Politics & Government

The Buzz: California election officials tally cost estimates for Senate special election

Election officials in Riverside and San Bernardino counties estimated Monday that it will cost them about $1.1 million to hold a stand-alone special election next year to fill the vacancy created by the surprise resignation of state Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands.

California won’t cover the expense for the counties, where unemployment rates remain among the state’s highest. Earlier this year, a Senate panel blocked an Emmerson bill to resume the reimbursement that ended in 2007.

“Fiscal uncertainty is a reality for government agencies and these unplanned and unfunded elections are an immense burden on the budgeting process,” Emmerson said in a committee analysis of his measure, Senate Bill 519.

Emmerson’s resignation takes effect Dec. 1. It’s likely that the special primary election will be a stand-alone ballot in March or April. The special general ballot will likely take place at the same time as the June 3 statewide primary election and cost the counties about a quarter as much. San Bernardino County already has had four special elections this year for legislative seats.

– Jim Miller


California levies a statewide 7.5 percent tax on retail sales, but local governments and other agencies can add surtaxes for various purposes. That can make it hard to know what tax rate applies at which retail locations. A new interactive tool from the Board of Equalization allows the user to plug in an address and instantly learn the applicable rate. Board member George Runner said he proposed the tool because even retailers have trouble keeping track of rate changes. The website is at https://maps.gis.ca.gov/boe/TaxRates.

– Dan Walters



Interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria offering a tongue-in-cheek Twitter assessment of his 79 days leading America's Finest City. Voters there go to the polls today to pick a permanent replacement for Bob Filner, who resigned. A runoff, if necessary, will likely be in February.