UC Law Constitutional Quarterly


Darien Shanske


This short Article outlines a possible agenda for a California Constitutional Convention. The goal is not to achieve originality in the substance of each proposal so much as to propose reasonable compromises that might ameliorate California's chronic fiscal woes. At the moment, the prospects for such a convention have dimmed considerably, but the compromises outlined below could still be reached through legislative action and/or voter referenda. The proposals, in brief, are:

Proposal 1: More Local Control and Likely Greater Resources, but Accepting More Disparity in Resources; Proposal 2: Split the Property Tax Roll and Impose (Gradually) a Statewide Tax on Commercial Property Based on Market Values, but Eliminate (Gradually) the Corporate Income Tax; Proposal 3: Expand the Current Sales Tax to Services, but Lower Its Rate and Allow Deficit Spending; Proposal 4: Retain the Tax on Capital Gains, but Place a Large Percentage of Resulting Revenues in the Rainy Day Fund; Proposal 5: Allow State Borrowing, but Require Commitment of New Revenues to All Borrowings; Proposal 6: Make it Easier to Raise Tax Rates, but Restrain Spending in Some Other Way; Proposal 7: Ease Residential Property Tax Limitations, but Institute Aggressive Circuit Breakers.