|55% Vote Thresholds Moving Forward|
On Saturday, the State Assembly approved Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 (Blumenfield), and Wednesday the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee will hear Senate Constitutional Amendment 11 (Hancock). Both measures would place a proposition on the statewide ballot allowing California’s electorate to decide whether local communities may approve funding for special districts and other local agencies with 55 percent approval of local voters if new accountability actions are taken. Click here to read more.
If passed by two-thirds of the Legislature and approved by the electorate, ACA 8 would allow local communities to approve bonds for local infrastructure, while SCA 11 would allow for approval of special taxes. In 2000, the electorate approved a 55 percent vote threshold for school district bonds. However, special districts and other local agencies must achieve a two-thirds vote for infrastructure bonds. Similarly, under current law, general taxes may be raised with a simple 50 percent vote threshold, while special districts are limited to special taxes, which require a two-thirds vote.
In addition to allowing voters to set a new, comprehensive vote threshold, ACA 8 and SCA 11 both institute important new accountability provisions, by requiring local bond and revenue measures to:
The existing two-thirds requirement for local revenues frequently denies the will of a clear majority of voters. According to the California Local Finance Almanac, between 2001 and 2012, over half of local two-thirds measures that failed—279 of 475—achieved greater than 55 percent approval.
ACA 8 now awaits referral to a Senate policy committee, while SCA 11 will move to the floor of the Senate if approved Wednesday. Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg has indicated that he supports a 55 percent threshold for local revenue. However, recognizing the timeline for the 2014 statewide general election, he has made it clear that the full Senate will not take the measures up for consideration until early next year.
To learn more about these issues and other action at the State Capitol, attend the General Manager Leadership Summit, July 14-16, where CSDA’s Advocacy & Public Affairs Director Kyle Packham will share a mid-year legislative report and the latest details on critical legislative topics of 2013.
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Amendment to Local Revenue Threshold Passes in First Committee
CSDA testified in support of SCA 11 (Hancock), which passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee last week on a 5-1 vote. SCA 11 seeks to place a proposal to place a 55% local revenue threshold proposition on the 2014 statewide General Election ballot to allow California’s electorate to decide whether special districts and other local agencies may secure local special taxes with approval of 55 percent of their local voters.
A special tax is dedicated to a specific, focused purpose that offers transparency and accountability to taxpayers. Under current law, special taxes require a two-thirds majority vote while general taxes, which can be used for any purpose, require a 50 percent vote.
Prop 13 and Local Tax Authority Hearing
Click here for agenda presentations by business groups, consumer advocates, and members of the academic community. CSDA was present to provide public comment on behalf of special districts - view testimony video here.
The informational hearing will prepare the Committee on Revenue and Taxation to act on bills such as Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 (Blumenfield), a state constitutional amendment that empowers local communities to fund core infrastructure through a 55 percent vote threshold. A similar amendment for revenue measures, SCA 11 (Hancock), is working its way through the State Senate. CSDA encourages special districts to support both ACA 8 and SCA 11.
Help secure passage of SCA 11 (Hancock) and ACA 8 (Blumenfield), state constitutional amendments that empower local communities to fund core local services and infrastructure through a 55 percent voter threshold.
Passage of this legislation would place the amendments on the 2014 General Election Ballot, and allow California’s electorate to decide whether special districts and other local agencies may secure local revenue and bond measures with 55 percent approval of their local voters.
CSDA requests you please fax a letter of support for each of these bills on behalf of your district. Download the template letters, customize them for your district, and send them to the fax numbers listed by May 1.
About SCA 11 and ACA 8
SCA 11 (Hancock) Local Revenue Threshold empowers communities to approve local special tax measures to fund core services provided by special districts and other local agencies. A special tax is dedicated to a specific, focused purpose that offers transparency and accountability to taxpayers. Under current law, special taxes require a two-thirds majority vote while general taxes, which can be used for any purpose, only require a fifty percent vote.
ACA 8 (Blumenfield) Local Bond Threshold makes electoral reforms allowing communities to pass local infrastructure bond measures for special districts and other local agencies with the same fifty-five percent majority that now applies to school bonds.
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