Proposition 25: Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget

- Pros & Cons -

Proposition 25

Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget

Constitutional Amendment

Regional impact:

The Situation: 

The state Constitution requires that by January 10th the Governor must submit a budget for the following fiscal year to the state Legislature. The Legislature must then pass a budget bill by June 15th, with at least two-thirds approval in both houses of the Legislature. If the Governor vetoes a budget bill, the Legislature may override the Governor’s veto or pass a revised budget bill which the Governor is willing to sign. There is no mandatory date by which an approved budget must be in effect.

Over the last 30 years, the Legislature has passed a budget bill by the June 15th deadline only five times. During that same period, a final budget—passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor—was in place on July 1st of the applicable fiscal year on only ten occasions. When a fiscal year begins without a state budget in place, some state expenses are not paid as scheduled.

The salaries of the Governor and members of the state Legislature are delayed starting July 1st if a budget bill has not been passed. Once it is passed, they receive the full amount of the previously deferred salaries.

The Proposal: 

Proposition 25 would amend the state Constitution to provide that budget bills could be passed with a simple majority vote in each house of the Legislature, rather than the current two-thirds requirement. The measure states that any tax Increase would continue to require a two-thirds vote.

If the budget bill is not passed by June 15th, members of the Legislature would not receive their salary, travel expenses, or living expenses from June 15th until the day the budget bill is passed. These amounts would be permanently forfeited.

Fiscal Effect: 

The fiscal impact of the proposition is unknown because it would depend on the composition and actions of future state Legislatures. There would be minor savings in state costs related to forfeited compensation of legislators in years when the budget bill is passed after June 15th.

Supporters Say: 
  • Prop 25 will break the budget gridlock by allowing a simple majority to approve the budget, as is done in 47 states.
  • Prop 25 will help avoid late budgets that can harm individuals, businesses, and local governments.
  • Prop 25 will continue to require a two-thirds vote in order to increase taxes.
  • The current budget process is undemocratic; it allows a minority to hold up the budget.
Opponents Say: 
  • Prop 25 will allow politicians to raise taxes by only a majority vote rather than a two-thirds vote.
  • Voters would not be able to use the referendum to reject hidden taxes passed as part of the budget.
  • Prop 25 will allow politicians to increase their expense accounts by only a majority vote.
  • The two-thirds vote requirement prevents the majority from passing unrealistic budgets.
Official Contact Information: 

Supporters:  Yes on 25 •

Opponents:  Stop Hidden Taxes–No on 25, Yes on 26

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