Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 – Horrible for California Homeowners

Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 (SCA 5), is set for legislative hearing this Tuesday. It deserves a quick defeat. Advanced by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Los Angeles, and Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, SCA 5 would lower the current two-thirds vote requirement to pass local school district parcel taxes to 55% percent.

Here are the reasons SCA 5 is horrible for California homeowners.

First, SCA 5 is a direct attack on Proposition 13. Prop. 13 limits the base property tax, called the ad valorem tax, to one percent. To ensure that local governments didn’t heap additional taxes on homeowners, Prop. 13 requires a two-thirds vote for additional “special taxes” of which parcel taxes are a particularly insidious variety. SCA 5 specifically repeals that two-thirds constitutional protection currently in Article XIIIA of the California Constitution.

Second, lowering the two-thirds vote is unnecessary. With appropriate justification, the threshold can clearly be reached. According to the website California City Finance, a review of school district parcel taxes since 2012 showed that in November elections, 52 of 69, or 75% percent, were approved. Just last November, 11 out of 14 passed, an extraordinary success rate. Clearly, the two-thirds vote is not difficult to attain if a school district justifies its needs.

Third, lowering the two-thirds vote would open the door to a flood of new property tax levies.

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