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Voters nationally favor local taxes

Measure QS approved in Santa Clarita to improve Castaic district schools

Posted: November 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.

When it comes to new taxes, voters tend to say government should ask for money from somebody else, like the rich. But that doesn’t always hold true, especially on the local level.

During last week’s elections, voters across the country opted to raise taxes to help their cities, counties and school districts.

“I’m OK with being taxed for making sure we don’t go under and people are taken care of,” said Elizabeth Boyd, 35, an independent voter in Sacramento. “I think it’s really good for us to pay for schools and make sure they’re kept open and teachers aren’t being laid off for ridiculous reasons.”

In California, 171 of the 240 local tax and bond measures on the Nov. 6 ballot won approval, a 71 percent pass rate. Those increases came in addition to voters passing statewide tax hikes championed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Ohio voters approved all local library taxes and a majority of local school bonds.

Voters in Alabama, Oklahoma and Colorado were among those also passing local tax increases.

Statewide tax measures did not fare as well. They failed in three of the five states where they were on the ballot. Even in California, statewide tax increases have failed far more often than they have passed.

Local revenue measures generally do better than statewide tax hikes, in part because voters feel more assured about how the money will be spent.

When Castaic-area voters approved the Measure QS bond sale last week, they gave the Castaic Union School District access to $51 million for improvements, repairs and upkeep.

Measure QS passed with 64.48 percent of the vote. A 55 percent majority was required for passage.

The measure authorizes the Castaic Union School District to issue $51 million in general obligation bonds, which will be funded via a property tax. That tax will amount to an estimated $19 per $100,000 of assessed annual property value, according to the proposal.

Voters tend to have a more favorable opinion about increasing taxes when they can see that the extra revenue will benefit their community directly.



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