The top Democrat in the state Senate budget committee wants California voters to make it easier for school districts and county education offices to raise taxes.
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said he will introduce legislation Monday placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot to lower the threshold for school parcel taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent.
Democrats this month won supermajority control of the Legislature for the first time in over a century, making it possible for them to place constitutional amendments such as Leno's on the ballot without GOP support. Also, constitutional amendments do not need approval from the governor.
California now requires that two-thirds of voters approve parcel taxes for schools, though it only requires 55 percent support for school bonds. Districts typically use bonds for building improvements but parcel taxes to support operating expenses.
Legislative Democrats have said they wanted to use their supermajority powers sparingly when it comes to raising taxes. Another lawmaker, Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, had proposed asking voters to raise the car tax but retracted the idea after facing criticism both inside and outside his caucus.
BY THE NUMBERS
California taxpayers rank second in itemized deductions as a share of income, a noteworthy fact as national leaders consider tax changes that may restrict how much people can itemize, according to the Tax Foundation. Californians applied itemized deductions against one-fifth of their income in 2010. Maryland residents barely deducted more 20.09 percent.
"Assemblyman Donnelly's views on immigration do not represent the views of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, nor do I believe he represents the views of most Republicans or Californians."
ROBERT LOEWEN, president of the conservative Lincoln Club of Orange County, referring to the gubernatorial aspirations of GOP Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, a former leader in the anti-illegal immigration Minuteman Project