|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.|
The California Constitution already allows the State Legislature to authorize counties and cities to enter into revenue sharing contracts, but provides that the contracts will not become "operative" until approved by local voters (Article 13, Section 29 adopted by California voters in 1974).
Proposition 11 would retain that language, but add another way in which counties and cities might enter into revenue sharing contracts--a way that would NOT REQUIRE THE CONSENT OF LOCAL VOTERS.
Proposition 11 would permit the State Legislature to, in turn, authorize counties and cities to enter into a revenue sharing contract if "approved by a two-thirds vote of the governing body of each jurisdiction that is a party to the contract."
That's unwise for two reasons: (1) the requirement that voters must approve the deal is a safeguard against bad deals, and (2) making "revenue sharing" easier would also make it more inviting for counties and cities to attempt to increase local taxes.
And that brings us to another concern: that the proposed language could be interpreted to give the State Legislature more power to allow counties and cities to increase local sales or use taxes.
As it stands, the California Constitution limits the power of local governments to increase taxes. For example, the Gann Spending Limit (Article 13B of the California Constitution approved by voters in 1979) limits increased spending and requires that surpluses be returned to residents. Proposition 11 might change that.
MELVIN L. EMERICH
Attorney at Law