The California Special Districts Association (CSDA) Board of Directors voted to oppose Proposition 26 last week at CSDA’s Annual Conference and Exhibitor Showcase. Proposition 26 would broaden the current definition of a tax to include certain fees and assessments, thus triggering a two-thirds voter requirement for approval.

Voters will decide on a total of nine initiatives on the November 2 statewide ballot. In addition to opposing Proposition 26, CSDA has also actively supported the qualification and passage of Proposition 22, the Protect Local Taxpayers and Vital Services initiative.

In regard to special districts, language in Proposition 26 states that it would limit “fees” to charges that cover the “reasonable costs of the governmental activity.” If approved, special districts will face a requirement to prove that a fee or assessment is not a tax; a requirement CSDA believes will invite litigation against special districts and raise the costs of the essential services they provide to their consumers.

CSDA supported Proposition 22 would constitutionally protect local governments, including special districts, from the continuous shifting, borrowing and delaying of funds by the State Legislature. Taking money from local governments worsens, rather than resolves, the state’s chronic structural budget deficit and it significantly harms vital local services such as fire protection, water, libraries and more.  You can read more about Proposition 22 on CSDA’s Grassroots Action Center.