San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The voters of California passed initiative Proposition 13 in 1978. This initiative limited the ability of state and local taxing authorities to raise revenue. The courts were left with the difficult task of interpreting that initiative as applied to numerous factual situations, a task made more difficult by the lack of any meaningful legislative history. When San Diego County sought to finance certain judicial and criminal facilities with a sales tax increase, the California Supreme Court had already lain out an analysis of Proposition 13 that suggested the new tax was constitutionally imposed. However, upon challenge in Rider v. County of San Diego, the California Supreme Court struck the tax down as violative of Proposition 13. This Note analyzes that decision, the precedents that suggested the tax was constitutional, and the concerns raised by the decision. This Note illustrates the uncertainty inherent in the initiative process and the obstacles which local governments face when attempting to manage their revenue-gathering affairs.