Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n Says In March, Mayor Garcia told Sac'to lawmakers City of LB supports
In March, Mayor Garcia told Sac'to lawmakers City of LB supports
|(April 5, 2019, 6:55 p.m.) -- The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has issued an "Action Alert" calling Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 (ACA 1, proposed ballot measure to lower Prop 13's taxpayer-protective 2/3 voter approval margin to raise taxes to 55%) "an attack on Proposition 13" by making it easier for cities to impose various types of sales taxes and parcel taxes.
The group's Legislative Director, David Wolfe, told LBREPORT.com (AUDIO below) that Long Beach City Councilmembers should go on record indicating their position on ACA 1 after LB Mayor Garcia sent a letter to state lawmakers contending that City of Long Beach supports the ACA1 despite the fact LB's policy-setting City Council didn't cast a publicly recorded vote on whether to support ACA 1.
Mr. Wolfe said his organization has about 30% registered Democrats among its statewide members ("there's nothing partisan about taxes or Prop 13") and Long Beach-area Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, LB-SP) will be faced with voting on the measure (likely in May or June) at which time seven Assemblymembers would have to abstain or vote "no" to stop it from advancing further.
Mr. Wolfe said ACA 1 "undermines and eviscerates the provisions of Proposition 13. It removes the two-thirds vote for all local special taxes including sales and parcel taxes [for]...a wide variety of infrastructure projects including affordable housing. It could hundreds of dollars to property tax bills up and down the state...This could get really expensive for local property owners, residential and businesses I might add real quick." He added that he considers it "counter-intuitive" to claim ACA 1 supports affordable housing when it since "parcel taxes are very regressive; you pay the same amount of money regardless of the size of your home or residence of the amount of income that you make...Why would we add additional property tax burdens in the form of parcel taxes and make it more difficult for people to own homes...and it doesn't fix our affordable housing issues."
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Mr. Wolfe said "the jury is still out on whether or not we're going to be successful [in stopping ACA 1.] This is the first time in the 40 year history of Proposition 13 that both houses have a 2/3 super-majority in the legislature...We're dealing with unprecedented territory here and obviously Prop 13 has bipartisan support, it has majority voter approval [in polls] in every area of California with the exception of the San Francisco Bay Area..."
Mr. Wolfe also commented on a March 20, 2019 letter sent by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia who without a publicly recorded vote by LB's policy-setting City Council on ACA 1 -- represented to key Assemblymembers that the City of Long Beach supports ACA 1. He noted that LB City Council "hasn't taken a position on the measure, and I think they should...City Councilmembers need to go on record indicating whether or not they support or oppose a measure that 60% of the population [in polls] does indeed clearly support."
HJTA's Action Alert noted that it's now joined in opposition to ACA1 by groups including the California Taxpayers Association (Cal-Tax) and the Family Business Association of California....and HJTA is "committed to the fight to stop ACA 1 from becoming law."
As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, on March 20, LB Mayor Garcia sent state lawmakers a letter contending that the City of Long Beach supports ACA 1 although LB's policy setting City Council never took up the measure and never cast a publicly recorded vote either to support or oppose the measure.
In his letter dated March 20, 2019, Mayor Garcia stated in pertinent part:
...ACA 1 would provide Long Beach with a more realistic financing option to fund an increase in the supply of affordable housing, and to address the numerous local public infrastructure challenges cities are facing. The City supports policies that promote the development of affordable and accessible housing. Over the last decade, the City has facilitated the construction of 1,694 new affordable units, preserved nearly 2,000 units, rehabilitated 367 units, and passed the voter-supported Measure A to fund infrastructure and public safety improvements. In addition, the City is developing inclusionary zoning and tenant assistance policies and has 800 affordable units in the development pipeline. To achieve the same or greater levels of affordable housing production moving forward, it is critical to provide opportunities for additional funding sources. ACA 1 would help the City achieve this goal.a Sacramento-proposed state constitutional amendment that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association strongly opposes as an attack on Proposition 13.
If put on the ballot by 2/3 of Assembly members and state Senators (Democrats hold super-majorities in both chambers) and approved by a majority of CA voters, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 (ACA 1, text here) would reduce Prop 13's 2/3 voter-approval requirement to 55% for City Hall-sought debt-bonds and special taxes for "affordable" housing (including for low-, or very low income households), homeless supportive housing (including for persons deemed at "high risk of long-term or intermittent homelessness") and "public infrastructure" very broadly defined, including but not limited to the following projects:
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|Under LB's City Charter, LB's non-voting Mayor has no authority to set policy for the City of Long Beach; a City Council majority decides city policy in publicly voted actions...and the Council never explicitly discussed or cast a recorded vote to support ACA 1.
The Council did vote to approve a "state legislative agenda," an annual list of general policies that the City will support or oppose, but they don't explicitly endorse amending the state constitution to change Proposition 13 or approve making it easier to increase LB taxpayers' burden. The Council-approved 2019 state legislative agenda simply includes the following:
Support policies, legislation and grants that increase funding for affordable housing when equitable to Long Beach...
The Council also previously approved a number of strategies to promote affordable housing, one of which states:
Track federal and State legislative activities and support legislation that increases funding for affordable housing.
The Mayor's March 20 letter came one week before ACA 1 received its first and only scheduled Assembly policy committee hearing. On March 27, the Assembly's Local Government Committee (Dems holding a majority) voted 5-2-1 to send ACA 1 to the Assembly Appropriations Committee (a fiscal analysis/non-policy committee one step from the Assembly floor.)
The Assembly Local Government Committee's legislative analysis of ACA 1 stated in pertinent part:
SUMMARY: Proposes amendments to the California Constitution to allow a city, county, or special district, with 55% voter approval, to incur bonded indebtedness or impose specified special taxes to fund projects for affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, or public infrastructure. Specifically, this bill:
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