Counties Relieved Over Initiative Election Results
Nov. 8, 2018
Californians rejected two bold attempts to cut local revenues on Tuesday, handing defeat to both Proposition 5 and Proposition 6, although proponents of both measures have already declared their intention to continue their efforts.
Voters also approved both of the housing-related bond measures counties supported, Propositions 1 and 2, though they rejected Proposition 3, the $8.9 billion water and parks bond.
Local tax and bond measures also fared well this election, as detailed elsewhere in the Bulletin, giving counties much to be thankful for.
At the urging of counties, CSAC spent considerable time and resources to defeat Proposition 6, helping lead a broad coalition of business, labor, and others in opposition. The measure would have reduced transportation funding by over $5 billion per year and required future transportation taxes to be approved by voters.
The chief proponent of Proposition 6 has already promised to start targeting certain state legislators who increased transportation funding with recall attempts, as he has already successfully done once.
The association was also active in opposing Proposition 5, which would have expanded an already existing property tax break for home-owning seniors and people with disabilities, at the cost of over $1 billion per year for local agencies.
The California Association of Realtors, which wrote Proposition 5 and provided essentially all of its funding, has already filed a slightly different ballot measure with the state. It remains to be seen whether their intention is to place the measure on the 2020 ballot or simply use it as a bargaining chip with the Legislature to achieve their other policy goals.
The two statewide bonds that voters approved will provide a combined $5.8 billion for affordable housing programs, some of it specifically earmarked for veterans, farmworkers, and people who have mental illnesses but not homes. The $1.8 billion from Proposition 2, the No Place Like Home Act, will provide grants to counties for permanent supportive housing projects for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and living with a serious mental illness.
Combined with the passage of many local tax and bond measures, this election was largely a success for counties. Local officials can take a moment to rest, knowing that soon enough there will be more attempts to reduce local authority and funding.