Local tax and bond measures that cumulatively would increase taxes by more than $3.9 billion will appear on March ballots up and down the state, according to an analysis by the California Taxpayers Association.
The 77 measures included 36 school bonds, 16 transactions and use taxes, 19 parcel taxes, two general obligation bonds, one business tax license, one hotel tax and two special taxes.
If voters approve all the measures, Californians in various parts of the state will face more than $350 million in direct tax increases and $3.6 billion in bonded indebtedness that must be repaid, with interest, through property tax increases.
One Repeal Attempt
Notably, voters in San Bernardino County will be considering a repeal of a $46.5 million parcel tax, placed on the ballot by initiative and requiring a majority vote to pass. The parcel tax helps fund the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District.
The San Bernardino Sun reports the March ballot measure marks the third attempt in four years to repeal the tax.
Major Local Tax Hikes
Among the major local tax increases on the March 5 ballot are:
• Local Sales Tax to Fund State University. Fresno County residents will vote on Measure E, a 0.25% transactions and use tax with revenue earmarked to fund academic initiatives at California State University, Fresno. The tax would cost taxpayers an estimated $63 million annually and would make Fresno the only county to create a dedicated local funding source for a California State University campus. Currently, state universities are funded by a mix of state tax dollars and student tuition.
• Sacramento Gross Receipts Tax. Measure C proposes a 0.04% gross receipts tax on Sacramento businesses with receipts exceeding $100,000 annually, and a $50 tax for businesses that don’t meet that threshold. The maximum tax would be $25,000 in 2024, gradually increasing to $125,000 in 2028 and then increasing annually for inflation. The measure authorizes the Sacramento City Council to reduce the tax rate and/or the maximum annual liability below these amounts. Measure C would cost taxpayers an estimated $6.7 million in its first year, according to city officials.
• Berkeley Parcel Tax Renewal. Measure H proposes to renew and increase an expiring parcel tax in the Berkeley Unified School District, adding to the cost of owning a business or home in the area. Measure H would impose a $0.54-per-square-foot tax on improved parcels and a flat $25 tax on unimproved parcels. The annual parcel tax would amount to $782 for the median 1,450-square-foot residential property. Measure H will cost taxpayers an estimated $44 million annually, with revenue earmarked to support the school district.
CalTax reports the number of tax and bond measures on the March ballot is considerably less than in 2020, when local governments placed 239 tax and bond measures on the presidential primary ballot.
More tax measures are likely to appear on the November general election ballot, when local governments anticipate voter turnout will be at its highest.
For more information, see the CalTax local measures list. CalTax plans to update its list with election results after the March primary and as additional measures are placed on the November ballot.