Making Democracy Work

Oakland and Alameda County Propositions

LWV Oakland supports these six local measures

They help provide adequate revenue for the provision of local government services.

  • Measure F. Alameda County Transportation Improvement Measure (Vehicle Registration Fee Increase).             SUPPORT

  • Measure L. Oakland Student Achievement, Support and Safety (Parcel Tax--requires a two-thirds majority). SUPPORT

  • Measure V. Marijuana Tax Increase. SUPPORT
  • Measure W. Telephone Fee. SUPPORT
  • Measure X. City Parcel Tax (requires a two-thirds majority). SUPPORT
  • Measure BB. Amendment to Measure Y (parcel tax--requires a two-thirds majority). SUPPORT

Why are parcel taxes required for Measures L, X, and BB?

Prior to Proposition 13, voters set their property taxes at the level they deemed necessary to pay for essential community services such as schools. Property taxes could be increased by a simple majority vote. The base property tax was based on a home's actual market value, so as a property's value increased, so did tax revenues.

In 1978, Proposition 13 brought about major restrictions on funding for local government and "special districts," such as cities, counties and school districts.

  • Taxes on property were limited to 1 percent of a property's assessed value, and

  • A property's assessed value was subject to a 2 percent annual growth ceiling. No longer would tax revenues increase in step with increases in a property's market value. Reassessment to coincide with market value was permitted only when a property changed ownership.

Proposition 13 acknowledged that this new model might not yield sufficient funds for essential services, and permitted special taxes beyond the constitutional limit, but only if both of the following requirements were met:

  • a community agreed to the special tax by a two-thirds or greater vote; and

  • the tax was a fixed amount per parcel of property (as opposed to being based on a property's value).

The impact of Proposition 13 on cities, counties, and school districts was enormous. Property tax revenue growth became limited because assessed values began to fall, on average, further and further below actual market values. Furthermore, the limitations imposed by Prop. 13 made it much more difficult for cities, counties, and school districts to obtain new revenue to keep up with rising costs or expand programs.

[Text adapted from "Campaign for Excellence in Palo Alto Public Schools," 2005 and Ballotpedia.]