2013 California Senate Constitutional Amendment 11 (SCA11)
||Replaces the 35 year law, Prop 13,
(which legislates that any Proposition to create a SPECIAL TAX or BOND can
only pass with a 2/3 majority)
-- with a 55%
majority requirement, only.
That is PROPERTY TAXES can be raised
with Propositions that only pass with a 55% majority ( instead of 2/3).
See also the same Bills but for TRANSPORTATION SPECIAL TAXES, only,
the adoption of
California's raging inflation had sent property tax bills soaring so
high that many families had to sell their homes because they could not
afford to pay their taxes.
These Bills along with SCA 1,2,3,5,6,7,9,10 (for specific types of funding)
ALL lower the 2/3 majority requirement to 55%
and have passed Committee stage already..
What is to prevent landless voters from soaking property owners for Sales or Property Taxes or Bonds
to pay all their local government's bills?
( and a Sales Tax disproportionately punishes the poor).
Recently, local governments have shown some success in winning two-thirds voter supermajorities
to pay special taxes for services that voters demand.
To reach that threshold, they have had to spell out in meticulous detail
how they will spend their money,
and the discipline that requirement has imposed on government
can only be described as a benefit.
For 35 years the Supermajority requirement has stood California well
- funding dubious Rail Transportation Projects (ie.
- starting a public power agency, or selling a public power agency
- raising taxes to balance the budget.
- Proposition 42, persuaded voters to require that taxes on motor vehicles
be spent on transportation,
unless two-thirds of the Legislature votes to suspend or modify
- In 2004, local governments won a rule that protects much of their funding
unless two-thirds of the Legislature says otherwise
- fostering transparent and open debate about the potential benefits or
risks of a project,
- reducing the likelihood that one generation of voters will pass along
crippling financial obligations to subsequent generations.
The Constitution of the United States was not a simple majority of the states
but required 9 of 13.
Furthermore the Bill of Rights was added to insure that no simple majority of
any group of citizens could deny rights to an individual.
The 2/3rd requirement became contentious because the US
Supreme Court eliminated the ability of states to have an upper house
that was not proportionally represented in the 1960s.
If you think about it, what protections other than the “supermajority” rules
protected minority rights in California
or any state at all in the last fifty years?
We have County Supervisors and
state Senators representing more Californians than
even a Congressman
and no effective check on that power other than the 2/3 law.
Federal Supermajority requirements:
- the approval of constitutional amendments,
- conviction in an impeachment trial,
- ratification of treaties and
- the override of a presidential veto.
- Senate with Filibuster or Veto....
2012 Measure B1 Transportation Commission Sales Tax Measure Alameda County 2/3 Approval Required
Fail: 350899 / 66.53% Yes votes ...... 176504 / 33.47% No votes
- It would have put control of transportation decisions
in the hands of Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) who will
use their taxing authority and resources to fund inefficient, expensive,
and underutilized public transportation systems at the expense of
- Car use under this plan would have been discouraged
because it competes with public transportation. Increasing the costs of
driving is intended to reduce the number of people who can afford to own
and drive a car, forcing many to use public transportation.
- ACTC would have had the power to force citizens to
assume responsibility for up to $1B in bond debt which will ultimately
lead to requests for higher sales taxes and parcel taxes. Many residents
would pay more than a 10% sales tax on everything they buy, a percentage
that will only increase over time.
- Cities would have been coerced into developing high
density housing in mixed use developments near transit centers. Cities
that do not comply could have lost Measure B dollars yet their citizens
will still be paying the sales tax.