While some local governments have withdrawn tax measures from upcoming elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are moving forward with ballot measures asking voters to approve tax increases.

The Palo Alto City Council voted March 19 to discontinue development of a local business headcount tax for the November election. The council was preparing to consider tax rates and review results from a business climate survey, but staff recommended that the council discontinue work on the tax in light of the pandemic. The council should reconsider the tax for the November 2022 election, staff said.

Staff told the council that COVID-19 altered the economic landscape significantly by forcing many businesses to lay off employees or shut their doors completely. Additionally, staff noted that the Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order would hinder proponents’ ability to campaign for the tax.

Other local governments opted to continue to pursue increases (see table below).

Election Date Type of Tax County Jurisdiction Ballot Title Description Annual Cost to Taxpayers Vote Threshold
April 14 Sales Los Angeles City of Vernon Measure V Imposes a 0.75% sales tax increase indefinitely to fund the city’s general fund. Placed on the ballot by the City Council. $6,000,000 Majority
April 14 Hotel Los Angeles City of Lancaster Measure B Increases the city’s transient occupancy tax 2 percent indefinitely to support the city’s general fund. Placed on the ballot by the City Council. $642,537 Majority
May 5 Parcel Contra Costa County Service Area P-2 Zone A (Blackhawk) Measure Z Increases an existing parcel tax to $395 per residential property, $2,370 per commercial/industrial/ institutional property and $11,852 per commercial/theater property in the first year with annual 3% increases to provide additional funding for police services. Placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors, for an all-mail election. Two-Thirds
May 5 Parcel Plumas Hamilton Branch Fire Protection District Increases an existing parcel tax $175 to $283 annually indefinitely to support the district’s operations. Placed on the ballot by the fire district, for an all-mail election. Two-Thirds
May 5 Parcel Sonoma Coast Life Support District Measure J Authorizes the district to increase its parcel tax up to $61 per benefit unit indefinitely to support the district’s operations. Placed on the ballot by the district, for an all-mail election. $1,180,350 Two-Thirds
May 5 Parcel Sonoma Northern Sonoma County Fire Protection District Measure K Imposes a parcel tax indefinitely to support the district’s operations: $160/residential unit below 2,000 square feet; $200/residential unit between 2,000-3,500 square feet; and $240/residential unit over 3,500 square feet. Placed on the ballot by the fire district, for an all-mail election. $650,000 Two-Thirds
May 5 Sales Riverside City of Blythe Imposes a 1% sales tax increase indefinitely to support the city’s general fund. Placed on the ballot by the City Council, for an all-mail election. $1,100,000 Majority