Local Tax Elections

Voters Approved 206 Local Tax Increases and Bonds in November Elections


Voters approved 206 of the 297 local tax increases and bond measures on the November 8 ballot, according to official election results. The approved measures represent $1.4 billion in direct tax increases and more than $21 billion in bond debt that will be repaid, with interest, via property tax increases.

CalTax’s detailed list of the measures and results is located here.

Voters rejected $1 billion in sales tax increases, parcel taxes, hotel taxes, and utility user taxes, among others, that would have increased the cost of living. Additionally, voters turned down $2.6 billion in general obligation bond debt.

In addition to the 297 local measures that would increase taxes, there were two tax reductions on the ballot – both in Del Norte County, and both failing to receive the majority support needed for passage.

By category, local tax measures on the November ballot included:

  • 59 sales tax increases (38 approved, 21 rejected).
  • 14 business license tax increases (13 approved, 1 rejected).
  • 42 parcel taxes (20 approved, 22 rejected).
  • 31 hotel tax increases (23 approved, 8 rejected).
  • 5 utility users’ taxes (4 approved, 1 rejected).
  • 6 documentary transfer taxes (4 approved, 2 rejected).
  • 100 school bonds, which are repaid via property tax increases in the districts that approve the bond debt (72 approved, 28 rejected), and 7 general obligation bonds (4 approved, 3 rejected).
  • 33 other taxes (28 approved, 5 rejected).

The number of local tax and bond measures was up from the 2020 presidential election, when voters decided the fate of 261 local tax measures. However, the passage rate for local tax increases dropped, falling from 74 percent in 2020 to 69 percent this year.

Noteworthy results include:

  • Los Gatos Business Tax Passes. Voters in Los Gatos approved Measure J, which transitions the city into a progressive gross receipt tax rate, adds e-commerce businesses (defined those conducting commercial transactions electronically) to the manufacturing, wholesaling, and jobbing gross receipts schedule, and increases the tax rate 120 percent. Measure J received 53.27 percent of the vote.
  • Santa Monica Property Transfer Tax Approved. Voters in Santa Monica approved Measure GS, a tax on real property transfers at a rate of $56 per $1,000 of property value exceeding $8 million. The tax increase, approved with 53 percent of the vote, will remain active indefinitely and will cost taxpayers an estimated $50 million annually. Revenue will be used to construct affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and schools. Citing the Upland decision, city officials declared that the special tax measure needed a simple majority vote, rather than a two-thirds vote, for passage. (A similar property transfer tax increase, Measure DT, appeared on the same ballot with the support of City Council members. Measure DT was rejected, receiving only 34 percent of the vote.)
  • Massive San Diego Unified School District Bond Passes. Voters in San Diego approved Measure U, a $3.2 billion general obligation bond to pay for school facility renovations, security system improvements, and STEM classroom expansion. The debt will be repaid through a property tax of $49 per $100,000 of assessed value. Measure U received 65 percent of the vote.
  • Riverside Voters Reject Utility Users Tax. Voters in Banning rejected Measure I, which would have established a utility user tax on electricity usage at a rate of 1.5 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity used. The tax increase would have remained active indefinitely and would have cost taxpayers an estimated $2 million annually. Measure I garnered only 30.25 percent of the vote.