2003 California Proposition 53

Proposition 53 was a California ballot proposition on the October 7, 2003, special recall election ballot. It failed to pass with 3,020,577 (36.2%) votes in favor and 5,318,065 (63.8%) against. It was placed on the ballot by a vote of the state legislature on Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11 (ACA 11).

Supporters of the measure argued that state infrastructure had been neglected through many years of growth, while opponents argued that California's budget crisis has been exacerbated by budgeting inflexibility from past spending set-aside propositions like this one.

The question before voters was:

Should the state dedicate up to 3% of General Fund revenues annually to fund state and local (excluding school and community college) infrastructure projects?

Official summary[edit]

  • Requires specified percentages of General Fund revenues to be set-aside for acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, modernization, or renovation of infrastructure.
  • Expenditures must be divided equally between state projects and local projects, other than school and community college district projects, including local street, transportation, water, park, and open space projects.
  • Proposition 98 school funding guarantee is unchanged.
  • Amount of first set-aside scheduled for 2006-07 is 1%; they increase 0.3% annually to 3% and then remain fixed. Set-asides are subject to increase, decrease, or suspension with revenue increases and decreases.

Summary of Legislative Analyst's Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

  • Requires dedication of state General Fund revenues for state and local "pay-as-you-go" infrastructure projects. Potential transfers of roughly $850 million in 2006-07, growing to several billions of dollars in future years. (Actual annual transfers could be less—or even zero—in some years due to various adjustments and triggers in the measure.)

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