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Supporters of California Constitution Changes Hope to Make Raising Taxes Easier

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ACA 1, a proposed amendment to lower the voting threshold for certain local tax initiatives in California, advances in the Senate. (Shutterstock)
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A pair of proposed state constitutional amendments that could potentially reduce the voting threshold required for approval of some local tax measures in California have made progress towards reaching the ballot.

If Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 (ACA 1) is ratified by the Legislature and subsequently by voters, the approval threshold for general obligation bonds and some special taxes aimed at public infrastructure, affordable housing, and supportive housing projects would decrease from two-thirds to 55%.

On Tuesday, the proposed amendment was approved in an Assembly committee and now heads to the state Senate.

There is a rush by lawmakers to pass the measure before the Thursday’s deadline, when the Legislature recesses for the year. To succeed, it must achieve a two-thirds vote in both legislative chambers and win a simple majority when it appears on the ballot.

Supporters of the amendment argue it will facilitate necessary investment in critical infrastructure and affordable housing. However, critics, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, view ACA 1 as an attack on Proposition 13 and warns that it could lead to increased taxation.

ACA 13 Also Advances

A Senate committee also advanced ACA 13, a proposed constitutional amendment that would mandate that any future ballot measure seeking to increase the vote threshold for passing future initiatives must also be approved by voters by the same margin.

Assemblyman Christopher Ward, a Democrat from San Diego, is the sponsor of the legislation. He believes that if a ballot measure is intended to increase a voter threshold, it should require an equivalent number of votes to pass. The League of California Cities supports the amendment, saying it promotes fairness.

However, the California Business Roundtable opposes ACA 13, arguing that  only impacts measures introduced by signature gatherers, not the Legislature. Ward counters this by stating that his legislation is aimed at curbing abuses in the citizen-initiated process to amend the state constitution, hence the focus on signature gathering.

Read more at Courthouse News.

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