With coronavirus on their minds, California voters probably aren't in the mood to raise taxes

With coronavirus on their minds, California voters probably aren't in the mood to raise taxes

4/9/2020 10:33:00 AM

With coronavirus on their minds, California voters probably aren't in the mood to raise taxes

The coronavirus pandemic and the state of the economy would seem to doom any November ballot proposition that seeks to raise taxes — or squeeze money out of anybody.

SACRAMENTO — Even before the coronavirus infected the economy and flattened many voters’ wallets, Californians were in a sour mood. In the March 3 primary, 61% of all local bond and tax measures failed.Combine that fact with the current virus-induced economic coma, and it would seem to doom any November ballot proposition that seeks to raise taxes — or squeeze money out of anybody.

Tyson Promises Meatpackers Who Die From Coronavirus Will Not Go To Waste 13-year-old boy earns four associate's degrees - CNN Video Schmidt: U.S. has 'never had a president who has performed this badly in a crisis of this magnitude'

But wait a minute! There’s another way to look at the results of those local bond and tax measures. In truth, two-thirds of the proposals were supported by a majority of voters. Only one-third didn’t receive at least 50% of the vote.Most of the measures that failed did so because they fell victim to California’s supermajority vote requirement for many local revenue measures: 55% for school bonds, 66.7% for most taxes.

AdvertisementThese supermajority vote obstacles don’t apply to statewide tax and bond measures — or anything else on a state ballot. A simple majority is all that’s needed.So, looking ahead to November, it’s possible that an ambitious, labor-backed proposal to alter sacrosanct, property-tax-cutting Proposition 13 by raising levies on business property isn’t as doomed as it might seem based on the local election results.

But I don’t think so. That property tax hike always had a tall hill to climb. And it’s even steeper now.Remember: Another Proposition 13 — a state measure unrelated to property taxes — also failed on the primary ballot. It would have authorized a record $15 billion in school construction bonds: $9 billion for K-12 and $6 billion for higher education.

AdvertisementIt received just 46.9% of the vote. That was a stunner. It was the first time since 1994 — a very Republican year — that a state school bond measure had failed.One widespread theory was that many Californians mistakenly suspected that the school bond 13 was an effort to undermine the iconic tax-cutting 13, passed overwhelmingly by voters in 1978. Feeding that suspicion was the pending ballot initiative to raise business property taxes.

But Mark Baldassare, president and pollster of the Public Policy Institute of California, didn’t buy the confusion argument.“A case [for the bonds] needed to be made to the voters, and it was never made,” Baldassare told me. That was the job of Gov. Gavin Newsom and his political strategists.

“I also wonder,” Baldassare continued, “whether something bigger is going on here about how people are feeling about school funding.”They’re not feeling very happy about it, apparently. And that doesn’t bode well for the November property tax measure because 40% of its tax take is targeted for public schools and community colleges. The rest would go to local governments.

A widower wrote this letter asking Twitter to remove Trump's tweets about his dead wife Top So-Called Expired Items That Are Still Perfectly Good Lesbian couple become Costa Rica’s first same-sex spouses

But there were 240 measures on the primary election ballot to raise money for public schools and local governments, and 146 failed; 94 passed.Specifically, 82 bond issues failed and 42 passed. Virtually all were for schools. Sales taxes fared better: 23 passed and 22 failed. But 34 parcel taxes were rejected and just 19 passed. Of other taxes — including hotel occupancy, marijuana — 10 passed and eight failed.

AdvertisementBy contrast, voters in the last presidential primary in 2016 felt more generous: 67 local bond and tax measures passed and only 20 failed.Maybe too many school districts and local governments asked for too much this time.Kudos to numbers cruncher Rob Pyers for digging through all the local election results and compiling the data. He’s research director for the California Target Book, which handicaps congressional and legislative races.

The outcomes didn’t shock Target Book publisher Darry Sragow, a veteran Democratic consultant who has managed many local bond and tax campaigns.“Voters totally distrust government officials to spend money wisely,” Sragow says. “Second, they believe there’s plenty of money already in the system, if it were just spent wisely.

