Local California voters approve three and defeat two tax measures on May 5

Voters in Blythe and four special districts within Contra Costa, Mendocino, Plumas, Riverside, and Sonoma counties voted on five different local tax measures on Tuesday. According to unofficial election night results, three were approved, and two were defeated.

  • Voters in the city of Blythe approved an additional 1% sales tax, thereby increasing the total sales tax rate in the city from 7.75% to 8.75% and generating an estimated $1.144 million per year in general fund revenue. It was ahead by 71% to 29%, and it required a simple majority to pass.
  • Voters in Contra Costa County Service Area No. P-2 Zone A (Blackhawk) approved a parcel tax to fund police services. It was ahead by 73% to 27%, and it required a two-thirds (66.67%) supermajority vote for approval. The measure authorized a parcel tax of $395 per residential unit, $2,370 per parcel for property designated as commercial/industrial/institutional, and $11,852 per parcel for property designated as commercial/theater.
  • Voters in the Coast Life Support District, a district primarily providing ambulance services and that overlaps parts of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, approved a parcel tax ranging from $61 to $1,220 per year depending on the property type. It was ahead by 81% to 19%, and it required a two-thirds (66.67%) supermajority vote for approval.
  • Voters in the Hamilton Branch Fire Protection District defeated a parcel tax measure to increase its annual parcel tax by $175 per parcel by replacing the existing rate of $108 per parcel with a rate of $283 per parcel in order to fund fire protection and emergency medical services. It was behind the 66.67% supermajority requirement with a vote of 64% to 36%.
  • Voters in the Northern Sonoma County Fire Protection District defeated a measure to increase the district’s annual parcel tax rate to between $160 and $240 for residential parcels depending on size and to $0.11 per sq. ft. for non-residential buildings, $54 per building for agricultural structures, and $170 for every vacant parcel or parcel above 20 acres for fire services. It was behind the 66.67% supermajority requirement with a vote of 63% to 37%.

Parcel taxes are taxes unique to California that are based on units or characteristics of property rather than assessed value.

In the March 3 primary, local California voters decided 293 local measures, which was more than double the average of 139 decided at even-year June primaries from 2010 through 2018. Of the 293 local measures, 237 (81%) were bond or tax measures.

  • There were 45 sales tax measures on the March 3 ballot. Twenty-four (53.3%) were approved, and 21 (46.7%) were defeated. From 2014 through 2019, 76% of local sales tax measures were approved.
  • There were 54 parcel tax measures on the March 3 ballot. Nineteen (35.2%) were approved, and 35 (64.8%) were defeated. From 2003 through 2019, 57.5% of local parcel tax measures were approved.
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Josh Altic

Josh Altic is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at josh.altic@ballotpedia.org

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