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PK_YOLO LIBRARY 0274.JPGSen. Lois Wolk, a Davis Democrat, said Friday she will write a constitutional amendment making it easier for voters to pass library taxes and bonds.

Wolk's announcement came a day after Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said he will write a measure lowering the vote threshold for school parcel taxes. Democrats won supermajority control of both legislative houses in November's election, enabling them to place constitutional amendments on the ballot without GOP votes.

The latest proposal would lower the threshold for library parcel taxes and bonds from two-thirds down to 55 percent. According to the California Local Government Finance Almanac, all five library parcel taxes failed on the November ballot. But a proposal in Pomona received 60.5 percent, while another in Santa Barbara received 57.6 percent, enough to pass under Wolk's proposal.

Wolk said public libraries are strapped for money at a time when students must rely on them as schools shut their own libraries. She heads the Senate committee responsible for reviewing tax legislation.

"We've seen major reductions in hours and even closings," Wolk said in a statement. "Lowering the voter threshold to 55 percent will give more local communities the ability to keep libraries open and serving their needs."

PHOTO: Librarian Nora Gortze, right, checks in books for Becky Hallett, left, at a Yolo County branch library in 2009. Yolo County libraries reduced operating days due to staff furloughs that year. Paul Kitagaki Jr. / Sacramento Bee


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