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State Ballot Measure Could Potentially Void Sonora’s Measure Y Sales Tax

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Sonora, CA — The City of Sonora voters approved a one-cent sales tax measure last November in an effort to boost city coffers by about $4 million annually.

Nearly 58 percent of city voters were in favor of Measure Y and 42 percent were opposed.

A state ballot measure coming up in 2024, however, puts it all in jeopardy.

The Taxpayer Protection Initiative, supported by the California Business Roundtable and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, has received the needed amount of signatures required to appear on the November 2024 statewide ballot. It calls for, among other things, a 2/3 voter approval for all new local special tax increases (Measure Y just had a simple majority).

What has city leaders concerned is that if it is approved by state voters, it would even impact special taxes dating back to January 1, 2022. Since Measure Y was approved after, in November of last year, it would be in legal jeopardy, and likely have to go back to city voters for consideration (and receive a higher 2/3 threshold).

Praising the ballot initiative, Howard Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, argues that it would give “taxpayers, not politicians, more say over when and how new tax revenue is raised,” by making it more difficult to increase taxes.

The League of California Cities is raising concerns, as the group estimates that $2 billion in existing fees/taxes, statewide, could be in legal limbo if the state ballot measure passes next year.

At today’s 5 pm Sonora City Council meeting there will be a presentation by a representative of the League of California Cities about the potential impacts of the state ballot measure, and what it means for cities like Sonora. The council will then vote on whether to approve a resolution urging voters to oppose the state ballot measure.