November 8: Ballot Measures to Watch
From cannabis to housing, California voters will be asked to weigh in on a plethora of local ballot measures this Tuesday. Below is a list of some countywide measures we’re watching in the state’s most populous counties.
Measure A would allow the Board of Supervisors to remove an elected Sheriff from office for cause via a four-fifths vote. This is a direct outgrowth of the Board’s ongoing war with Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the defiance he has shown in office.
Measure C would tax marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas at $10 per square foot for cultivation, 6% on gross retail receipts, 2% of testing facilities' gross receipts, 3% on gross distribution receipts, and 4% of gross receipts for manufacturing and other marijuana business facilities.
Currently, retail marijuana sales are banned in LA’s unincorporated areas. Measure C won’t automatically change that, but it creates a pathway to do so. The measure was placed on the ballot by county supervisors.
Prop A would allow city employees who retired before November 6, 1996, to receive a supplemental cost of living adjustment to their pensions regardless of whether the retirement system is fully funded. It would also allow the Retirement Board to enter into an individual employment contract with its executive director.
Prop C supports creation of an oversight commission to oversee the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. It also requires the city controller to conduct audits of homeless services.
Prop D would eliminate the need for Board of Supervisors' approval for construction of affordable housing projects using city property or city financing.
Prop E would continue to require the Board of Supervisors' approval for affordable housing projects using city property or city financing.
Prop H would change the elections for Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, and Treasurer from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years (in November of presidential election years). It would also change signature requirements for ballot initiatives from 5% of votes cast for mayor to 2% of registered voters.
Prop L would continue a one-half cent sales tax through 2053 for transportation project funding and allow the Transportation Authority to issue up to $1.91 billion in bonds for transportation projects.
Prop M would allow the city to levy a tax on owners of vacant residential units in buildings with three or more units if the units have been vacant for more than 182 days in a year. The rates are $2,500–5,000 per vacant unit in 2024 with inflation adjustments thereafter through 2053.
Prop O is a parcel tax of $150–4,000 per parcel, beginning July 1, 2023 and ending on June 30, 2043. Revenue would go to the City College of San Francisco for student and workforce development programs.
Measure A would allow the Board of Supervisors to impose a tax on medical and recreational cannabis businesses operating in unincorporated areas. The tax would be as follows: a maximum of 6% of gross receipts for retail, 3% for distribution, 2% for testing, 3% for cultivation or $10 per canopy square foot and 4% for other businesses. This measure was placed on the ballot by county supervisors.
Measure D is the Board of Supervisors’ attempt to reverse provisions of Measure K (2020), which slashed annual compensation for County Supervisors from roughly $250,000 to $60,000 and set a term limit to a single four-year run.
Measure D would 1) re-implement four-year terms for supervisors and and limit the pay of supervisors at 80 percent of the annual pay for Superior Court judges 2) require a ⅘ supermajority of the board to approve any proposed tax increase and mandate that the increase be approved by voters 3) prohibit supervisors from raising their own salaries.
The second and third provisions especially have allowed supervisors to characterize the measure as taxpayer and government reform. Opponents accuse Measure D backers of trying to gaslight voters into giving them more power.
Measure EE is the secession measure, although it doesn’t call for outright secession from California. Instead, a “yes” vote supports the study and support of “all options to obtain the County's fair share of state funding, including secession from the State of California." The fate of this measure will be watched across the state.
Measure C would once again extend a half-cent sales tax imposed in 1986 for another 30 years. If approved, Measure C would raise $7 billion over 30 years.
Proponents say it’s needed to maintain and upgrade the county’s roads. Opponents say now is not the time. The existing tax doesn’t expire for another five years. Money from the measure has not been spent equitably across the county so far, according to critics.
Measure E would establish a 0.2% sales tax in Fresno County, except for a reduced 0.025% sales tax in the city of Reedley, to fund programs and facilities at California State University, Fresno.
Measure A asks voters to approve the Sacramento County Transportation, Maintenance, Safety and Congestion Relief Act of 2022 - Retail Transactions and Use Tax Initiative, including a 0.5% sales tax, to improve roads and air quality.
Measure B is a special tax measure requiring a two-thirds majority to pass. To fund enhanced County homeless services, including those along the American River Parkway, it would establish a tax on gross receipts from cannabis and hemp businesses in unincorporated Sacramento County. These are not to exceed 6% for retail, 4% for manufacturing, 3% for distribution, 2% for testing and, 3% for cultivation or $10 per canopy square foot inflation adjustable. This tax would generate an estimated $5,100,000 to $7,700,000 per year.
Measure D would allow the county and city governments to build affordable housing after the current authorization expires in 2024. Article 34 of the State Constitution requires voter approval before certain types of affordable housing projects can be developed by a public agency.