COST Joins Opposition to Scott Wiener’s SCA 6

Subject: OPPOSITION to SCA 6 (Wiener), as amended on May 1, 2017

Date: May 2, 2017
To: Members, Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
From: Therese Twomey, Director of State Fiscal Policy

The above-listed organizations [see below] are writing in opposition to
SCA 6, which allows local governments to increase local transportation taxes (including parcel taxes and sales taxes) with a 55 percent vote of the electorate, instead of a two-thirds vote as is required under current law. While we support maintaining and improving California’s transportation infrastructure, SCA 6 fails to address California’s flawed local tax structure.

We oppose SCA 6 for the following reasons:

(1) Erodes Proposition 13. Nearly 40 years ago, Proposition 13 was passed by the voters to
limit local taxation after years of rising local taxes. The two-thirds vote requirement does not
stop local governments from increasing taxes – it merely means that communities need to
see a rationale and benefit for the taxes they approve. California already has the highest
state-imposed sales tax rate, and among the highest per capita property taxes in the U.S.,
yet SCA 6 would increase the local tax burden by eroding the taxpayer safeguards of
Proposition 13.

(2)Promotes a Flawed Tax Structure. The structure of parcel taxes and local sales taxes is
flawed and lacks legislative oversight, yet SCA 6 would increase the number of sales and
parcel taxes that are imposed. The Legislature established a uniform sales tax law nearly 60
years ago, but recent changes to the tax code have neglected the importance of uniformity,
making it more difficult for retailers to comply with varying local sales tax laws. Further,
California is one of the only states in the U.S. that allows a local add-on parcel tax – and no
oversight has been provided to establish a comprehensive structure.

(3) Fails to Reform Transportation Funding. The California Transportation Commission has
found that state highways and local roads need more than $165 billion in funding to preserve
and maintain existing roads. These funds are needed just to fix California’s roads – and
that’s not including the price of expanding California’s capacity to move goods and people.
As California considers higher gas taxes, increased license and registration fees, vehicle
weight fee reforms, infrastructure bonds, and future road usage charges, local taxes –
approved by a two-thirds vote – can play a part in funding local infrastructure projects, but
changing the vote requirement is not necessary.

SCA 6 is a short-sighted measure to a longterm
issue that California needs to address.

For the foregoing reasons, we respectfully oppose SCA 6.

Apartment Association, California Southern Cities
Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles
Apartment Association of Orange County
Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies
Calaveras County Taxpayers Association
California Association of Realtors
California Bankers Association
California Taxpayers Association
Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers – Marin County
Contra Costa Taxpayers’ Association
East Bay Rental Housing Association
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Kern County Taxpayers Association
National Federation of Independent Business
North Valley Rental Property Association
Solano County Taxpayers Association
San Diego County Apartment Association
San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership
Santa Barbara Rental Property Association
Sutter County Taxpayers Association
Western States Petroleum Association

 
CALIFORNIA TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION

COST Joins Opposition to Scott Wiener’s SCA 6
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