In the November 4, 2008 presidential election, California voters decided the fate of over 380 local measures including 239 concerning taxes, fees or bonds for cities, counties, special districts and schools. There were 95 school bond measures seeking approval of a total of nearly $22.5 billion in elementary, high school and community college bonds. There were also 21 school parcel tax measures requiring two-thirds voter approval.
Among the non-school local fiscal measures most (81) concern cities; with 20 concerning counties and 21 special district. Among the city measures, most (56) are majority vote general tax measures. Four city measures are referenda to repeal existing taxes or fees, and 21 are special taxes or bonds requiring two-thirds voter approval. Among the county measures, nine are majority vote general taxes, and 12 are two-thirds vote bonds or special taxes. The special district measures are all two-thirds supermajority measures, except for one referendum to repeal a special district fee.
As in prior elections, majority vote measures are proving much more successful than special taxes requiring two-thirds vote supermajority approval. Forty-six of 65 general taxes are passing (71%), while just 17 of 33 non-school special taxes are passing (52%). School parcel taxes are faring better with 81% passing. More than 9 out of ten 55%-vote school bonds are passing.
Across almost every category, approval rates of local revenue measures are as high or higher than those of similar measures since 2001. A sizable number of provisional and drop-off absentee ballots are still being counted. The fate of a number of these measures could change with the completion of the final tallies.