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League Board Sends Five Initiatives from November Ballot to Policy Committees for Review

July 23, 2012

During its meeting last week in Manhattan Beach, the League board of directors voted to refer five of the 11 initiatives that have qualified for the November statewide ballot to one or more policy committees for review during the League annual conference on Sept. 5 in San Diego.


Propositions 30 and 31 have been referred to the Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee. The Administrative Services Committee will review Prop. 31 and the Public Safety Policy Committee will review Props. 34, 35 and 36. Proponents and opponents of each measure will be invited to present during the policy committee meetings.

The League does not review or consider taking a position on every statewide ballot measure, only those that have a direct impact on cities. Once the policy committees have reviewed and taken action, the measures will be referred back to the League board of directors for action during its meeting on Sept. 6 in San Diego. The summaries below are from the formal titles and summaries for the measures prepared by the Attorney General. Fiscal impact summaries are prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance. Statements of direct impact on cities are prepared by League staff. 

Prop. 30: Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. Increases sales and use tax by one quarter cent for four years. Allocates temporary tax revenues 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. Bars use of funds for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are to be spent. Guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments.  

  • Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state revenues over the next seven fiscal years. Estimates of the revenue increases vary — from $6.8 billion to $9 billion for 2012-13 and from $5.4 billion to $7.6 billion, on average, in the following five fiscal years, with lesser amounts in 2018-19. These revenues would be available to: (1) pay for the state's school and community college funding requirements, as increased by this measure; and (2) address the state's budgetary problem by paying for other spending commitments. Limitation on the state's ability to make changes to the programs and revenues shifted to local governments in 2011, resulting in a more stable fiscal situation for local governments.  
  • Direct impact on cities: Constitutionally protects aggregate funding for COPS ($72 million), booking fee subventions ($35 million) and other “realignment” programs with formerly discretionary VLF funds (approx. $130 million) that went to cities, including four newly incorporated (4) new cities. [This is the subject of a current lawsuit by the League].

Prop. 31: State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Establishes two-year state budget cycle. Prohibits Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified. Permits Governor to cut budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies if Legislature fails to act. Requires performance reviews of all state programs. Requires performance goals in state and local budgets. Requires publication of all bills at least three days prior to legislative vote. Gives counties power to alter state statutes or regulations related to spending unless Legislature or state agency vetoes changes within 60 days. 

  • Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Decreased state revenues and commensurate increased local revenues, probably in the range of about $200 million annually, beginning in 2013-14. Potential decreased state program costs or increased state revenues resulting from changes in the fiscal authority of the Legislature and Governor. Increased state and local costs of tens of millions of dollars annually to implement new budgeting practices. Over time, these costs would moderate and potentially be offset by savings from improved program efficiencies. 
  • Direct impact on cities: More time to advocate on state legislation, including budget trailer bills; some costs to implement performance based budgeting mandate; potential for greater state control of local budgets; and potential new revenue if cities participate in countywide plans. 

Prop. 34: Death Penalty Repeal. Initiative Statute. Repeals death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Applies retroactively to persons already sentenced to death. Requires persons found guilty of murder to work while in prison, with their wages to be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them. Creates $100 million fund to be distributed to law enforcement agencies to help solve more homicide and rape cases. 

  • Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net savings to the state and counties that could amount to the high tens of millions of dollars annually on a statewide basis due to the elimination of the death penalty. One-time state costs totaling $100 million from 2012-13 through 2015-16 to provide funding to local law enforcement agencies. 
  • Direct Impact on Cities: Unclear. 

Prop. 35: Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute. Increases criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15-years-to-life and fines up to $1,500,000. Fines collected to be used for victim services and law enforcement. Requires person convicted of trafficking to register as sex offender. Requires sex offenders to provide information regarding Internet access and identities they use in online activities. Prohibits evidence that victim engaged in sexual conduct from being used against victim in court proceedings. Requires human trafficking training for police officers. 

  • Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potential one-time local government costs of up to a few million dollars on a statewide basis, and lesser additional costs incurred each year, due to the new mandatory training requirements for certain law enforcement officers. Minor increase to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising human trafficking offenders. Unknown amount of additional revenue from new criminal fees, likely not to exceed the low millions of dollars annually, which would fund services for human trafficking victims. 
  • Direct Impact on Cities: Possible decrease in human trafficking; one-time costs with lesser on-going costs due to manditory training requirements for law enformement employees, as specified.

Prop. 36: Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders. Initiative Statute. Revises three strikes law to impose life sentence only when new felony conviction is serious or violent. Authorizes re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if third strike conviction was not serious or violent and judge determines sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety. Continues to impose life sentence penalty if third strike conviction was for certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession. Maintains life sentence penalty for felons with non-serious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation.

  • Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State savings related to prison and parole operations that potentially range in the high tens of millions of dollars annually in the short run, possibly exceeding $100 million annually in the long run. Increased state and county costs in the millions to low tens of millions of dollars annually in the first few years, likely declining substantially in future years, for state court activities and county jail, community supervision, and court-related activities.
  • Direct Impact on Cities: Unclear.

For more information on the measures that have qualified for the November statewide ballot, please visit the Secretary of State’s website.

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