Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Facing reduced revenues and state aid, California's cities, counties and school districts have loaded the November ballot with more than 100 bond issue and tax increase measures, according to a compilation by the California Taxpayers Association.

They include six cities that want to impose taxes on local marijuana dispenseries.

Nearly a third of the ballot measures would impose what are called "parcel taxes," a form of property tax that does not reflect value and thus is outside Proposition 13's limit on value-related property taxes.Oakland Unified School District, for example, wants to collect $195 per year per parcel of property, if voters allow.

There are 29 school bond issues and two local government bonds, seven proposed increases in hotel taxes, 12 city or county sales tax hikes, 16 utility tax boosts, six increases in vehicle registration fees, and one new business tax.

The liberal San Francisco Bay area appears to be the vortex of local tax and bond proposals. San Francisco itself wants a $46.15 million bond issue for seismic refits, an increase in the hotel tax and a $10 per year increase in vehicle fees.

One of the most controversial proposals, however, is in San Diego, where leaders want a half-cent boost in sales taxes for five years to ease the city's budget woes, caused in part by deficits in its pension fund. The pension fund scandal has wracked the city for years and forced one mayor out of office.

Most of the proposed sales tax hikes are, like San Diego's, a half-cent and if approved would push the total state-local sales tax rate to nearly 10 cents on the dollar in some locales, including a temporary one-cent increase in the state's share of the sales tax due to expire next year.


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