Ballot titles, summaries and fiscal statements for California 2010 ballot propositions

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Proposition 18

See also: California Water Bond, Proposition 18 (2010)

Ballot title:

Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010

Official summary:

To protect water quality and ensure safe, clean drinking water; meet the water supply needs of California residents, farms, businesses; expand water conservation and recycling; restore fish and wildlife habitat; reduce polluted runoff that contaminates rivers, streams, beaches, and bays; and protect the safety of water supplies threatened by earthquakes and other natural disasters; the State of California shall issue bonds totalling eleven billion one hundred forty million dollars ($11,140,000,000) paid from existing state funds subject to independent, annual audits, and citizen oversight.

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

Increased state bond costs of under $385 million annually through 2015, thereafter reaching $765 million annually for a few decades. Potentially significant state and local operations and maintenance costs and local costs for matching requirements.

Proposition 19

See also: California Proposition 19, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2010)

July 2

Ballot title:

Legalizes Marijuana Under California but not Federal Law.
Permits Local Governments to Regulate and Tax Commercial Production, Distribution, and Sale of Marijuana.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired.

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of marijuana products.[1]

Original

Ballot title:

Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired.

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of marijuana products.

Proposition 20

See also: California Proposition 20, Congressional Redistricting (2010)

July 2

Ballot title:

Redistricting of Congressional Districts. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and representatives of neither party.

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

No significant net change in state redistricting costs.[2]

Original

Ballot title:

Redistricting of Congressional Districts. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission. Redistricting commission is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party. Requires that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party.

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

Probably no significant change in state redistricting costs.

Proposition 21

See also: California Proposition 21, Vehicle License Fee for Parks (2010)

July 2

Ballot title:

Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs. Grants Surcharged Vehicles Free Admission to All State Parks.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

  • Requires deposit of surcharge revenue in a new trust fund and requires that trust funds be used solely to operate, maintain and repair state parks and to protect wildlife and natural resources.
  • Exempts commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches from the surcharge.
  • Requires annual audit by the State Auditor and review by a citizens oversight committee.

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

Annual increase to state revenues of $500 million from surcharge of vehicle registrations. After offsetting some existing funding sources, these revenues would provide at least $250 million more annually for state parks and wildlife conservation.

Original

Ballot title:

Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

Establishes an $18 annual state vehicle license surcharge and grants free admission to all state parks to surcharged vehicles. Requires deposit of surcharge revenue in a new trust fund. Requires that trust funds be used solely to operate, maintain and repair the state park system, and to protect wildlife and natural resources. Exempts commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches from the surcharge. Requires annual independent audit and review by citizen's oversight committee.

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

Increased state revenues of about $500 million annually from the imposition of a surcharge on the VLF to be used mainly to fund state parks and wildlife conservation programs. Potential state savings of up to approximately $200 million annually to the extent that the VLF surcharge revenues were used to reduce support from the General Fund and other special funds for parks and wildlife conservation programs. Reduction of about $50 million annually in state and local revenues from state park day-use fees. These revenue losses could potentially be offset by increases in other types of state park user fees and revenues.

Proposition 22

See also: California Proposition 22, Ban on State Borrowing from Local Governments (2010)

July 2

Ballot title:

Prohibits the State from Borrowing or Taking Funds Used for Transportation, Redevelopment, or Local Government Projects and Services.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

Prohibits the state, even during a period of severe financial hardship, from delaying the distribution of tax revenues for transportation, redevelopment, or local government projects and services.

Estimated fiscal impact:

Due to restrictions on state authority over fuel and property taxes, the state would have to take alternative actions -- probably in the range of $1 billion to several billion dollars annually. This would result in both:

Reductions in General Fund program spending and/or increases in state revenues of those amounts.
Comparable increases in transportation and redevelopment resources.[3]

Original

Ballot title:

Prohibits the State from Taking Funds Used for Transportation or Local Government Projects and Services.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary: Prohibits the State from shifting, taking, borrowing, or restricting the use of tax revenues dedicated by law to fund local government services, community redevelopment projects, or transportation projects and services. Prohibits the State from delaying the distribution of tax revenues for these purposes even when the Governor deems it necessary due to a severe state fiscal hardship.

Estimated fiscal impact: Significant constraints on state authority over city, county, special district, and redevelopment agency funds. As a result, higher and more stable local resources, potentially affecting billions of dollars in some years. Commensurate reductions in state resources, resulting in major decreases in state spending and/or increases in state revenues."

Proposition 23

See also: California Proposition 23, the Suspension of AB 32 (2010)

After August 3 court ruling

Ballot title:

Suspends implementation of air pollution control law (AB 32) requiring major sources of emissions to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming

July 2

Ballot title:

Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming
Until Unemployment Drops to 5.5 Percent or Less for Full Year.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

  • Suspends State law that requires greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020, until California's unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters.
  • Requires State to abandon implementation of comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension ends.

