Local governments’ hands are largely tied on how they can fund activities. With the number of taxes they are allowed to levy limited, they lack certain flexibility for weathering difficult economic times. However, Senate President Darrell Steinberg is trying to change that.

His bill, SB 653, would allow local governments the right to pass a variety of taxes, from oil extraction to cigarette, vehicle, or others.

The bill could provide effective mechanisms for funding, because local governments may not face the partisan-fueled gridlock that makes approving a tax with a two-thirds supermajority more likely.

But taxpayer advocates worry that it could create chaos when more than 1,000 governments have total taxing authority.

From the Sacramento Bee:

The Senate Governance and Finance Committee today approved legislation that would lift longstanding limits on what taxes local governments can propose raising.

Senate Bill 653, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg would allow counties and school districts to adopt a wide range of taxes — including income, vehicle, alcohol, cigarette and oil severance taxes — with voter approval.

Steinberg said the intent of the bill is to give local governments more flexibility to fund key services like schools and public safety if lawmakers are unable to reach a budget solution that includes a statewide revenue stream.

Read the full article here.