(CALMATTERS) – As Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature continue to negotiate a budget, some cities are floating new taxes to stave off cuts to public programs, while state tax hikes on the November ballot are taking on a new meaning in light of California’s projected $54 billion deficit.
Will California voters, millions of whom have lost their jobs amid the pandemic-induced recession and who already showed severe signs of tax fatigue in March, support taxes in November?
A June statewide survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found that 60% of likely voters oppose tax increases.
- Susan Shelley of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association: “To say that this is the time to raise taxes is utterly irrational and very dangerous. Voters were already sending a message (in March) that they are taxed at the limit and they can’t pay any more.”
But with the state potentially facing $14 billion in cuts to public education, health and safety net programs, proponents of November state ballot measures that would raise billions of dollars in revenue say such initiatives are more necessary than ever.
One of the highest-profile measures, the Schools & Communities First initiative, would raise $12 billion for local governments and public schools by nixing the protections of Prop. 13, the landmark 1978 measure that capped property taxes, for commercial property owners. Another initiative would also amend Prop. 13 by preventing children from inheriting their deceased parents’ low property taxes along with their homes.
Though Newsom hasn’t ruled out the idea of tax increases, he also hasn’t endorsed the Schools & Communities First initiative. However, other lawmakers have.
- San Francisco Mayor London Breed: “Any local official will have a tough time explaining to their constituents why, in the midst of this crisis, they didn’t support closing corporate tax loopholes to bring more resources back locally for our schools and local communities.”
By Emily Hoeven | CALmatters