Under current law, state voter initiatives and constitutional amendments (outside of those that impose certain taxes) require a simple majority of voter approval to pass. Depending on the city or county, local measures usually also follow the same system. The exception is when a measure creates or extends a local or special tax. Then the vote requirement is usually two-thirds.
ACA 13 is an effort by the state Legislature to topple a system that protects the ability for California’s voters to seek change fairly and equitably through the initiative process. ACA 13 would require that any state constitutional amendment that attempts to increase the percentage of the vote needed to pass a local or state ballot measure must itself pass by the same percentage. For example, if the initiative proposes that issues such as taxes, animal rights or environmental laws be subject to a two-thirds vote by the electorate then that same statewide ballot measure must be enacted statewide by the same margin being proposed by the circulating initiative.
Additionally, ACA 13 ONLY applies to citizen-led initiatives. Any measures referred to the ballot from the Legislature would NOT be subject to the same requirement This creates an unfair advantage against voters who are seeking to reaffirm their values on a variety of policy issues impacting homeowners and private citizens.
While, at first glance, this may seem like a reasonable approach, the consequences of such a proposal could have disastrous effects across a spectrum of issues – from the ability of local citizens to address environmental or human rights and fair housing issues to making housing even less affordable by undermining the protections in Prop 13 – a measure that protects homeowners from over taxation.
Here is why C.A.R. OPPOSES ACA 13:
ACA 13 will undermine the voice and power of California’s voters. The legislature shouldn’t be attempting to change the rules just to avoid an outcome with which it might disagree.
ACA 13 will further keep working families from being able to purchase a home. On August 15, KTLA reported that California’s housing affordability “hit a 16-year low in the second quarter of 2023.” Increasing property taxes will make it even more difficult for first-time buyers to make the leap from renting to homeownership. California’s growing diverse population continues to face uphill battles in buying a home and growing family savings, which is THE fundamental step needed to close the state’s wealth gap.
ACA 13 could make buying and owning a home even more expensive by eroding Proposition 13 protections. ACA 13 seeks to undo protections enacted by Proposition 13 which established a 2/3 vote requirement for local governments to increase various taxes on homeowners. The passage of ACA 13 will only make it more difficult for homeowners to protect their homes from unfair taxation.
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Article Courtesy of CAR, All rights reserved.