About Proposition 49
What does Prop 49 really do?
Facts About Proposition 49
- Proposition 49 takes one after school program, expands it and guarantees its funding in the annual budget process. Unlike other measures such as Proposition 10, it does not provide new funds to pay for expanding the program, but simply makes an appropriation of as much as $550 million from the state General Fund each year.
- Protecting the well being of children and encouraging them to reach their full potential requires more than just after school programs. It requires programs that provide child protection, family advocacy, medical care, dental care, mental health care and assistance in meeting basic human needs . . . food, clothing and housing. None of these programs receives the kind of special protection afforded by Proposition 49, leaving them in jeopardy.
- There are many programs that don't have a direct impact on children, but are just as important and yet receive no protection from tough budget decisions made each year. Public safety, adult health care, environmental protection, transportation, social service programs, higher education, job training, drug rehabilitation and prevention and state fire protection will all have to compete for a smaller portion of the state budget if Proposition 49 passes.
- The state budget will be tight for some time to come, even if the economy starts to recover soon. Projections are that the state will face multibillion dollar deficits for the next several years. That will mean that each year there will be hard choices to make between a number of critical programs. This is no time to give one program a free ride through the budget process: pass Go, collect $550 million.
- Proponents claim that a trigger mechanism would keep their measure from taking effect "until our economy has recovered." But the California Budget Project (CBP) and the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) estimate that in upcoming years, spending for existing programs will require increases due to population growth and inflation that significantly exceed the trigger amount. This means that even as the state continues to face budget deficits in coming years, Proposition 49 will still take effect and its protected $550 million in spending will add to future budget crises.
- Proposition 98 guarantees a certain amount of the state budget to K-14 education. Proposition 49 funding will be included within that guarantee. But Proposition 49 represents a precedent-setting attempt to establish a guaranteed level of funding for a specific program within the Proposition 98 guarantee.
- The $550 million in guaranteed funding provided by Proposition 49 could only be reduced by submitting another ballot measure for voter approval or by suspending Proposition 98, which has not happened since Proposition 98 was approved by the voters in 1988. Even then, Proposition 49 funding could only be reduced by the percentage that Proposition 98 was reduced. Example: If Proposition 98 spending were reduced by 10 percent, then the funding provided by Proposition 49 would also be reduced by 10 percent. This would translate into a reduction of more than $4 billion in Proposition 98 spending, which would likely result in the elimination of whole programs, while this after school program would endure a relatively minor reduction.
- If the strategy behind Proposition 49 works, it is likely that backers of other special programs who can afford to pay for a ballot campaign will use the same means to get guaranteed money for their pet projects from the state General Fund. Discretionary spending is already limited in the budget, and measures like this would further tie up funds so that changing needs could not be met. Current budget disagreements might look trivial in comparison to future budget battles.
For a detailed analysis of the impact of Proposition 49, please see the California Budget Project report What Would Proposition 49, The After School Education And Safety Program Act, Mean For California?