We are also pleased to report that AB 59 (Bonta; D-Alameda), which would create a de facto Split Roll Parcel Tax, did not move out of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee and is dead for the year.

When school districts put parcel taxes before voters those taxes should comply with state law requiring equal treatment of business and residential properties.  Some school districts in Alameda, Davis, San Leandro, West Contra Costa, and Los Angeles have been violating that principle by proposing and passing parcel taxes that tax parcels at different rates.  In December, a three-judge panel in a case involving the Alameda Unified School District unanimously confirmed that this is a violation of state law.

The issue stems from Proposition 13, the 1978 property-tax cutting initiative, and Proposition 62, a 1986 initiative clarifying that new local government taxes must be voter-approved. To implement the two initiatives, the Legislature passed laws setting rules for new local taxes. Among the requirements, parcel taxes must “apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the district.”

AB 59 would specify that the provisions requiring uniform application of taxes shall not be construed as limiting a school district from assessing taxes in accordance with rational classifications among taxpayers or types of property, thereby abrogating the holding in Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District.

Although “dead” for the year, advocates of such ideas have a tendency to try and revive them, so we will remain vigilant.

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