Budget Crunch = Bad Time for Prop. 1

Measure Would Add $6.4B in Debt, Cost $9.3B to Pay Off

SACRAMENTO, Jan. 10, 2024 – Just as Gov. Gavin Newsom unveils his budget, with an expected deficit of tens of billions of dollars, he's also backing a budget-busting ballot measure, Proposition 1.

"Today would be the right day for Gov. Newsom to renounce Proposition 1, as this is clearly a time that California cannot afford it," said Paul Simmons, a director of Californians Against Proposition 1.

Prop. 1 asks voters to approve $6.4 Billion in new bonds, which will cost $9.3 Billion to pay back, according to the Legislative Analyst. The annual cost will be $310 Million, reducing state budget flexibility.

"The governor now is in a position of telling Californians that we need to scale back our ambitions and accept cuts to various state programs. Gov. Newsom ought to lead by example and concede that his pet project, Prop. 1, is ill-timed and inappropriate given the state's fiscal condition," said Simmons.

A December 2023 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) described Prop. 1 to likely voters, and asked if this is a "good time" or "bad time" for the pricey bond. Only about half said it was. A bare majority, 51-46%, said it is a "good time," exposing the danger that Prop. 1 will fail. That figure was within the margin of error, and before many headlines about the state's upcoming budget deficit.

"We believe that as voters understand the budget situation, they will be much less likely to approve Proposition 1," Simmons said. "We believe it should be defeated for many reasons, including its devastating cuts to mental health services. The budget situation simply makes its defeat more urgent."



The PPIC poll question released in December 2023 was:

Is this a good time or a bad time for the state to issue $6.38 billion in bonds to fund housing for homeless individuals and veterans with mental health or substance disorders?

Good time: 51%

Bad time: 46%

Don't know: 3%