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Proposition 13 and the Transformation of California Government
1University of California, Berkeley
Citation Information: California Journal of Politics and Policy. Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages –, ISSN (Online) 1944-4370, DOI: 10.2202/1944-4370.1013, April 2009
- Published Online:
Thirty years after voters ushered in the tax revolt by passing Prop. 13, it remains the third rail of California government. In the throes of the budget crisis of 2008, there was no serious talk of reforming the property tax system. Prop. 13 was opposed by the elite, supported by the masses, and attitudes have hardly changed in 30 years, despite substantial change in the composition of the electorate and years of handwringing about the effects of the measure on public education and other government services. But what fairly can be labeled a revolutionary event neither ushered in the millennium promised by its promoters nor brought on the apocalypse prophesied by its detractors. It did change the way of doing political business in California. Power shifted from local governments to the state, from the legislature to the governor, and from representative democracy to plebiscitary government.