Local Tax Elections, Local Taxes

March Ballots Include 77 Local Tax Measures

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When voters cast their ballots in the March 5 presidential primaries, they also will decide the fate of 77 local tax and bond measures that cumulatively would increase taxes more than $3.9 billion.

The local tax and bond measures include 36 school bonds, 16 transactions and use taxes, 19 parcel taxes, two general obligation bonds, one business license tax, one hotel tax, and two other special taxes.

CalTax’s local tax measures list provides details about each measure and will be updated as additional measures are placed on the November ballot, and with election results after the March primary.

If all of the measures are approved, Californians in various parts of the state will face more than $350 million in direct tax increases and $3.6 billion in bonded indebtedness that must be repaid – with interest – through property tax increases.

On the flip side, voters in San Bernardino will consider repealing a $46.5 million parcel tax.

Major local tax increases on the March 5 ballot include:

  • Local Sales Tax to Fund State University. Fresno County residents will vote on Measure E, a 0.25 percent transactions and use tax with revenue earmarked to fund academic initiatives at the California State University at Fresno. The tax would cost taxpayers an estimated $63 million annually and would make Fresno the only county to create a dedicated local funding source for a California State University campus. Currently, state universities are funded by a mix of state tax dollars and student tuition.
  • Sacramento Gross Receipts Tax. Measure C proposes a 0.04 percent gross receipts tax on Sacramento businesses with receipts exceeding $100,000 annually, and a $50 tax for businesses that don’t meet that threshold. The maximum tax would be $25,000 in 2024, gradually increasing to $125,000 in 2028 and then increasing annually for inflation. The City Council would be authorized to reduce the tax rate and/or the maximum annual liability below these amounts. Measure C would cost taxpayers an estimated $6.7 million in its first year, according to city officials.
  • Berkeley Parcel Tax Renewal. Measure H proposes to renew and increase an expiring parcel tax in the Berkeley Unified School District, adding to the cost of owning a business or home in the area. Measure H would impose a $0.54-per-square-foot tax on improved parcels and a flat $25 tax on unimproved parcels. For the median 1,450-square-foot residential property, taxpayers would pay a $782 annual parcel tax. Measure H is estimated to cost taxpayers $44 million annually, with revenue earmarked to support the school district. Nicole Chabot, a parent who chairs the committee to renew the tax, argued that if Measure H isn’t approved, “we would possibly lose an enormous number of our teachers and our class sizes would blow up like a helium balloon.”

The number of tax and bond measures on the March ballot is considerably lower than in 2020, when local governments placed 239 tax and bond measures on the presidential primary ballot. Voters are likely to see an influx of tax measures on the 2024 general election ballot, when local governments anticipate voter turnout will be at its highest.

In addition to tax and bond measures, voters will weigh in on other local measures, including a Long Beach proposal to mandate a minimum wage of $29.50 for hotel workers.