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California State Capitol. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

California’s Voter Approved Special Taxes

The legislative body of a city, or district, may provide for the collection of the special tax

By Chris Micheli, December 26, 2022 7:29 am

California’s Government Code provides numerous powers and duties to cities and counties and Article 3.5 deals with voter-approved special taxes. Government Code Section 50075 provides that it is the intent of the Legislature to provide all cities, counties, and districts with the authority to impose special taxes, pursuant to the provisions of Article XIII A of the California Constitution.

Section 50075.1 provides that any local tax that is subject to voter approval that would provide for the imposition of a special tax by a local agency must provide accountability measures that include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

  • A statement indicating the specific purposes of the special tax.
  • A requirement that the proceeds be applied only to the specific purposes identified.
  • The creation of an account into which the proceeds shall be deposited.
  • An annual report.

Section 50075.3 requires the chief fiscal officer of the levying local agency to file a report with its governing body at least once a year and that annual report must include the amount of funds collected and expended, and the status of any project required or authorized to be funded.

Section 50075.5 defines the terms “local agency” and “special district.” Section 50076 provides that the term “special tax” does not include any fee which does not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the service or regulatory activity for which the fee is charged and which is not levied for general revenue purposes.

Section 50077 provides that the legislative body of any city, county, or district may, following notice and public hearing, propose by ordinance or resolution the adoption of a special tax. The ordinance or resolution must include the type of tax and rate of tax to be levied, the method of collection, and the date upon which an election shall be held to approve the levy of the tax.

In addition, the proposition must be submitted to the voters of the city, county, or district, or a portion thereof, and, upon the approval of two-thirds of the votes cast by voters voting upon the proposition, the city, county, or district may levy the tax. The legislative body of a city, or district, may provide for the collection of the special tax in the same manner and subject to the same penalty as, or with, other charges and taxes fixed and collected by the city, or district.

Section 50077.5 provides that sections of the Code of Civil Procedure apply to any judicial action or proceeding to validate, attack, review, set aside, void, or annul an ordinance or resolution approved by the voters pursuant to this article that levies a special tax, or modifies or amends an existing ordinance or resolution that levies a special tax.

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2 thoughts on “California’s Voter Approved Special Taxes

  1. That won’t stop the state from swapping out the money for state bonds to pad the budget, thus switching your capital from credits to IOW’s, “Love, Gavin.”

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