California ruling could make it easier for cities to raise taxes

Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 20:56:17-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new decision by the California Supreme Court could make it easier for cities to raise taxes on its citizens.

The ruling does away with the two-thirds majority needed to pass any tax hike proposed by a citizen's initiative. Now those tax hikes will only require a simple majority for approval, known as fifty-plus-one (fifty percent plus one more vote). Taxes proposed by cities themselves will still require a two-thirds vote.

Supporters say the ruling will make it much easier to approve major projects. Experts tell 10News they expect a convention center expansion vote and a vote to raise taxes to support affordable housing to help solve San Diego's homeless crisis.

Opponents say this will make it too easy to pass tax hikes. They suggest the ruling creates a loophole. Rather than go through the normal process, mayors and city councils could simply get citizens to propose initiatives instead, bypassing the tougher standard.

Groups such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association plan to lobby the state legislature to pass a new law counteracting the court ruling. Wednesday, Republicans in the State Assembly plan to officially ask for a constitutional amendment to restore the two-thirds threshold.