County leaders Tuesday decided not to support or oppose two separate but similar state ballot measure proposals that aim to raise taxes to fund realignment and other state and local programs.
The California State Association of Counties and Governor Jerry Brown are proposing similar measures to help balance the state budget.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed that either measure would meet the county’s needs, and chose not to endorse either at this time.
Brown filed an initiative (11-0090) that would temporarily increase sales and use taxes, as well as personal income taxes on the top income brackets.
The measure, which proponents call “The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012,” would:
• Increase Personal Income Taxes. Increases the personal income tax rate 1 percent for individual filers with taxable income above $250,000 ($340,000 for heads of households), 1.5 percent for taxable income above $300,000 ($408,000 for HOH), and 2 percent for taxable income above $500,000 ($680,000 for HOH). Amounts for joint filers would be double the amounts for single filers. The tax hike would take effect for the 2012 tax year and expire after five years.
• Increase Sales and Use Tax Rate. Increases the state sales and use tax rate 0.5 percent from Jan. 1, 2013 through Jan. 1, 2017.
• Maintains Realignment Funding for Local Programs. Deposits specified tax proceeds into a special account to fund public safety services that were transferred from the state to local governments. Also protects local governments from future “realignment” attempts unless the state provides funding for the programs that are transferred.
• Continuously Appropriates Revenue to Schools. Earmarks additional revenue for K-14 schools, generally in proportion to revenue limits, and appropriates funds even without an enacted state budget.
The CSAC’s Local Taxpayers, Public Safety and Local Services Protection Act proposes similar tax increases while protecting funds from being raided by legislators.
Third District Supervisor and Inyo County’s CSAC representative Susan Cash said that polling is currently taking place to see which of the two measures has more support statewide.
The Board of Supervisors chose to remain neutral on both measures, pending a presentation to CSAC by Brown later today.
After that meeting, the CSAC may choose to support Brown’s proposal, saving itself the $1 million filing fee.
According to a staff report on the two measures, remaining neutral on both measures, or supporting the governor’s proposal, would maintain a positive relationship with his administration.
The staff report goes on to say that new state sales taxes and the fact that Brown’s measure does not propose any control over campaigns could hurt the governor’s proposal when it goes before voters, however, the governor and his staff will bear the brunt of costs associated with proposing a ballot measure, saving CSAC from having to file its own measure.