State Supreme Court Makes it Easier for Local Government to Raise Taxes, Assessments & Fees on Homeowners

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

In a 5-2 decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that tax, assessment and fee increases proposed by citizens require only a simple majority vote, and that the stricter two-thirds vote requirement imposed by Proposition 218 only applies to government entities, not citizen initiatives.

“The court decision, if allowed to stand, will mean higher housing costs as local governments partner with special interest groups to inflict more taxes, fees and assessments on homeowners,” Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) said. “It should be harder to impose taxes on citizens, not easier.”

The court case, California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, was centered on a local initiative that would have repealed existing city ordinances in order to legalize and tax medical marijuana dispensaries.

As one of the original proponents of Proposition 13 to protect homeowners from ever-increasing property taxes, Senator Nielsen condemned the high courts’ decision. 

“In passing Proposition 218, the voters imposed restraint on government from all local taxes, not just some. The majority on the Supreme Court was being creative in their interpretation of Proposition 218.”