Tuesday, July 29, 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
.

Solano News

Area LGBT Democratic Club cancels meet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Weather for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

.

US / World

 
Sacramento Gold Rush Days canceled due to drought

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Annoying minor floods are increasing on US coasts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Man charged in teen’s 9-month disappearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Medicare’s own health looking better, report says

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Deal to improve veterans’ health care costs $17B

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
New fears about Ebola spread after plane scare

By The Associated Press | From Page:

In Iraq’s Mosul, radicals unleash their vision

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Fighting in Ukraine prompts residents to flee

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Israeli PM warns of prolonged campaign in Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Witnesses: Thunderstorm hit beach without warning

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Suspect’s mom also charged in Long Beach burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
City: Emails show ‘cozy’ ties of PG&E, regulator

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Pool water dumped in South Tahoe; resort fires 3

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Additional charge filed in California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page:

California governor takes dig at Texas guard plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for July 29, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
Immigration protests short on compassion

By John M. Crisp | From Page:

 
.

Living

Horoscopes for July 29, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Today in History for July 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

I don’t want to have intimate contact since learning I had a STD

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page:

 
Community Calendar: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

.

Entertainment

Kevin Bacon brings his ‘Six Degrees’ to Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

 
TVGrid July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Giants lose 5th straight, 5-0 to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
 
Lakers finally confirm Byron Scott is new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders relying on healthy Watson to solidify line

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
This date in sports history for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Quarterback Johnny Manziel’s day at Browns camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Judge OKs record-setting $2B sale of Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Humphrey to savor Hall of Fame day with ‘wingman’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rays’ Archer: ‘Never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Reed HOF induction gives Bills cause to celebrate

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

In the Pits: Gordon eyeing 5th title after big Brickyard win

By Jenna Fryer | From Page: | Gallery

 
Marketing agreement an obstacle in US bid for 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sailors to navigate dirty water in 1st Rio test

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Manningham back with Giants, with no guarantees

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Business

Contracts to buy US homes slip in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Stocks pause as traders await key economic news

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Zillow buying Trulia to build real estate titan

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Dollar Tree steps up fight, buys Family Dollar

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Peanuts July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Cryptoquote July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5