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    First On

    Details of Sac'to Proposal For Local Income Tax:

  • Amended Version Would Let Counties -- Not Cities -- Impose Income Tax With Majority Voter Approval, Then Allocate Money To Cities Within County On Per Capita Basis
  • Assembly Author (Mark Leno, D. San Francisco) Tells Senate Committee It's A "Local Optional Insurance Policy"

    (August 20, 2003) -- The author of a bill that could create the first local income taxes in the history of CA, letting counties impose the tax for public safety purposes with majority voter approval, has told a Senate Select Committee that his measure is "all about local control" and is a "local optional insurance policy, to be used only when needed and only with voter approval."

    The latest amended version of AB 1690 by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D., San Francisco) would let counties levy the income tax, not cities...with the tax revenue allocated to cities within the county on a per capita basis.

    "I continue to be committed to this measure because it is one of the few progressive -- and let me reemphasize that: progressive -- taxation programs before us this year. AB 1690 is all about local control. Local governments will make the case to their local residents and the voters of that county will then have the final word. In fact, this bill presents the first opportunity for local governments to levy a tax that is progressive and would help balance out the regressive effects of other taxing authorities, including utilities, user taxes, parcel taxes and sales tax. And of course AB 1690 is a local optional insurance policy, to be used only when needed and only with voter approval."

    Assemblyman Leno made his comments on August 20 in the Senate Select Committee on Restructuring which will send a report on the bill (without a vote) to the Senate Rules Committee...which will decide where the newly amended bill will be sent.

    As previously reported by, AB 1690 (which is backed by police, sheriff and firefighter employee unions) passed the CA Assembly in June in an earlier version which allowed both counties and cities to levy the tax. That version of the bill received the bare minimum 41 of 80 votes -- including LB area Assemblymembers Alan Lowenthal and Jenny Oropeza -- but the bill hit choppy water in the state Senate.

    As also first reported by, the state Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee declined at that time to advance the measure and (with Assemblyman Leno's reluctant consent) turned the bill into a seemingly innocuous measure that merely expressed the legislature's "intent" that a local income tax be explored.

    As predicted at the time: "That leaves open the possibility that restoring the bill's local income tax legal teeth could take place in the future."

    And it has.

    The amended version of AB 1690 (posted by on a link below) released August 18 restored the bill's substantive local income tax powers, with the proviso that only counties, not cities, could levy the tax...although cities would receive a share of any county income tax on a per capita basis (and part going to the county).

    To view AB 1690 (amended version as of August 18), click AB 1690 (amended as of Aug. 18)

    [update] To view AB 1690 as subsequently amended Sept. 4, click AB 1690 (as amended Sept. 4)

    Previous coverage:

    Aug. 2003: Sac'to Quietly Revives Local Income Tax Bill With Legal Teeth:

  • Amended Version Would Allow First-Ever County Income Tax -- With Majority Voter Approval -- For Public Safety Purposes With Monies Allocated To Cities
  • LB Council Votes 7-2 (Baker, Lowenthal dissenting) Against Sac'to Considering Local Income Tax

    July 2003: Sac'to Legislation Permitting Local Income Tax Neutered In Committee For Now But May Regain Potency Later

  • LB Firefighters Testify, Support AB 1690 Letting Local Voters Impose Local Income Tax For Public Safety Purposes
  • Committee Balks On Policy Grounds Voiced Mainly By Sen. Bowen (D., Redondo Beach-LB)
  • Committee Changes Legislation To "Intent" Bill -- Not Legally Binding; It May Regain Legal Teeth Later

    June 2003: CA Assembly -- With Lowenthal & Oropeza Voting Yes -- OK's Bill Authorizing Any City Or County Forming A "Public Safety Finance Agency" To Impose Local Income Tax With Majority Voter Approval

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