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Report · March 1999

Patterns in California Government Revenues Since Proposition 13

Michael A. Shires

In June 1978, California voters passed Proposition 13, the first in a long series of ballot initiatives that have constrained state and local governments’ ability to raise, allocate, and spend public revenues. This report examines the changes that have occurred in state and local public finance between 1978 and 1995, addressing three questions:

  • How has the share of locally controlled revenues changed?
  • How has the spending flexibility of state and local revenues changed?
  • How has the composition of state and local revenues changed?

The study answers these questions for each level of government in California: the state, counties, cities, independent special districts, school districts, and public postsecondary education institutions. A companion volume, Has Proposition 13 Delivered: The Changing Tax Burden in California, traces the changes in the overall revenue burden borne by taxpayers over this same period of time.