While some local governments have withdrawn tax measures from upcoming elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are moving forward with ballot measures asking voters to approve tax increases.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