Proposition 218 was an adopted initiative constitutional amendment in the state of California on the November 5, 1996 statewide election ballot. Proposition 218 revolutionized local and regional government finance in California. Called the “Right to Vote on Taxes Act,” Proposition 218 was sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association as a constitutional follow-up to the landmark property tax revolt initiative constitutional amendment, Proposition 13, approved by California voters on June 6, 1978. Proposition 218 was drafted by constitutional attorneys Jonathan Coupal and Jack Cohen.
Proposition 218 amended the California Constitution by adding Article XIII C and Article XIII D. Article XIII C relates to voter approval requirements for local government taxes. This includes a significant provision relating to use of the local initiative power by voters to reduce or repeal any local government tax, assessment, fee or charge, subject to a significantly reduced signature requirement making ballot qualification much easier. Article XIII D relates to assessment and property-related fee reforms applicable to local governments. This includes numerous requirements for special assessments on real property as well as numerous requirements for property-related fees and charges such as utility fees and charges imposed by local governments.
Proposition 218 is listed as one of the most significant laws of the 20th Century in California.
Proposition 218 was the first successful initiative constitutional amendment in California history to add more than one article to the California Constitution. Proposition 218 was also the first successful initiative constitutional amendment in California history to alter the scope of the constitutional initiative power. Proposition 218 has been part of the California Constitution for 21 years and 5 months.