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Significant Majority of Local Revenue Measures Pass

June 4, 2014
Voters in the June 4, 2014 California consolidated election decided more than 140 local measures.
Among these were 85 measures seeking approval for taxes or bonds. Ballots are still being counted and final results will not be known until later this month, but here are the preliminary outcomes. The full report from the California Local Government Finance Almanac is available online.

K-12 schools districts and community colleges requested a total of $2.818 billion in 44 separate bond measure authorizations for bonds to construct facilities, acquire equipment and make repairs and upgrades. There were just five measures to increase or extend school parcel taxes.
Among the 35 non-school local revenue measures were four measures asking for a total of $722 million in bonds including a $400 million earthquake safety improvement measure in San Francisco and a $300 million park and open space measure in the mid-peninsula region of the San Francisco Bay Area.
There were 17 parcel taxes requiring two-thirds voter approval, including six library measures and nine fire, emergency medical or police public safety measures. Eleven proposals sought to extend or increase local sales taxes by from one-quarter percent in San Pablo, Woodland and Truckee, to 1 percent in Cathedral City and Cotati. Five of these measures earmarked the tax proceeds for a particular purpose, making them special taxes requiring two-thirds voter approval under Proposition 13. The city of Woodland took the unique approach of a majority vote general accompanied by four non-binding advisory measures as to the use of the funds.
Overall Passage Rates
Consistent with results in prior elections, majority vote tax measures fared much better than supermajority measures. Four out of five city tax measures passed but fewer than half of the non-school two-thirds vote bonds and special taxes passed. However, all five school parcel tax measures passed and just two of the eight 55 percent school bond measures failed.
The school bond passage rate was similar to prior passage rates. The 100 percent success of the five school parcel taxes clearly beats historical outcomes, although four of the five continue — but do not increase — existing taxes.
Among non-school measures, just one of the eight majority vote general purpose tax measures failed: a sales tax measure in Anderson. That measure is actually too close to call at this time, trailing after election night by less than 1 percent. This exceeds historic levels of passage of general tax measures in California (around two out of three have passed). It appears that 19 out of the 28 special tax measures passed. This too exceeds historic levels of success of these sorts of measures.
By the Numbers: Local Revenue Measures June 2014
Category Total Pass Passing Percentage
City General Tax (majority vote) 8 7 88 percent
City Special Tax or G.O. Bond (two-thirds vote) 11 8 73 percent
County (Special Tax) (two-thirds vote) 5 2 40 percent
Special District (two-thirds vote) 12 9 75 percent
School Parcel Tax (two-thirds vote) 5 5 100 percent
School Bond (two-thirds vote) 1 1 100 percent
School Bond (55 percent vote) 43 33 77 percent
Total 85 65 76 percent

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