Fiscal Constraints and the Loss of Home Rule: The Long-Term Impacts of California's Post-Proposition 13 Fiscal Regime

American Review of Public Administration, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 423-454, 2002

58 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2011

See all articles by Gregory D. Saxton

Gregory D. Saxton

Schulich School of Business, York University

Christopher Hoene

National League of Cities - Research and Municipalities in Transition Program

Steve Erie

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Date Written: January 24, 2002

Abstract

The passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 was a watershed event that ushered in both a new era and a new fiscal regime for California’s local governments. We argue that, in the wake of follow-on initiatives, a protracted recessionary period, and the state’s use of newly authorized revenue-transfer powers, this still-evolving regime entered a new phase in the 1990s. This article analyzes the primary impacts of and responses to the changes in California’s post-Proposition 13 fiscal regime in the 1990s in five local jurisdictions. The results reveal that the most significant long-term impacts of this regime have been an altered fiscal structure and an unintended decrease in local home rule. These impacts, in turn, have led to cuts in non-essential services, the expansion of sales tax-generating redevelopment efforts, implementation of new taxes and user service fees, and increased reliance on one-time fiscal measures.

Keywords: Proposition 13, public administration, local governments, fiscal constraints, home rule

Suggested Citation

Saxton, Gregory D. and Hoene, Christopher and Erie, Steven Philip, Fiscal Constraints and the Loss of Home Rule: The Long-Term Impacts of California's Post-Proposition 13 Fiscal Regime (January 24, 2002). American Review of Public Administration, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 423-454, 2002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1737917

Gregory D. Saxton (Contact Author)

Schulich School of Business, York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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Christopher Hoene

National League of Cities - Research and Municipalities in Transition Program ( email )

Washington, DC 20004
United States

Steven Philip Erie

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

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