On February 2, the California Secretary of State reported the constitutional amendment to create a ⅔ popular vote requirement for new or increased local taxes and both a ⅔ legislative vote in each chamber with a majority popular vote for state taxes is qualified for the November 2024 ballot.
Of the 1.4 million signatures submitted by Californians for Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability in August 2022, the state recognized 1.1 million as valid, exceeding the state’s ballot requirement by 78,446 signatures. The initiative would redefine taxes to include any “levy, charge or extraction of any kind,” requiring any laws proposing or increasing a tax to include how long the tax would be collected, how much the tax would collect and how the money would be spent or if it would go to the general fund.
New or increased taxes at the state level would need to be passed by a ⅔ majority vote in each legislative chamber and then approved by a majority of California voters. Local taxes would face an even higher threshold, requiring a ⅔ vote by local citizens. Citizen-initiated, not legislature-initiated state ballot measures for increasing or introducing a tax would be exempt from the need for a vote from the legislature. The current process for state tax increases requires either a ⅔ vote in each chamber, or a majority vote in a statewide ballot.
The initiative would not alter the mechanism for reducing taxes, which at the state level requires a simple majority vote by the legislature.
Additionally, the initiative would also invalidate new or increased taxes taking effect between January 2022 and November 2024, which would include Los Angeles’ high profile Measure ULA, that fail to meet the initiative’s requirements will be voided (though money paid would not be returned). Measure ULA, a controversial transfer tax increase from 0.45 percent to 4 percent on all properties sold or transferred for more than $5 million and 5.5 percent on those over $10 million in the City of Los Angeles, passed in November 2022 at 57 percent and would thus be voided.