Friday, December 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Californians willing to accept new taxes

walters column sig

By
From page A11 | November 16, 2012 |

Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s sales and income tax hike, was easily the most contentious measure on last week’s ballot.

As they were passing Proposition 30, however, millions of California voters were also deciding whether to impose even more taxes on themselves to relieve budget pressure on local governments and school districts – and most of them also passed.

A report compiled for the League of California Cities said that overall, 71 percent of 240 local tax and bond measures – bond issues are automatic property tax increases – passed.

Within the array of those local measures, however, there were distinct differences of outcome because the state constitution requires different levels of voter approval for different kinds of proposals.

If, for instance, a city proposes a sales tax surcharge for general purposes, such as the ones in Fairfield, Vacaville and Rio Vista last week, it requires only a simple-majority vote. And statewide, 80 percent of those passed.

But if the tax is for a special purpose, it requires a two-thirds supermajority vote, and those had a much lower passage rate.

There’s also a vote requirement differential for bond issues – a two-thirds margin for local governments, but just 55 percent for most school bonds.

However, if any local entity proposes a parcel tax – a special kind of tax in which all property parcels are assessed the same dollar amount – approval also requires a two-thirds vote.

Confusing? Absolutely, but it typifies the conglomeration of often-conflicting provisions of our very unwieldy state constitution, which has been amended more than 500 times and is the nation’s second-longest governing document.

It also is the background for what could be a manifestation of the Democrats’ newly won supermajorities in both houses of the state Legislature.

Among other things, it means that Democrats are empowered to place constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot without any Republican support and legislative leaders – Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, particularly – want to reduce the vote requirements for local government and school district taxes, particularly those parcel taxes.

If schools could raise more money locally through parcel taxes, it would reduce the state budget’s school finance burden.

Twenty-five school parcel tax measures were on the ballot last week and 15 of them passed, including three in the $200-per-parcel neighborhood. And all but one of those that failed achieved more than 50 percent approval, indicating that were the vote requirement to be reduced, parcel taxes could generate a substantial flow of revenue.

Democratic leaders want to use their new power incrementally, rather than frontally, and making parcel taxes easier to enact is high on their agenda.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him at dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • rlw895November 17, 2012 - 2:24 pm

    It was good to read this column. A couple of years ago, while serving on the FSUSD Measure C Citizens’ Oversight Committee, School Board member Perry Polk and I proposed lowering the vote required to pass parcel taxes for school maintenance from 2/3 (66.7%) to 55%. That will match the requirement for school construction bonds. At that time we could not generate any legislative interest. I hope that will change now. The fact that such parcel taxes require a 2/3 vote now is one of those "often-conflicting provisions of our very unwieldy state constitution." Why do we have to get a 2/3 vote to maintain facilities that we only needed a 55% vote to build in the first place? We shouldn't. The requirement should be no higher than 55% and preferably 50%. It is wise for the legislature to move “incrementally,” starting with giving local governments more avenues to raise taxes by a popular vote. I say put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to lower the 2/3 to 55% in more instances, and to lower the 2/3 for school maintenance to 50%. The investment the public has made in school facilities through voter-approved bonds needs to be protected by putting a priority on school maintenance, and that can be achieved by making parcel taxes for school maintenance easier to pass compared to other parcel taxes.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Sondheim’s ‘Woods’ holiday showcase for Missouri Street Theatre

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings play role in civic life

    By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Frankye Kelly ready to spread holiday cheer

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Celebrate the magic of Christmas

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

     
    Santas have busy week at schools

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

     
    Safe streets task force work nets 3

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
     
    Solano College approves officers, meeting schedule

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

    Longtime Suisun harbor master to retire

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Mosquito abatement district board has opening

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Police arrest 2nd suspect in Fairfield credit union robbery

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    US / World

    Spy’s parents search for son after Cuba-US deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Sony film took aim at North Korea’s biggest taboo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Rubio, other Congressional Cubans step up Obama criticism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    CHP, Oakland in tiff over plainclothes officers at protests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Local emergencies in Northern California counties after rain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    California’s top utility regulator defends record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    ‘Pretty horrible’ scene; car slams into crowd

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    San Francisco Bay Bridge fasteners not in danger of failing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Police: Drunk man shot while entering wrong house

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

    Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    President signs legislation ending Nazi benefit checks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    2 states challenge Colorado marijuana legalization

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    ‘Prison Houdini’ set to make his 1st legal escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Top Islamic militants killed; more US troops going to Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Russian sailors leaving France without warship

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    European court rules obesity can be a disability

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    Opinion

    Another look at school bonds

    By George Guynn Jr. | From Page: A11

     
    Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

    News of the day strikes a chord

    By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

     
    America’s response to the torture report shameful

    By Clive Crook | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 19, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D8

     
    Should I use Child Protective Services threat to get back rent?

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D8

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in preview Dec. 19-25, 2014

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Robin Williams

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Review: ‘The Hobbit’ wraps with a Middle Earth melee

    By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Craig Ferguson to end 10 years as host of ‘Late Late Show’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Eric Idle brings ‘Not the Messiah’ to Carnegie Hall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Entertainment calendar Dec. 19, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

    .

    Sports

    A’s trade All-Star catcher Derek Norris to Padres

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Durant injury

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    A’s acquire lefty De La Rosa from Arizona for cash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Raiders defense depleted by injuries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    49ers’ Harbaugh mum on reported offer from Michigan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    49ers’ Aldon Smith hopes to build off tough year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Column: Thaw in US-Cuba relations warms up MLB

    By Jim Litke | From Page: B8

    Rivera: Newton ‘probably’ will start vs. Browns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Bears bench QB Jay Cutler for Clausen

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    ‘Hands Up’ players to attend Ferguson Christmas party

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Rodriguez boys open Les Curry Tournament with victory

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

     
    39 bowl games and a reason to watch every one

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Signups for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

     
    This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

     
    .

    Business

    Roomiest Subaru Legacy debuts for 2015

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

     
    Dow industrials have their best day in three years

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Obituaries

    Lisa Dee McHughes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Dominic C. Scolaro

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Travis Curt Price

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics