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State of California November 2, 2010 Election
Proposition 25
Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget and Budget-Related Legislation From Two-Thirds to A Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes
State of California

Initiative Constitutional Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 5,251,319 / 55.1% Yes votes ...... 4,284,852 / 44.9% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Nov 30 4:33pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (24845/24845)
Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Should the state Constitution be amended to allow passage of budget bills by a simple majority in each house of the state Legislature and should legislators be required to forfeit their pay if a budget is not passed on time?

Summary Prepared by the State Attorney General:

  • Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget and spending bills related to the budget from two-thirds to a simple majority.
  • Provides that if the Legislature fails to pass a budget bill by June 15, all members of the Legislature will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses for every day until the day the Legislature passes a budget bill.

Fiscal Impact from the Legislative Analyst:
In some years, the contents of the state budget could be changed due to the lower legislative vote requirement in this measure. The extent of changes would depend on the Legislature's future actions.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
The Legislature's vote requirement to send the annual budget bill to the Governor would be lowered from two-thirds to a majority of each house of the Legislature.

A NO vote on this measure means:
The Legislature's vote requirement to send an annual budget bill to the Governor would remain unchanged at two-thirds of each house of the Legislature.

Impartial Analysis from the Legislative Analyst

Process for Passing a Budget. The State Constitution gives the Legislature the power to appropriate (that is, allow the spending of) state funds. The annual state budget is the Legislature's primary method of authorizing state expenses for a fiscal year (which runs from July 1 to June 30). The Constitution requires that the Governor propose a budget by January 10 for the next fiscal year. Each of the two houses of the Legislature (the State Assembly and the State Senate) then is required to pass the annual budget bill by June 15 and send it to the Governor. The Governor may either sign the budget approved by the Legislature or veto (reject) all or a part of it. By a two-thirds (67 percent) vote in each house of the Legislature, a veto by the Governor may be overridden. While the Constitution has a date by which the Legislature must pass a budget, it does not have a specific date by which a final budget must be put into law.

Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Passage of State Budget. The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature for the passage of "urgency" measures that take effect immediately, bills that increase state tax revenues, and General Fund appropriations (except appropriations for public schools). Because the state budget includes General Fund appropriations and needs to take effect immediately, it requires a two-thirds vote for passage. Certain budget actions, such as a decision to change the services that a state department is mandated to provide, require changing state law. These changes often are included in "trailer bills" that accompany passage of the budget each year. In general, bills passed by the Legislature take effect on January 1 of the next year. In order for trailer bills to take effect immediately, however, they must be passed by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature.

Late Budgets. Since 1980, the Legislature has met its June 15 constitutional deadline for sending a budget to the Governor five times. During that same period, a final budget--passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor--was in place prior to the July 1 start of the fiscal year on ten occasions, including three times since 2000. When a fiscal year begins without a state budget in place, some state expenses are not paid as scheduled. For example, state elected officials (such as the Governor and Members of the Legislature) have not received salaries after July 1 until a final budget is in place. Salary payments withheld from these officials have been paid in full when the final budget goes into effect.


Lowers Legislative Vote Requirements for the Budget Bill and Related Legislation. This measure amends the Constitution to lower the vote requirement necessary for each house of the Legislature to pass a budget bill and send it to the Governor. Specifically, the vote requirement would be lowered from two-thirds to a majority (50 percent plus one) of each house of the Legislature. The lower vote requirement also would apply to trailer bills that appropriate funds and are identified by the Legislature "as related to the budget in the budget bill." Both the budget bill and these trailer bills would take effect immediately after being signed by the Governor (or on a later date specified in the bill). A two-thirds vote of the Legislature would still be required to override any veto by the Governor. This measure's constitutional provisions do not specifically address the legislative vote requirement for increasing state tax revenues, but the measure states that its intent is not to change the existing two-thirds vote requirement regarding state taxes.

Loss of Pay and Reimbursements by Legislators. In any year when the Legislature has not sent a budget bill to the Governor by June 15, this measure would prohibit Members of the Legislature from collecting any salary or reimbursements for travel or living expenses. This prohibition would be in effect from June 15 until the day that a budget is presented to the Governor. These salaries and expenses could not be paid to legislators at a later date.

Arguments Submitted to the Secretary of State

Summary of Arguments FOR Proposition 25:
Prop. 25 reforms California's broken state budget process. Holds legislators accountable for late budgets by stopping their pay and benefits every day the budget is late. Ends budget gridlock by allowing a majority of legislators to pass the budget, but DOES NOT LOWER THE 2⁄3 vote required to raise taxes.

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Proposition 25:
Politicians and special interests are promoting Prop. 25 to make it easier for politicians to raise taxes and restrict our constitutional right to reject bad laws. 25 doesn't punish politicians. They'll just increase their lavish expense accounts. NO on 25--Protect constitutional safeguards against higher taxes and wasteful spending.
Contact FOR Proposition 25:
Yes on 25, Citizens for an On-Time Budget sponsored by teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public employee groups
Andrea Landis
1510 J Street, Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 443-7817

Contact AGAINST Proposition 25:
Stop Hidden Taxes--No on 25/Yes on 26, a coalition of taxpayers, small businesses, environmental experts, good government groups, minorities, farmers, and vineyards
(866) 218-4450

  What is Prop 25?

Video Overview

Official Voter Information Guide

Secretary of State

Legislative Analyst's Office Additional Nonpartisan Sources

League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

  • Pros and Cons - A nonpartisan explanation of this state proposition, with supporting and opposing arguments
  • Easy Voter Guide - A brief summary of this state proposition
Public Radio California Choices Campaign Finance Data

Secretary of State

California Voter Foundation
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