Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
As anyone who watches the legislature in Sacramento knows, Proposition 13 is under constant attack.
While also protecting against property tax hikes, Prop. 13 also required the approval of two-thirds of voters for any special tax. But a measure called Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 has once again been introduced to change that.
ACA 1, which failed in the last legislative session, has been reintroduced with the aim to lower the vote needed to pass taxes and bonds from two-thirds to just 55% if the money is to be used for affordable housing, homeless housing or “infrastructure,” according to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
An even greater threat to the two-thirds protection is coming from the state courts. A California Supreme Court ruling issued in 2017 seems to indicate that special taxes may not need a two-thirds vote if they were proposed by the voters themselves though an initiative process.
That case paved the way for the eventual enactment of Fresno’s Measure P parks tax, which originally failed in 2018 with a 52% vote.
Both of these routes surely spell a threat to the protections under Prop. 13 that we have enjoyed in California since 1978. As the Golden State recovers from the economic disaster brought by the pandemic, the way to recovery will not be paved with higher taxes.
“If lawmakers and judges continue to open loopholes in Proposition 13, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is prepared to work with like-minded groups to close them again. California’s taxes are already far too high,” according to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.