The League of California Cities today announced the release of its Proposition 26 Implementation Guide, the first thorough analysis of how the “Stop Hidden Taxes Initiative” affects municipal finances. The Guide is available on the League’s website at, where it can be downloaded free of charge. This publication is provided for general information and is not offered or intended as legal advice.

California voters approved Prop. 26 on Nov. 2, 2010 by 52.5 percent. The law in some limited instances may require new fees, or existing fees that are extended or increased, to be classified as special taxes requiring approval by a two-thirds vote of local voters. The League’s Proposition 26 Implementation Guide details how most fees that cities and other local agencies seek to adopt likely fall into one or more of the seven exceptions contained in the law’s provisions that are applicable to local government.

In short, Prop. 26 contains these exceptions:

  1. The Special Benefit or Privilege Exception;
  2. The Government Service or Product Exception;
  3. The Licenses and Permits Exception;
  4. The Local Government Property Exception;
  5. The Fines and Penalties Exception;
  6. The Property Development Exception;
  7. and The Prop. 218 Exception.

The Proposition 26 Implementation Guide was drafted by a committee convened by the League’s City Attorneys’ Department shortly after the election. Comprised of a dozen city attorneys and municipal finance experts, the committee spent several months reviewing Prop. 26 and drafting the analysis. 

The League also published an article in the March issue of Western City magazine geared towards a more general audience titled “Proposition 26: An Executive Summary for the Layperson.” This article is available online at

Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.