A state constitutional spending limit was imposed under the Gann Initiative approved by the taxpayer voters in 1979. The law says that excess revenues from the prior year shall be returned to the taxpayer within the two subsequent fiscal years.
The City of Costa Mesa, like the State of California, finds itself with excess tax revenues for the past two fiscal years: $2.1 million of taxpayers money now remain in the city's public purse. According to City Finance Director Robert Oman, the city will continue to exceed its limit for the next four years and could have the surplus exceed $11 million in a single year.
Unlike the state, which is automatically mailing out tax rebates, Costa Mesa has failed to rebate the excess revenue. Instead, they want to raise tax revenues over the next two years to retain future tax moneys collected. This plan requires taxpayers to spend more money at a special election to get their money back.
By council resolution, the money amassed if Measure C is approved will be allocated to the maintenance and repair of the city's sidewalks, streets and gutters. Or the council may by a subsequent resolution allocate the excess revenue to other pork barrel projects.