California More Local Control over Government Spending (2010)

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A California More Local Control over Government Taxes and Spending Initiative (09-0052, 09-0068) did not qualify for the November 2, 2010 ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment.

Two somewhat similar initiatives were filed, each of which would have made it easier for local governments to raise parcel taxes by setting the supermajority vote needed to pass a new tax at 55% rather than at 67%.

  • On October 28, 2009, Connell Lindh, Donald Gibson, John Hartenstein, Mark Anthony Olbert and John Bradford Senden filed request 09-0068 for a measure they call the Local Control of Local Classrooms Funding Act. This initiative has been cleared for circulation with a signature deadline of May 28, 2010.

Supporters

The California PTA supports lowering the vote threshold to pass a parcel tax from 2/3rds to 55%, and in February, the organization announced that it plans to mobilize the its one million members statewide in support of getting the initiative on the November ballot.[1],[2]

Jeff Bowser, chair of a local PTA Council, supports the measure: "It's a chance for us to take control of school funding locally. This initiative would allow local districts to do this with a lower threshold. Look at Measure G, had a 64 percent success, but needed 67. Clearly a majority of the voters approved it. The initiative would make it easier to implement the will of the voters."[3]

Harrison/Prinzing version

Details for the Harrison/Prinzing (09-0052) version:

Ballot title: Changes Voter Approval Requirement for Local Bonds and Taxes to 55% from Two-Thirds so Long as Accountability Requirements Met. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Official summary: Changes voter approval requirement to 55% from two-thirds for local infrastructure bonds, property taxes to repay bonds where taxes exceed 1% of the property's assessed value, and certain local taxes where taxes are to be used only as voters specify. Allows 55% vote only when certain "accountability requirements" are satisfied. Prohibits state from taking local tax revenues and requires public hearings on fund use, independent audits, and citizens' oversight committees. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Major increases in local government revenues and spending. Depending on local voter approval of future tax and bond proposals, local government spending related to these new revenues would probably reach at least billions of dollars annually over time.

Estimated fiscal impact: Major increases in local government revenues and spending. Depending on local voter approval of future tax and bond proposals, local government spending related to these new revenues would probably reach at least billions of dollars annually over time.

Lindh, Gibson, et al version

The California Legislative Analyst's Office summarizes this proposal as, "This proposal authorizes school and community college districts to adopt a parcel tax if it is proposed by two-thirds of the district's governing board and approved by 55 percent of voters. The tax must be assessed on each parcel of land in the district and cannot exceed $250 per parcel. (Beginning July 2011, the maximum amount would be adjusted annually for inflation.) Parcels owned and occupied by a person over the age of 65 would be exempt from the tax."[4]

Details for the Lindh, Gibson, Hartenstein, Olbert and Senden (09-0068) version are:

Ballot title: Changes Voter Approval Requirement for Local Education Special Taxes to 55% from Two-Thirds so Long as Accountability Requirements Met. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary: Changes voter approval requirement to 55% from two-thirds for local education special taxes when tax is proposed by two-thirds of school district's governing board. Allows 55% vote only when certain "accountability requirements" are satisfied. Limits any such tax proposal to $250 per parcel of real property per year, adjusted annually for inflation. Exempts parcels owned and occupied by persons age 65 or older. Prohibits state from taking tax revenues and requires independent audits and citizens' oversight committees. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increases in school parcel tax revenues and spending. Depending on local voter approval of future tax proposals, increased revenues and spending could total a few hundred million dollars annually."

Estimated fiscal impact: Increases in school parcel tax revenues and spending. Depending on local voter approval of future tax proposals, increased revenues and spending could total a few hundred million dollars annually.

The group organized to support this initiative is called "Californians for Improved School Funding".[5]

External links

References


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