California Proposition 218, Voter Approval Required Before Local Tax Increases (1996)

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Proposition 218 was on the November 5, 1996 general election ballot in California, where it was approved.

Prop 218 amended the California Constitution (Articles XIIIC and XIIID) to require local governments to obtain the approval of property owners in a local ballot measure before levying a new or increased tax assessment on those property owners.

Prior to Proposition 218, cities and counties were not required to obtain approval from property owners before levying special tax assessments on them.

Proposition 218 was seen as a victory for fiscal conservatives. It is often cited by local government officials, more than a decade after it passed, as making it harder for them to raise local taxes.[1]

Election results

California Proposition 218 (1996)
15px-600px-Yes check.png Yes 56.5%
No 43.5%
Total votes 100%

Ballot language

The language that appeared on the ballot:

  • Limits authority of local governments to impose taxes and property-related assessments, fees, and charges. Requires majority of voters approve increases in general taxes and reiterates that two-thirds must approve special tax.
  • Assessments, fees, and charges must be submitted to property owners for approval or rejection, after notice and public hearing.
  • Assessments are limited to the special benefit conferred.
  • Fees and charges are limited to the cost of providing the service and may not be imposed for general governmental services available to the public.

Summary of Legislative Analyst's Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact: - Short-term local government revenue losses of more than $100 million annually. - Long-term local government revenue losses of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars annually. - Local government revenue losses generally would result in comparable reductions in spending for local public services.


See also

External links


  1. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A drop in the bucket; Some cities' storm-water fees fall far short of costs", March 15, 2009

The original version of this article on Ballotpedia was partially taken from Wikipedia's article on Proposition 218.