California Proposition 26, or the “Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act,” is on the November 2, 2010 ballot in California as a constitutional amendment.
Offiical Title and Summary: “Requires that certain state and local fees be approved by two-thirds vote. Fees include those that address adverse impacts on society or the environment caused by the fee-payer’s business.
The initiative would require a two-thirds supermajority vote by the legislature bodies to pass many fees, levies, charges and tax revenue allocations that under existing rules can be enacted by a simple majority vote. At the local level, many "impact fees" that mitigate expenses for cities and counties would require 2/3 voter approval.
Supporters of the initiative say that fees, levies, and so on imposed by the California government amount to taxes, and should therefore require the same supermajority vote required to enact income or sales tax increases.
Opponents maintain the initiative is designed to shift the burden of paying for the cost of pollution from the companies that pollute to ordinary taxpayers. The initiative is seen to jeopardize environmental, public health, and consumer safeguards, and according to the State’s Legislative Analyst, would worsen the budgetary problems facing state and local governments by adding an additional $1 billion to the state’s annual deficit.
Proposition 26 is similar to Proposition 37, widely known as the “Sinclair Paint Initiative” and which was defeated in 2000.
Proponents and Major Donors
The California Chamber of Commerce is a lead force behind the "Stop Hidden Taxes" Initiative. Other notable supporters include:
- Americans for Tax Reform
- California Taxpayers Association
- Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
- The Wine Institute
Major Donors to the Yes on 26 Campaign (as of Oct 15, 2010).
- California Chamber of Commerce $1,995,000
- Small Business Action Committee $1,350,000
- Chevron $1,250,000
- American Beverage Association $750,000
- Philip Morris $500,000
- Anheuser-Busch $375,000
- MillerCoors $350,000
- Occidental Petroleum $250,000
No on 26 is opposed by numerous environmental and health organizations, as well as prominent labor groups in California. Among the key opponents:
- American Cancer Society
- American Lung Association
- California Nurses Association
- California Teachers Association
- League of Women Voters
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Planning and Conservation League
- Sierra Club California
- Union of Concerned Scientists
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