Government Finance and Operations update 5/9/2014
AB 2119 (Stone) – Support
As Introduced on February 20, 2014
CSAC supports AB 2119, by Assembly Member Mark Stone, which would allow counties to propose a transaction and use tax increases only in the unincorporated area of the county. The proceeds from the tax, if unincorporated voters approve it, could only be used in the unincorporated area.
Under current law, counties can only impose transactions and use countywide, with permission from all the county’s voters. Many cities levy their own sales taxes for the sole benefit of city residents. Those residents are often understandably reluctant to impose a further tax on themselves. AB 2119 would give residents who live outside of cities the same rights as those who live in them.
The Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee passed AB 2119 on a party-line vote on Monday, May 5. The bill now moves to the full Assembly.
AB 1873 (Gonzalez and Mullin) – Support
As Amended on April 22, 2014
AB 1873, by Assembly Members Lorena Gonzalez and Kevin Mullin, would authorize a county to conduct a special vacancy election entirely by mail, providing an opportunity to improve voter participation and save money. It would also allow processing of envelopes and ballots earlier than under current law, and would define ballots received within three days after the election as having been timely received if they either are postmarked or signed and dated on or before Election Day.
Special elections are costly, especially when they cannot be consolidated with other elections. In Los Angeles County alone, special elections have cost more than $27 million since 2008. County election officials conduct these elections in the same way as other statewide elections, with the parallel process of polling places and poll workers run alongside the increasingly popular mail ballots.
Special elections have embarrassingly low voter turnout. The 2013 special elections were particularly poor in turnout, with turnout rates in single digits in some of the later elections. There must be a better way to improve voter participation without imposing significant costs on counties.
The bill passed the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee by a whisker, 4-1 with the chair and one of the two Republicans abstaining.