California Proposition 4, the Lake Tahoe Acquisitions Bond Act (1982)
Proposition 4 authorized the State of California issue $85 million in state general obligation bonds. The proceeds from the bond sale were used to acquire undeveloped land in the Lake Tahoe region.
Proposition 4 allowed these types of undeveloped land to be purchased with the bond proceeds:
(a) Lands threatened with development.
(b) Lands that provided lakeshore access to the public for wildlife habitat or recreation.
(c) Lands that provided access to other public lands or consolidated ownership for more effective management.
Proposition 4 added sections 66950, et seq. to the California Government Code.
Proposition 4's official ballot summary said:
- "This act provides funding for the purchase of property in the Lake Tahoe Basin, which is necessary to prevent the environmental decline of this unique natural resource, to protect the waters of Lake Tahoe from further degradation, and to preserve the scenic and recreational values of Lake Tahoe. The amount provided by this act is eighty-five million dollars ($85,000,000)."
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:
- "The fiscal effect of this measure can be separated into five components:
- 1. Debt service. Assuming that bonds sold under this program carry an interest rate of 11 percent -- the legal maximum for general obligation bonds -- and a 20-year repayment period, the interest on the $85 million in bonds would be approximately $98 million. Thus, the principal and interest cost to the state of the bonds authorized by this measure could total $183 million. This cost would be paid from the State General Fund.
- 2. Cost of financing other state/local programs. If the sale of bonds authorized by this measure results in a higher overall interest rate on bonds issued to finance other state and local programs, state and local borrowing costs would be increased by an unknown, but probably moderate, amount.
- 3. Operating and maintenance costs. To the extent lands in the Lake Tahoe region are acquired as a result of this measure, the entity responsible for managing these lands would incur additional costs. The amount of these operating and maintenance costs is unknown and would depend on how the acquired properties are managed.
- 4. State revenue loss. The interest paid to holders of the bonds authorized by this measure would be exempt from the state personal income tax. Therefore, to the extent that California taxpayers purchase these bonds in lieu of taxable bonds, there would be a loss of income tax revenue to the state. Any such loss probably would be minor.
- 5. Local government revenue loss. To the extent privately owned lands are acquired by the state under this measure, local governments in the Lake Tahoe region would experience a reduction in property tax revenues. This loss would depend on (1) the location of such acquisitions and (2) the assessed value of the lands. Under existing law, state payments to school districts would increase automatically to cover the revenue losses incurred by school districts. No state payments would be made to cover the property tax losses experienced by other local governments.
Path to the ballot
The California State Legislature voted to put Proposition 4 on the ballot via Senate Bill 12 (Statutes of 1982, Ch. 305).