Wednesday, November 26, 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

     
    Groups distribute Thanksgiving food

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

     
    County fair proposal, budget topics of scrutiny

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

    Police: Vehicle burglaries not new for Fairfield

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
     
    Fairfield police offer free gun locks

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

     
    Fairfield police investigate shooting

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Library schedules soap-making program

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

     
    Vacaville PD seeks VIPS program volunteers

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

     
    Science comes to libraries – for all to see

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

     
    Soroptimists seek award applicants

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

     
    Church’s holiday soiree on Vacaville calendar

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

     
    Nichols plans free family concert in Napa

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

    Suisun City police log: Nov. 22, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

     
    Suisun City police log: Nov. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

    Fairfield police log: Nov. 23, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

     
    Fairfield police log: Nov. 22, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

    Suisun City police log: Nov. 23, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

     
    Weather for Nov. 26, 2014

    By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

    .

    US / World

     
    Anger at Ferguson case based on emotion, evidence

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 11 Comments

    Tough to make a case against police in shootings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 9 Comments

     
    Protesters return to riot-scarred Ferguson streets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

    Heirloom ring flushed; sewer workers retrieve it

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Ohio family recovers missing Sasquatch statue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Auction fetches $28K for 1st batch of new bourbon

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    In Seattle, tofu turkeys get Thanksgiving pardons

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

    Los Angeles freeway sign unveiled with typo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Agreement: LA jails to improve wheelchair access

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Window washer fights for life after 11-story fall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Cosby philanthropy shadowed by sexual allegations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Oakland police arrest more than 40 protesters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    Lawmakers target Golden Gate Bridge sidewalk fee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

    Arkansas, Mississippi gay marriage bans overturned

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Calorie count to appear with many prepared foods

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    WWII Museum opening new pavilion in New Orleans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

     
    Police: Students ran high school prostitution ring

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

    Wet basements in Buffalo as flooding fears ease

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

     
    Soldiers to spend Thanksgiving in Ebola isolation

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

    2 teen female bombers kill more than 40 in Nigeria

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

     
    8 shoes of Holocaust victims stolen in Poland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

    Activists: Syrian strikes kill 60 in IS-held city

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

     
    AP sources: Top candidate for defense job bows out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

    Official: Afghan president orders military review

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Nov. 26, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: Nov. 26, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Community Calendar: Nov. 25, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Horoscope for Nov. 26, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

    The man I’m seeing makes no effort to get to know my kids

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

     
    A do-ahead cornmeal biscuit to sop up your gravy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    Fresh take on an herb-roasted Thanksgiving turkey

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Turn turkey leftovers into a healthy dinner salad

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Entertainment

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    ‘Birdman’ leads Spirit Awards nominations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    .

    Sports

    Vacaville Christian wins 3-0, advances to state quarterfinals

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Curry powers Warriors past Heat 114-97

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    49ers rookies shine in big roles, out of necessity

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Cousins, Kings beat Pelicans 99-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Red Sox bring in Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Messi sets European record with 74 goals

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Judge OKs Hernandez trial delay in 2012 killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kurt Busch wins delay of Delaware court hearing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Giants third base coach Tim Flannery retires

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP source: Left-hander Jon Lester, Giants to meet

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Pats are unanimous No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    NFL, union discuss personal conduct policy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Bama, FSU, Oregon, Miss St keep playoff rankings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Business

    New iPhones push Apple’s market cap past $700B

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Twitter lets merchants offer deals to its users

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    US economy posts even stronger growth in Q3

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Thanksgiving travel woes? There’s an app for that

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    US home price gains slow for 10th straight month

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Barbie dethroned by Team Elsa

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Rain, snow could mess up Thanksgiving travel

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Leslie “Esi” Gros

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Glenita Reyes McLaughliin

    By Daily Republic | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5