In local elections that concluded November 7, voters rejected a CalTax-opposed business tax and approved five taxes, while two other measures remain too close to call based on the preliminary vote counts.
In the five areas where taxes passed, voters approved a cumulative $5.3 million a year in tax increases, including sales tax increases, parcel taxes, and hotel taxes.
The rejected measure, in the city of Perris, would have imposed a special business license tax of $0.107 per square foot on distribution facilities and certain industrial businesses, with revenue earmarked for public improvement and infrastructure projects. Measure A, placed on the ballot by the Perris City Council, would have remained active for 30 years and cost taxpayers $4.06 million annually.
Preliminary vote totals show that Measure A, which needed a two-thirds vote for approval, was falling far short with just 52 percent of the vote.
Perris officials claimed that the tax increase was necessary to provide dedicated revenue for transportation infrastructure improvements.
CalTax and a coalition of business groups argued that Measure A was unnecessary, noting that the city has more than $41 million in unspent revenue dedicated to street maintenance.
“The businesses that occupy warehouses provide family-supporting jobs,” opponents wrote in their ballot arguments. “Union labor builds these projects – providing employment close to where workers live and raise their families. … This $120 million tax will slow future warehouse development, costing our community good jobs in the future and will drive businesses employing Perris residents out of the city.”
The five local taxes approved by voters during the November 8 election:
- Fort Bragg Sales Tax Increase. Voters in Fort Bragg – a popular tourist destination in Mendocino County – approved Measure Q, a 0.5 percent sales tax increase that will remain active for 10 years and cost taxpayers $1.35 million annually. Measure Q received support from 81.02 percent of voters.
- Los Altos School District Parcel Tax. Voters in the Los Altos School District approved Measure A, a $295 parcel tax that is expected to cost property owners $3.7 million annually. Measure A received approval from 75.15 percent of the voters in the district.
- Parcel Tax in Part of Marin County. Measure B, a parcel tax within the Madrone Park Circle Permanent Road Division, was approved by 94.12 percent of the voters who participated in the election. Measure B imposes a $1,569 parcel tax on improved parcels and a $785 parcel tax on unimproved parcels, cumulatively costing property owners $39,229 annually. The preliminary vote count was 16-1, in a jurisdiction that has just 47 registered voters.
- Shasta Fire Protection Parcel Tax. In the Shasta Fire Protection District, 89.39 percent of voters supported Measure B, a $20 parcel tax to fund fire protection efforts.
- Mount Shasta Hotel Tax. Measure S, a proposal to increase the Mount Shasta hotel tax to 12 percent, was approved by 85.06 percent of voters. The tax increase is expected to cost taxpayers $245,000 annually.
The two remaining measures are too close to call as outstanding votes (including mailed votes that were postmarked on or before election day) are tallied:
- Orange Cove Parcel Tax. The preliminary vote count indicates a parcel tax in Orange Cove (in Fresno County) may narrowly fail. Measure O, a tax of $95 per parcel tax for residential property, $495 for commercial property, and $750 for industrial property, needs at least a two-thirds vote, and was at 63.64 percent in the latest count. If approved, the tax will be imposed indefinitely and will cost property owners $263,965 annually.
- Fire Protection Bond in Scotts Valley. Measure W, a $22.24 million general obligation bond to support the Scotts Valley Fire Protection District, had 66.41 percent of the vote in the preliminary tally – just shy of the two-thirds required for passage. The district estimated that property owners would pay approximately $27.50 per $100,000 of assessed property value, per year, for up to 30 years (a total cost of $3,300 for the owner of a property with a $400,000 assessed value).