Amendment impacting special use taxes falls short

A state constitutional amendment that Claremont had been watching has failed in the state assembly.

ACA-1, short for assembly constitutional amendment, aimed to lower the voting threshold for special use parcel taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent. On August 19, the amendment received 44 ayes and 20 noes—falling short of the supermajority needed to pass.

Assemblymember Chris Holden, who’s district includes Claremont, voted yes.

Special use taxes, where a tax is earmarked for a single and specific purpose, must be passed by a two-thirds supermajority vote under Proposition 13.

The law has been trouble for Claremont when it comes to passing a new police station ballot measure. While Measure PS didn’t come close to reaching that threshold in 2015, Measure SC failed at the ballot box in 2018 even after getting a clear 59 percent majority.

In their report to the council in July, the Police Station Citizens’ Advisory Committee (PSCAC) decided to hold off on placing a new police station measure on the ballot until after November 2020, in order to see what happens with ACA-1.

If the amendment failed, they reasoned, the measure would be placed on the ballot of the next available election.

The committee was initially targeting a March 2020 election date before making their decision regarding ACA-1.

Interim Assistant City Manager Chris Paulson told the COURIER in a statement that ACA-1’s failure was “disappointing,” but the bill is eligible for another vote this session.

Supporters of the bill, including the League of California Cities, will be working with those who voted no or abstained “to educate them on its merits and its impact on the ability of cities to fund critical infrastructure,” Mr. Paulson said.

“We are hopeful the bill will be brought up for a second vote, and that ultimately voters will have the opportunity to make the final decision,” he said.

Matthew Bramlett


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