|Local Sales and Use Taxes--Revenue Sharing|
Legislative Constitutional Amendment.
|Arguments on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.|
In Proposition 11, the State Legislature is asking voters to amend the California Constitution.
The California Constitution defines and limits the powers of state and local officials. It should not be amended lightly. Voters should be particularly cautious of proposals by the State Legislature to amend the Constitution. There is a tendency for politicians to want to maintain and increase their political power.
There is something very fishy about Proposition 11.
Proposition 11 would add provisions to the California Constitution concerning "revenue sharing" among counties and cities. It would permit the State Legislature to, in turn, "authorize counties, cities and counties and cities to enter into contracts to apportion between them the revenue derived from any sales or use tax imposed by them that is collected for them by the State."
Proposition 11 would further provide that "(b)efore the contract becomes operative, it shall be authorized by a majority of those voting on the question in each jurisdiction at a general or direct primary election."
This is followed by another clause in Proposition 11 which states cities and counties may agree to revenue sharing, without the consent of local voters, "from any sales or use tax imposed by them pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Sales and Use Tax Law . . . if . . . approved by a two-thirds vote of the governing body of each jurisdiction that is a party to the contract."
What's going on here?
First of all, insofar as Proposition 11 would make it easier for counties and cities to share revenue, the amendment would also make it more inviting for counties and cities to increase local revenue. Governments at every level can always create or find programs and projects they consider deserving of public funds.
Second, Proposition 11 might be interpreted to give the State Legislature more power to, in turn, give counties and cities greater authority to increase sales and use taxes. Currently, the California Constitution places various restrictions upon the authority of local governments to increase taxes or fees.
Proposition 11 is NOT just about "revenue sharing." It would increase the likelihood of higher sales taxes and user fees.
MELVIN L. EMERICH
Attorney at Law