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California Bond Measures Submitted to Voters

The statement must contain the best estimate for average annual tax rate, highest tax rate, and total debt service

By Chris Micheli, January 26, 2022 3:21 pm

On occasion, bond measures are submitted to voters in the State of California. The Elections Code, in Division 9, Chapter 5, provides several statutes related to bond issues. They are contained in Section 9400 to 9405. Section 9400 specifies that Chapter 5 applies to all bond issues proposed by a county, city and county, city, district, or other political subdivision, or by any agency, department, or board thereof, the security for which constitutes a lien on the property for ad valorem taxes within the jurisdiction and the proposal for which is required to be submitted to the voters for approval.

Section 9401 requires that, in connection with each bond issue, a statement be mailed to the voters with the sample ballot for the bond election. The statement required by this section must be filed with the elections official conducting the election not later than the 88th day before the election. The statement must contain specified information, including the best estimate for average annual tax rate, highest tax rate, and total debt service.

In addition, the statement may contain a declaration of policy of the legislative or governing body of the applicable jurisdiction, proposing to use revenues other than ad valorem taxes to fund the bond issue, and the best estimate from official sources of these revenues and the reduction in the tax rate levied to fund the bond issue resulting from the substitution of revenue.

Section 9402 requires all official materials to contain a statement of tax rate data. Those materials include any voter information guide prepared, sponsored, or distributed by the jurisdiction that has proposed the bond issue or that is financed in whole or part by funds furnished by that jurisdiction, directed at or including a bond issue proposal, but excluding a notice of election required by law to be posted or published.

Section 9403 provides that failure to comply with this chapter does not affect the validity of any bond issue following the sale and delivery of the bonds. Section 9404 makes a legislative declaration that the essence of compliance with this chapter is good faith in presenting to voters the most accurate available information for their use in effecting comparisons and exercising judgment in casting their ballots.

Section 9405 specifies that, whenever the elections official is required to mail a statement, only one copy of the statement is to be mailed to a postal address where two or more registered voters have the same surname and the same postal address. In addition, this code section only applies if the legislative body adopts this section and the election official conducting the election approves of the procedure.

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