Biggest Threat to Taxpayers in 2020: $16.6 Billion in Local Taxes & Bonds

California taxpayers, who already pay the highest state income tax in the nation, could soon pay billions of dollars in higher taxes – after voters cast their ballots this November.  

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And the biggest tax increase on the November ballot might surprise you.  

In November, voters will consider local tax and bond measures with a staggering annual price tag of more than $16.6 billion, according to an analysis by California Political Review of more than 240 local tax and bond measures on the November ballot compiled by the California Taxpayers Association. That staggering figure exceeds Democrats’ high-profile efforts to undermine California’s landmark Proposition 13 by imposing a split-roll property tax.  

The biggest threat to taxpayers on the November ballot is at the local level, but as I caution in my book “Taxifornia,” most voters overlook the impact of local tax and bond measures. 

Local tax measures range in size from Measure O, an 8 percent hotel tax to generate between $2,000 to $10,000 for the city of Tulelake, to Measure RR, a $7 billion general obligation bond proposed by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Local governments say that higher taxes are needed as a one-time offset to avoid cuts to government services. More often than not, they go to pay for raises for high-paid government employees.  

In 2016, the city of Westminster demanded voters approve a one-cent sales tax increase to avoid drastic budget cuts. The following year, the City Council went on a spending spree: granting a half-million dollars in raises for management employees and giving a $3,000-cash bonus to every member of the city’s union workforce. Meanwhile, the city’s highest paid employee collected $392,794.95 in pay and benefits in 2019, according to Transparent California.  

Across the state, local taxpayer advocates are fighting back.  

“Just like the roads tax, library tax, fire tax and parks tax before it, Measure O reminds us once again that the Board of Supervisors cannot live within its means,” argues Daniel A. Drummond, executive director of the Sonoma County Taxpayers’ Association, who is fighting a quarter-cent sales tax increase in Sonoma County. 

“Either we continue to approve new sales tax increases every election cycle or we finally say enough is enough,” he concluded. 


  1. I am voting NO, NO, and HELL NO, on ALL propositions raising taxes at any level for any reason. PERIOD.

  2. Just vote no on all Bonds.
    James Lacey is RIGHT!

  3. Blah, blah, blah.

    Anything to try and sell a book.

    Mr. Lacy, what are doing about the violation of AB-195 on every single one of these local measures? Or have you not gotten that far in your “research?”

    When the language on the ballot sells a “Yes” vote, just voting is not going to change anything. They can depend on the “stupidity of the American voter” (Jonathan Gruber on ObamaCare).

    There’s still a few days left to file an election contest special proceeding to set aside any local measure that passed at the March election.

  4. Pedro Martinez says

    It is time to bust the public unions and throw out their sycophant enablers.

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