Voters Approve Majority of Local Taxes on June Ballot

In local elections held in conjunction with the June 7 presidential primaries, voters approved a large number of new local taxes, as well as school bonds that will be repaid through increases in property taxes.

Perhaps the most notable tax was a nine-county parcel tax (Measure AA) that would set a precedent as a “local” tax that covers a huge swath of area in the state. Preliminary vote totals have the measure at 69 percent – just ahead of the two-thirds vote needed for passage. With many votes still being counted, it is not yet known if the measure will pass or fail.

The 69 percent is the aggregate of votes from all nine counties. Had the measure been submitted on a county-by-county basis, it would have failed in four of the nine counties (Contra Costa, Napa, Solano and Sonoma). The voters in those counties may find their wishes overwhelmed by the high levels of support from voters in the remaining five counties (Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara). 

If approved, Measure AA will require property owners to pay a tax of $12 per parcel for 20 years to fund programs designed to reduce trash and pollution, improve water quality, build levees, restore wetlands and tidal marshes, and protect Bay Area properties from the impacts of rising sea levels.

Another notable measure was Glendale’s Measure N, a local initiative that sought to repeal the city’s utility users tax to save taxpayers approximately $17.6 million per year. The ballot question prepared by city officials made it clear where they stood on the issue: “Should the City’s longstanding utility users tax be repealed, eliminating approximately 9.5% of the revenue’s in the City’s general fund annually … that is used to pay for city services such as police, fire, 9-1-1 emergency response, libraries, parks and senior services?” The measure was rejected, receiving just 29 percent of the vote.

While school bonds and parcel taxes were popular with voters, sales taxes were less so. Of the 14 sales tax measures, half were rejected, and one remains too close to call based on preliminary totals. 

The table linked here shows the preliminary results for all the June 7 local tax and bond elections. Measures within 3.5% of the vote threshold are designated "Too close to call" until the results are finalized.

June 14, 2016

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