22, 2009
  19. Los Angeles Times, "Yes on 1A, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F," April 26, 2009
  20. Institute of Governmental Studies, "Endorsements, May 19, 2009 ballot propositions"