Local Taxes

State Commission Fines School District $18,000 for Using Tax Dollars for Campaign

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) voted March 18 to approve a stipulated settlement fining the city of Fountain Valley $18,000 for using tax dollars to campaign for a sales tax measure, in violation of the Political Reform Act. Government entities are banned from spending public funds to advocate for or against ballot measures. Like many local governments, Fountain Valley attempted to get around this ban by paying for a magazine ad that presented a very positive view of Measure…

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Sales Tax Increases Take Effect April 1 in Many Areas of the State

Voter-approved sale tax rate increases will take effect April 1 in many areas of the state, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration notified retailers in a special notice. In 11 cities, the new tax rate will be 10.25 percent. Ten of the cities are in Los Angeles County (Bell Gardens, Bellflower, City of Commerce, Lancaster, Lomita, Palmdale, San Fernando, Signal Hill, South El Monte, and West Hollywood). The remaining 10.25 percent city is El Cerrito, in Contra Costa…

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One Tax Approved, Five Rejected in Local Elections

Updated election results indicate that only one of the six local taxes in March 2 elections was approved by voters. All of the measures would earmark revenue for specific purposes, making them special taxes that require at least two-thirds of the vote to pass. The final official vote count for a parcel tax placed on the ballot by the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District indicated that with 700 ballots cast, the measure fell three votes short of…

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Voters Approve One of the Six Local Tax Measures on March 2 Ballots

Preliminary election results indicate that only one of the local taxes on March 2 ballots was approved by voters, while three were rejected and the fate of two remains uncertain based on early results. All of the measures would earmark revenue for specific purposes, making them special taxes that require at least two-thirds of the vote to pass. The measure that clearly passed will impose a parcel tax in a Marin County district that includes just 22 improved parcels, and…

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Local Tax Measures Going Before Voters in March and May

Voters in several parts of the state will decide the fate of local tax measures – primarily parcel taxes – in March and May. The table below, compiled by CalTax using data from local elections offices and media reports, will be posted online and updated with results after the elections. All of the measures are special taxes that need at least a two-thirds vote to be approved, and all were placed on the ballot by local government bodies acting in…

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Final Results Show 197 Local Taxes and Bonds Passed in November

With results now certified in the record-turnout November election, 197 of 260 local tax and bond measures were approved, and the only tax repeal measures on the ballot both failed. The approved measures will create $13.2 billion in new general obligation and school facility bonds that will be repaid via property tax increases in the jurisdictions where they were approved, and a minimum of $1.5 billion in other annual tax increases. The bonds include Measure RR, a $7 billion school…

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Downtown Los Angeles

State Penalizes Los Angeles County $1.3 Million for Dispute Over Campaigning With Tax Dollars

The Fair Political Practices Commission, which is responsible for enforcing California’s campaign finance and disclosure laws, unanimously approved a $1.35 million penalty against Los Angeles County on August 20 after investigating claims that the county used public funds to campaign in favor of a sales tax increase. CalTax submitted a letter to the FPPC urging the agency to approve the penalty. The county paid a political consulting firm approximately $1 million for a “communications plan” that included radio, television and…

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Voters Will Decide Fate of 245 Local Tax and Bond Measures in November

When Californians go to the polls November 3, they not only will decide the fate of a massive property tax increase (Proposition 15), but will vote on 243 local tax increases and two proposed tax repeals. The tax increases include measures that would authorize bonds that would be repaid via property tax increases. The measures include 180 that propose direct tax increases. Based upon data available and estimates provided by local jurisdictions, these measures add up to $1.5 billion annually…

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Voters Rejected 142 of 237 Local Tax and Bond Measures on March Ballot

California voters rejected 142 of the 237 local tax and bond measures on the March 3 ballot, according to the counties’ final vote tallies. The complete results, including descriptions of the measures and their estimated cost to taxpayers, are posted on the CalTax website. The counties provided their official results much later this year, as the governor issued an executive order giving them three extra weeks to count ballots and certify results. While the preliminary tallies made it clear that…

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Palo Alto Withdraws Headcount Tax, but Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Other Local Governments From Asking for Tax Increases

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…

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