“So you have to convince them to hold their noses, suspend their own gut sense and vote to tax themselves because the money is needed for an absolutely compelling cause.”That’s what happened when a labor-business coalition helped Democratic leaders beat back a 2018 effort to repeal a hefty gas tax increase to finance road repairs.

But many voters have buyer’s remorse about the gas levy, and their grumpiness is rubbing off on other tax proposals, consultants tell me.Advertisement“We’re going to live with the gas tax forever,” Sragow says.That’s another reason why you’d think sponsors of the business property tax hike might back off trying to sell their measure until the next election in 2022. But they’re not.

“We’re absolutely going ahead” in November, says strategist Larry Grisolano. The campaign has turned in 1.7 million voter signatures, far more than enough to qualify the measure for the ballot.The initiative, sponsored by the California Teachers Assn. and the service employees’ union, would tax commercial property worth more than $3 million at market value. No longer would it enjoy Proposition 13’s sweet tax breaks. Residential property wouldn’t be affected.

Doorbell video shows Amazon delivery driver praying for baby at risk of coronavirus Hailey and Justin Bieber Threaten to Sue Plastic Surgeon Over TikTok Claims Restaurant Diners Socially Distance With Mannequins, Shower Curtains, Rosemary Plants

But well-funded business opponents will argue that homeowners would be next on the taxers’ hit list.They’ll also assert that, with many businesses struggling to survive because of the virus lockdown, it’s no time to add an extra tax burden.Sponsors will flip the argument and maintain that schools and public health providers need money to recover from the economic meltdown and prepare for the next tragedy.

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

Yes, we are. Tax the billionaires that received a huge tax break from Trump. I wasn't in the mood to give CA more money they just waste it. Google 'bullet train' that's ur govt at work w/ UR money NO new taxes. none. I will vote against literally any additional tax they put on the ballot. Cannabis excise tax alone is a travesty.

Tax the rich. They’ve got plenty. We always down to raise taxes! Woot! Woot! Eat the rich!

Airbnb Raises $1 Billion to Stockpile Cash in PandemicAirbnb raised $1 billion in new funding as it grapples with the devastation from the coronavirus pandemic 🐵🦧 lol My names are Aninwike Ebube Victor am from Nigeria and I want to play football because it my dream and ambition but my legs are liability I need to do surgery so that can be able to play football again help me achieve my goal pls

Acting Navy secretary resigns after rebuking captain who raised coronavirus concerns.PeterAlexander reports on President Trump’s involvement in the resignation of acting U.S. Navy Secretary Modley: “To give the president credit for saying that he wants to intervene here I think is premature.”

PEOPLE Staff Get Real About Working from Home amid Coronavirus Pandemic — While Raising KidsPEOPLE Staff Get Real About Working from Home amid Coronavirus Pandemic — While Raising Kids

Target's Shipt grocery delivery workers push for more coronavirus protections and paySome workers for Target's grocery delivery app Shipt aren’t taking jobs today, protesting what they see as inadequate safety measures and pay for the risks of working during the coronavirus outbreak. suhaunah reports: suhaunah We have had enough Jim Bakker! STOP Broadcasting your fear filled garbage into our lives here at Morningside. You took advantage of us seniors financially, emotionally and spiritually. Selling your junk with fear! Now here we sit alone and in fear of your retribution if we speak suhaunah What ‘safety measures’ do they want? Serious question. Gloves? Doesn’t work unless they change gloves every time they touch a new item. Masks? Ok. If everyone wears a mask they’ll protect each other. Ott? What possibly can they do? Wash hands? Yes!

Don’t Expect a Quarantine Baby BoomNot only do disasters have little effect, if any, on birthrates, the coronavirus pandemic will probably discourage couples from having children, experts say.

Chris Cuomo Opens Up About Feeling 'Depressed' Amid COVID-19 BattleThe CNN newsman shared a health updated and reflected on how the coronavirus can impact your mind as well as your body.