California voters to decide 11th parcel tax ballot measure this year, 961st since 2008

Welcome to the Thursday, August 24, 2023, Brew. 

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. California voters to decide 11th parcel tax ballot measure this year, 961st since 2008
  2. New federal SNAP work requirements take effect Sept. 1
  3. Catch up on the 2024 presidential election in the latest episode of On the Ballot

California voters to decide 11th parcel tax ballot measure this year, 961st since 2008

Voters in Santa Lucia Community Services District, a special district in Monterey County, will decide on a parcel tax ballot measure—Measure T—on Aug. 29. The measure will be the 11th local parcel tax ballot measure California voters have decided this year, and the 961st they have decided since 2008. 

Measure T would enact an annual tax of $954.67 on developed and undeveloped estate residential parcels. Revenue from the parcel tax would provide funding for the district’s fire and EMS services. Owners of the parcels would pay the tax. 

A two-thirds vote is required to approve Measure T.

We first wrote about California’s parcel taxes back in our July 11 edition. That day, voters in Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility District, a special district in the Sierra Nevada, rejected Measure E, a parcel tax measure that would have enacted a tax on non-exempt residential and commercial parcels based on the number of parking spaces assigned to each parcel. The tax would have provided funding for the Kirkwood Volunteer Fire Department’s fire suppression and prevention services.

A parcel tax is a unique form of property tax that only exists in California. It’s based on the characteristics of a unit of property—a parcel—rather than its assessed value. A parcel tax can be levied on square footage or by dwelling unit, or the tax may be a flat rate per parcel.

Cities, counties, school districts, or other local government entities enact parcel taxes to generate additional revenue for specific purposes, such as funding public schools, libraries, parks, fire stations, or other local services.

Parcel taxes usually require voter approval, often requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The revenue generated from parcel taxes is typically earmarked for specific purposes.

Local governments in California began enacting parcel taxes to avoid some of the limitations imposed by California Proposition 13, a constitutional amendment voters approved in 1978 that limits property taxes in the state.

From 2008 to 2022, the average number of parcel tax ballot measures in a given year in California was 68. During odd-numbered years, like 2023, the average was 36. 

Of the 960 parcel tax measures Californians have decided on since 2008, voters approved 577 (60.10%) and defeated 383 (39.90%).

Of the 10 parcel tax measures that have been on the ballot this year, voters have approved eight (80%) and defeated two (20%).

Every year, voters in California decide local ballot measures on as many as a dozen different election dates. In even-numbered years, voters decide hundreds of local measures, with the number ranging from about 530 to over 800 in the last three two-year cycles. In odd-numbered years, like 2023, local voters generally decide between 100 and 200 measures.

Most measures concern parcel taxes, sales taxes, or school bond issues, or other local tax or public revenue issues. Other issues local measures address include marijuana regulations and taxes, development and zoning issues, housing, fracking and the environment, and dozens of other policies that affect the everyday lives of residents.

Ballotpedia provides comprehensive coverage of local ballot measures in California, as well as the top 100 largest cities in the U.S., state capitals, and local ballot measures related to policing and ranked-choice voting.

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New federal SNAP work requirements take effect Sept. 1

Starting Sept. 1, 2023, new Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules go into effect requiring some older Americans to work in order to qualify for food assistance while exempting other groups from working.

The work requirement modifications were included in the Fiscal Responsibility Act enacted on June 3, as part of the negotiations between President Joe Biden (D) and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) to raise the debt ceiling.

Current SNAP rules require able-bodied adults from ages 18 to 49 to work or attend job training for at least 80 hours a month. The Fiscal Responsibility Act gradually increases the age limit work requirement:

  1. Sept. 1, 2023: The age to meet work requirements increases to 50.
  2. Oct. 1, 2023: The age to meet work requirements increases to 52.
  3. Oct. 1, 2024: The age to meet work requirements increases to 54.

The law also added new exemptions for work requirements for some people. Those who no longer have to submit proof of work are veterans, homeless individuals, and former foster children under age 25. All of the new SNAP rules will expire on Oct. 1, 2030.

A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a fiscal policy research group, said the new work requirements “would put almost 750,000 older adults aged 50-54 at risk of losing food assistance … including many who have serious barriers to employment as well as others who are working or should be exempt but are caught up in red tape.”

Following the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, McCarthy said, “Work-capable adults without dependents will get a job, learn new skills, and earn a paycheck because of this bill’s new welfare reforms. These reforms are going to change people’s lives. Families will be stronger and more self-sufficient.”

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Catch up on the 2024 presidential election in the latest episode of On the Ballot 

Believe it or not, the first Republican presidential primary debate is now in the rearview mirror, and the next one is barely a month away. 

In this week’s episode (recorded before Wednesday’s debate), Ballotpedia Staff Writer Ellen Morrissey breaks down the criteria the candidates had to meet to qualify for the first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She also previews the qualifying requirements we should expect for the next Republican primary debate, set to take place on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Ellen also discusses the most recent campaign finance reports, the latest updates on the Democratic primary calendar, and where former President Donald Trump (R) stands in the polls. 

Tune in to learn more! New episodes of On the Ballot come out Thursday afternoons, so if you’re reading this on the morning of August 24, you’ve still got time to subscribe on your favorite podcast app before this week’s episode comes out.

Don’t miss out on the latest content! Click below to listen to older episodes and find links to where you can subscribe.

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