California Proposition 68, Campaign Spending Limits (June 1988)

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This article is about a 1988 ballot proposition in California. For other measures with a similar title, see Proposition 68.

California Proposition 68, or the Campaign Spending Limits Act of 1988, was on the June 7, 1988 statewide ballot in California as an initiated state statute, where it was approved.

Proposition 68 made a number of changes to campaign finance laws in the state, including:

  • It limited political contributions to state legislative candidates per election to $1,000 from each person, $2,500 from each organization, and $5,000 from each "small contributor" political committee.
  • It established a "Campaign Reform Fund" to which individuals can designate up to $3 annually from their state income taxes.
  • It provided that legislative candidates who receive specified threshold contributions from other sources, and meet additional requirements, may receive matching campaign funds from the Campaign Reform Fund.
  • It established campaign expenditure limits for candidates who accept funds from the Campaign Reform Fund.

Proposition 131 in 1990 tried, but failed, to amend Proposition 68.

Election results

Proposition 68
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 2,802,614 52.84%
No2,501,26347.16%

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title was:

Legislative Campaigns. Spending and Contribution Limits. Partial Public Funding. Initiative Statute.

Summary

The official summary said:

"Limits political contributions to state legislative candidates per election to $1,000 from each person, $2,500 from each organization, and $5,000 from each "small contributor" political committee, as defined. Establishes Campaign Reform Fund to which individuals may designate up to $3 annually from income taxes. Provides legislative candidates who receive specified threshold contributions from other sources, and meet additional requirements, may receive with limitation matching campaign funds from Campaign Reform Fund. Establishes campaign expenditure limits for candidates accepting funds from Campaign Reform Fund. Provides civil and criminal penalties for violations."

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

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

"Annual revenue loss from tax return designation to Campaign Reform Fund is estimated at $9 million starting in 1988-89. Annual state administrative costs will be about $1.9 million. Any surplus state campaign funds which exceed $1 million after the November general election will go back to the state's General Fund. If the amount of matching funds claimed by candidates is more than the amount available in the Campaign Reform Fund, the payment of matching funds is made on a prorated basis."

They elaborated on the fiscal impact as follows:

  • Revenues. Allowing taxpayers to designate part of their income tax payments for campaign matching funds and certain administrative costs will reduce State General Fund revenues. The amount of the reduction is unknown, but if taxpayer participation is similar to that for the Presidential Election Fund, the annual revenue loss will be about $9 million, starting in 1988-89.
  • Administrative Costs. State administrative costs will be about $1.9 million a year. Most of this cost (up to $1.2 million) will be incurred by the Fair Political Practices Commission and will be financed out of the designated income tax funds. The other administrative costs of up to $0.7 million are for the Franchise Tax Board and the State Controller.
  • Surplus State Campaign Funds. The voluntary income tax designation program will start with taxes on 1988 incomes (returns due in April 1989). The payment of state campaign matching funds will presumably start during the 1990 elections. The amount of funds that the candidates will claim during these elections is unknown, because some of the candidates may not qualify for matching funds and others may decline to participate in the program. However, any surplus state campaign funds which exceed $1 million after the November general election will go back to the state's General Fund. If the amount of matching funds claimed by candidates is more than the amount available in the Campaign Reform Fund, the payment of matching funds is made on a prorated basis.

See also

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