Estimated fiscal impact:

  • The suspension of AB 32 could result in a modest net increase in overall economic activity in the state. In this event, there would be an unknown but potentially significant net increase in state and local government revenues.
  • Potential loss of a new source of state revenues from the auctioning of emission allowances by state government to certain businesses that would pay for these allowances, by suspending the future implementation of cap-and-trade regulations.
  • Lower energy costs for state and local governments than otherwise.

Original

Ballot title:

Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming
Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

  • Suspends State laws requiring reduced greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, until California's unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters.
  • Requires State to abandon implementation of comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension is lifted.

Estimated fiscal impact:

  • Potential positive, short-term impacts on state and local government revenues from the suspension of regulatory activity, with uncertain longer-run impacts.
  • Potential foregone state revenues from the auctioning of emission allowances by state government, by suspending the future implementation of cap-and-trade regulations.

Lawsuit

See also: 2010 ballot measure litigation

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court on July 29 asserting that the ballot title prepared by the Office of the Attorney General of California was "false, misleading and unfair" and should therefore be changed.[4] Arguments filed in court said the title and summary should not refer to "air pollution control laws" because Proposition 23 does not apply to multiple laws and should not refer to "major polluters" because power plants and refineries are not the only businesses affected by the law, since emissions from universities, agricultural facilities, municipal buildings, and other private companies and citizens are also affected.[5]

On Tuesday, August 3, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley issued a ruling that took the side of the plaintiffs and ordered that the state government change the ballot title and summary.[6]

Frawley's ruling said:

  • The term "sources of emission" should be used in the ballot language instead of "major polluters".[6]
  • The official ballot language should not use the word "abandon" to describe what will happen to AB-32 if Proposition 23 is enacted, but should rather consistently use the word "suspend".[6]
  • Ballot language should clarify that Proposition 23 does not apply to state pollution laws on "smog-forming emissions and others related to asthma and other health risks."[6]

Proposition 24

See also: California Proposition 24, Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks (2010)

July 2

Ballot title:

Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses to Lower Their Tax Liability.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to shift operating losses to prior tax years and that would extend the period permitted to shift operating losses to future tax years.
  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow corporations to share tax credits with affiliated corporations.
  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow multistate businesses to use a sales-based income calculation, rather than a combination property-, payroll- and sales-based income calculation.

Estimated fiscal impact:

  • Increased state revenues of about $1.3 billion each year by 2012-2013 from higher taxes paid by some businesses. Smaller increases in 2010-11 and 2011-2012.

Original

Ballot title:

Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses to Carry Back Losses, Share Tax Credits, and Use a Sales-Based Income Calculation to Lower Taxable Income.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to shift operating losses to prior tax years and that would extend the period permitted to shift operating losses to future tax years.
  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow corporations to share tax credits with affiliated corporations.
  • Repeals recent legislation that would allow multistate businesses to use a sales-based income calculation, rather than a combination property-, payroll- and sales-based income calculation.

Estimated fiscal impact:

  • Annual state revenue increase from business taxes of about $1.7 billion when fully phased in, beginning in 2011-12.

Proposition 25

See also: California Proposition 25, Majority Vote for Legislature to Pass the Budget (2010)

July 2

Ballot title:

Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget and Budget-Related Legislation from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority.
Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

  • Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget and spending bills related to the budget from two-thirds to a simple majority.
  • Provides that if the Legislature fails to pass a budget bill by June 15, all members of the Legislature will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses for every day until the day the Legislature passes a budget bill.

Estimated fiscal impact:

  • In some years, the contents of the state budget and related legislation could be changed due to the lower legislative vote requirements in this measure. The extent of these changes would depend on a number of factors, including the state's financial circumstances, the composition of the Legislature, and its future actions.
  • In any year the Legislature has not sent a budget to the Governor on time, there would be a reduction in state legislator compensation costs of about $50,000 for each late day.

Original

When sponsors of Proposition 25 submitted their initiative language to election officials to obtain clearance for circulating a petition to place the measure on the ballot, they were given this title, summary and fiscal statement:

Ballot title:

Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass a Budget from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority.
Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

  • Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority.
  • Provides that if the Legislature fails to pass a budget bill by June 15, all members of the Legislature will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses for every day until the day the Legislature passes a budget bill.

Estimated fiscal impact:

  • Unknown changes in the content of the state budget from lowering the legislative vote requirement for passage.
  • Fiscal impact would depend on the composition and actions of future Legislatures.
  • Minor reduction in state costs related to compensation of legislators in years when the budget bill is passed after June 15.

