New future for local taxation?
November 14, 2011
Scattered electoral successes last week by locally-initiated revenue measures may be signaling a willingness by California voters to tax themselves — if they hear the right justifications. [SanFranciscoChronicle]
Public agencies in varying jurisdictions across California, including counties, cities and school districts, earned enthusiastic support for creating new taxes, approving bonds or increasing or extending fees.
Most likely to succeed were measures impacting local public safety, fire and schools.
Michael Coleman of the League of California Cities said he also thought trust between agencies and citizens appears to be key to what may be an emerging trend.
“Despite tough times, if a local government runs an open and fair and honest budget process and maintains a level of trust and integrity with the community… then these things will pass,” Coleman said, referring to tax measures.
State voters approved 40 of 53 tax-increasing measures, Coleman said.
Data suggests that it is more likely that voters would vote to raise local taxes if they are convinced the money will benefit their own neighborhoods, and if they know the elected officials who would spend it.
A statewide tax increase might not fare as well next year partly because resulting revenue could be spent on virtually anything.