Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
10/20/2014 6:54 PM

It’s virtually certain that California voters will be asked in 2016 to extend – perhaps permanently – the temporary increases in sales and income taxes that they approved in 2012.

Since it’s very unlikely that the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown would extend the taxes, it’s very likely that unions and other advocates will place an extension on the ballot via initiative.

Meanwhile, there will be a test of voter support for taxes next month as local governments and school districts seek approval of many billions of dollars in new taxes, plus bonds that would require property tax hikes to repay.

The sheer volume of the local tax and bond measures on the Nov. 4 ballot is impressive, as a compilation by the California Taxpayers Association shows.

School districts, for example, have placed 113 bond measures on their local ballots, totaling $11.7 billion – a response, it seems, to Brown’s refusal to have a state school bond on the ballot, despite pleas from educators.

Cal-Tax also counted 53 local sales tax proposals – mostly by cities – more than a dozen hotel tax hikes, 11 proposed taxes on marijuana sales, taxes on sugary drinks in Richmond and San Francisco that have sparked fierce opposition campaigns by the soft drink industry, and 40 parcel tax measures.

The latter are property taxes that, at least in theory, don’t violate Proposition 13, the iconic 1978 property tax limit measure. Proposition 13 limits property taxes based on values, while parcel taxes are fixed amounts applied to parcels of property regardless of value.

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