Lawsuit

See also: 2010 ballot measure litigation

Allan Zaremberg of the California Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit contesting the ballot title that was written for Proposition 25 by the Office of the Attorney General of California. Zaremberg said, ""We've said for weeks that Prop. 25 is riddled with flaws, chief among them the ability of the Legislature to pass majority vote tax increases, and the title and summary perpetrated that deception."[7]

On August 5, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette ruled that the phrase in the ballot title, "retains the two-thirds vote requirement on taxes" might mislead voters into thinking that they had to vote for Prop. 25 in order to keep the state's supermajority requirement on tax increases intact and ordered that it be changed.[8]

Proposition 25 supporters appealed Judge Marlette's ruling to California's Third District Court of Appeals. There, Judge Marlette's ruling was overturned.[9] The appeals court said:

"...the Attorney General reasonably concluded that stating Proposition 25 retains the two-thirds majority for raising taxes is necessary to provide voters with an understanding of the potential impact of the measure...We find nothing in the substantive provisions of Prop 25 that would give a green light to the Legislature to circumvent the existing constitutional requirement of a 2/3 vote requirement to raise taxes."[9]

Proposition 26

See also: California Proposition 26, Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees (2010)

July 2

Ballot title:

Requires that Certain State and Local Fees Be Approved by Two-Thirds Vote.
Fees Include Those That Address Adverse Impacts on Society or the Environment Caused by the Fee-Payer's Business.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

  • Requires that certain state fees be approved by two-thirds vote of Legislature and certain local fees be approved by two-thirds of voters.
  • Increases legislative vote requirement to two-thirds for certain tax measures, including those that do not result in a net increase in revenue, currently subject to majority vote.

Estimated fiscal impact:

  • Decreased state and local government revenues and spending due to the higher approval requirements for new revenues. The amount of the decrease would depend on future decisions by governing bodies and voters, but over time could total up to billions of dollars annually.
  • Additional state fiscal effects from repealing recent fee and tax laws: (1) increased transportation program spending and increased General Fund costs of $1 billion annually, and (2) unknown potential decrease in state revenues.

Original

Ballot title:

Increases Legislative Vote Requirement to Two-Thirds for State Levies and Charges.
Imposes Additional Requirement for Voters to Approve Local Levies and Charges with Limited Exceptions.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

Increases legislative vote requirement to two-thirds for state levies and charges, with limited exceptions, and for certain taxes currently subject to majority vote. Changes Constitution to require voters to approve, either by two-thirds or majority, local levies and charges with limited exceptions.

Estimated fiscal impact:

Potentially major decrease in state and local revenues and spending, depending upon future actions of the Legislature, local governing bodies, and local voters.

Proposition 27

See also: California Proposition 27, Elimination of Citizen Redistricting Commission (2010)

July 2

Ballot title:

Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Official summary:

  • Eliminates 14-member redistricting commission selected from applicant pool picked by government auditors.
  • Consolidates authority for establishing state Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries with elected state representatives responsible for drawing congressional districts.
  • Reduces budget, and imposes limit on amount Legislature may spend, for redistricting.
  • Provides that voters will have the authority to reject district boundary maps approved by the Legislature.
  • Requires populations of all districts for the same office to be exactly the same.

Estimated fiscal impact:

  • Possible reduction of state redistricting costs of around $1 million over the next year.
  • Likely reduction of state redistricting costs of a few million dollars once every ten years beginning in 2020.

Original

Ballot title:

Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives.
Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Official summary:

Eliminates 14-member redistricting commission selected from applicant pool picked by government auditors. Consolidates authority for establishing state Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries with elected state representatives responsible for drawing congressional districts. Reduces budget, and imposes limit on amount Legislature may spend, for redistricting. Provides that voters will have the authority to reject district boundary maps approved by the Legislature. Requires populations of all districts for the same office to be exactly the same.

Estimated fiscal impact:

Likely decrease in state redistricting costs totaling several million dollars every ten years.

References

  1. Proposition 19 ballot title as announced on July 10, 2010 by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of California
  2. July 2 version of the ballot label for Proposition 20, Congressional Redistricting
  3. Proposition 22 ballot title issued on July 2
  4. Mercury News, "Judge rules Proposition 23 ballot language must be reworded", August 3, 2010
  5. Los Angeles Times, "Proposition 23 backers sue over ballot language", July 29, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Orange County Register, "Rebuke of Jerry Brown good news for Prop. 23", August 3, 2010
  7. Sacramento Bee, "Ballot language for majority-vote budget measure misleading", August 6, 2010
  8. Contra Costa Times, "Key ruling throws out claim that Prop. 25 would protect two-thirds vote on taxes", August 5, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 Capital Notes, "Budget +40: No, No, Oh All Right", August 9, 2010