What Is Proposition 69 and Why Is It Important?

More than once in the past, California legislators and governors have raided funds raised for transportation through taxes and fees to support shortages in the General Fund and for other purposes. In most cases, those misappropriated funds have been returned, some years later, to use for transportation, but with far less buying power than they originally held and with needless interruptions in critical road maintenance and repair.

SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, provides another opportunity for this misuse unless guarded against.

California Proposition 69, the Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment, is a legislatively referred, constitutional amendment on the ballot in California on June 5, 2018.

Essentially, Prop 69 requires that all funds raised by SB 1 be used as intended for transportation only.

A “yes” vote requires revenue from the diesel sales tax and Transportation Improvement Fee, as enacted by SB 1, which raises an estimated $5.2 billion-a-year increase in transportation-related taxes and fees, be used only for transportation-related purposes, and exempts revenue generated by SB 1’s tax increases and fee schedules from the state appropriations limit (the Gann Limit).

The Gann Limit prohibits state and local governments from spending revenue in excess of per-person government spending in fiscal year 1978-1979, with an adjustment allowed for changes in the cost-of-living and population. Amendments were made to the Gann Limit in 1988 and 1990, modifying the formula and requiring half of the excess revenue to be distributed to public education and the other half to taxpayer rebates. Rejecting the constitutional amendment would make SB 1’s revenue subject to the Gann Limit.

SB 1 was enacted to help solve the transportation infrastructure crisis throughout the state over the next 10 years. Its funds should be left intact to do that job.

Southern California Partnership for Jobs strongly recommends passage of this critical Proposition 69 in June 2018.

“SB 1 will provide billions of dollars annually in new funding statewide to fix local streets and roads, fill potholes, reduce traffic congestion, make road and bridge repairs and improve mass transit. It will help boost our SoCal economy by putting people to work and improving the mobility of goods and services. With the passage of Prop 69, it will insure all the projects that SB 1 will undertake will be funded.”

— John Hakel, SCPFJ Executive Director