Proposals to lower the voter-approval threshold for various local tax increases from two-thirds to 55% got sidetracked Tuesday, with even some Democrats saying more consideration is needed.
Rather than send the four constitutional amendments to the Senate floor, a senate panel referred the measures to the Senate Rules Committee to be “held for a broader conversation,” according to Sen. Norma Torres (D-Pomona).
The chairwoman of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee said the detour was justified because “Each is very important and they have huge policy questions” that deserve more consideration.
Torres withheld her support from the four measures, but they passed out of her committee on a 3-0 vote.
The measures include Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA) 7, which would allow a 55% vote for local tax measures to fund libraries; SCA 9, lowering the threshold for special taxes for economic development projects; SCA 11, applying to special districts; and SCA 3, extending the 55% rule to school parcel taxes.
David Wolf of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. opposed the measures as “a direct attack on Proposition 13,” the ballot measure approved by California voters in 1978 requiring a two-thirds vote for tax increases.
Senators sponsoring the proposed constitutional amendments said they would give the people the right to decide whether local services are important enough to warrant extra taxes.
“This bill will give local government the ability to raise revenue to keep libraries open,” said Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis).
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