Although polls show that California voters continue to view most proposed tax increases at the state level with disapproval, ballotting around the state on Tuesday indicated that they remain fairly supportive of tax increases at the local level -- where they have a greater appreciation for the need and a higher level of comfort that the money will be appropriately spent.
City finance guru Mike Coleman, who clearly stayed up with the nearly full moon last night, posted a comprehensive report time-stamped at 2:36 this morning. It shows that of the 53 non-school local fiscal measures on ballots around the state yesterday, 40 passed, for a 75 percent success. That's slightly higher than the 65 percent pass rate over the last decade.
Of the majority-vote proposals, 82 percent passed. Of the two-thirds majority proposals, 69 percent were approved (one of the losers, of course, was Fillmore's proposed sales tax increase).
Not surprisingly, some of the biggest winners were measures to tax out-of-towners: Five out of five increases in hotel occupancy tax rates were approved, two with support from more than 80 percent of voters.
Five out of seven school district parcel taxes (two-thirds majority needed) were approved -- and here again one of the losers was the only district that included voters in Ventura County, Las Virgenes.
There may be an instructive lesson here for Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders who are searching for ways to increase revenues at the state level:
The most promising pathway to secure voter approval is to continue moving forward with Brown's realignment plans to shift state responsibilities back to local governments, and to come up with a tax proposal on the ballot that would direct all the revenue to the locals. That's largely what Brown was asking for last year, when he failed to come up with any Republican support for a plan to put a tax extension proposal before voters that would have dedicated the money to local governments.