The County Voice

Common Sense, Facts & Logic Prevail in Defeat of Propositions 5 & 6

Last night’s election results declared victory for CSAC and our coalition partners as two of the most damaging ballot measures in decades for county infrastructure, services and programs were defeated. Voters made their choices known and rejected Proposition 6 (attack on road and bridge safety) and Proposition 5 (property tax erosion) handily. Let me express my sincerest appreciation and gratitude for your commitment and dedication that earned this successful outcome for all 58 counties. 

Flashy and showy are certainly not words you would use to describe our organization (unlike some other groups who battled it out at the ballot box this year). Instead, our strength lies in being a trusted messenger, a reliable resource, and committed partner with the broad network of coalition members who joined these two battles. CSAC engaged mightily on these propositions with significant, necessary resources and the coordinated efforts of our county officials from throughout the state.

Proposition 6, spearheaded by San Diego radio talk show host Carl DeMaio but also leveraged by candidates for Congress and Governor of California, would have repealed over $5 billion annually in existing transportation funding and jeopardized over 6,500 projects currently underway in every single community in the state. CSAC served as co-chair on the No on Prop 6 campaign, which was supported by close to 600 organizations including the California Chamber of Commerce, California Professional Firefighters, Association of California Highway Patrolmen, organized labor, and environmental groups, just to name a few.

Counties served a vital function in educating Californians about was at risk should Prop 6 pass – specifically educating constituents about the specific projects that were being funded in their communities and what projects would be on the chopping block if these revenues went away. Moreover, counties also communicated the long-term consequences to the local street and road system under a Prop 6 scenario – continued degradation of existing infrastructure, increased funding shortfalls, and decreased overall quality of life and economic opportunities. Despite efforts by the proponents to confuse and distract voters from the real consequences of Prop 6, Californians connected the dots between transportation funding and projects that improve their daily lives.

Proposition 5, sponsored by the California Association of Realtors, would have resulted in a $1 billion dollar drain on county property tax revenues each and every year. It also threatened to make worse the statewide housing crisis by helping certain, existing homeowners purchase more expensive homes while also driving up the purchase price of homes. CSAC was part of a diverse coalition including schools, healthcare providers, firefighters, public safety, senior advocates, labor unions and housing champions. CSAC was looked to by the coalition for our expertise on the wonky and complex tax-incentive language that was proposed by Prop 5. Our contributions contributed to breaking up the proponents’ claims and breaking through the Yes on 5 campaign antics.

While the election is now settled, proponents of Props 5 and 6 have already set their eyes on the 2020 statewide ballot with new initiatives that attack county revenues and in turn, county services and infrastructure. CSAC remains committed and ready to continue our fight on these and other critical issues. We will once again rely on our expertise and the strength of California’s counties working together.

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