A proposal to erode Proposition 13 protections and make it easier for local government to pass parcel taxes and sales taxes was approved May 9 by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee (SCA 6, Weiner).
The measure, approved with an 8-3 vote, would lower the public vote required to pass taxes dedicated to public transit and road projects, from two-thirds to 55 percent.
Supporters of the measure argue that Proposition 13’s two-thirds vote requirement for special taxes has had a negative impact on local infrastructure, and that even with the recently approved $5.2 billion-per-year transportation tax increase, additional local funds are needed.
“This is a local control measure,” Senator Scott Weiner said.
The measure is supported by the Associated General Contractors, California Alliance for Jobs, California Labor Federation, Teamsters, Bay Area Rapid Transit and others, including Transportation California, an industry-backed organization whose members include the California Building Industry Association, the California Trucking Association, Siemens, Volvo Construction and Vulcan Materials.
Roger Dickinson, executive director of Transportation California, noted that some local transportation tax measures on the November 2016 ballot would have passed had a lower vote threshold been in place.
CalTax is leading a large coalition in opposition to the measure. Coalition members include the California Association of Realtors, California Bankers Association, National Federation of Independent Business, and the CalChamber, which has identified SCA 6 as a job-killer.
In a letter to the committee, CalTax wrote: “California already has the highest state-imposed sales tax rate, and among the highest per capita property taxes in the U.S., yet SCA 6 would increase the local tax burden by eroding the taxpayer safeguards of Proposition 13.”
If approved by both houses, SCA 6 will be placed on the statewide ballot in 2018. The measure does not need the governor’s signature.
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