Will Governor Brown put his signature behind Hertzberg’s SB231?
Protect your voting rights now and contact Governor Brown’s office to request that he vetoes SB 231.
On Thursday, Aug. 31 2017, prior to Labor Day weekend, CA State Senator Bob Hertzberg received the dubious victory of watching his property tax legislation, SB 231, narrowly squeak through the State Assembly by one vote.
It’s been a long road for SB 231. This was Hertzberg’s second attempt doggedly pushing his bill through Sacramento. He had submitted it last year under a different name, and it failed to pass due to concerns from both sides of the political aisle. There is still plenty of skepticism today regarding the legalities of SB 231.
Will Governor Brown approve SB 231?
This past Friday, Governor Brown signed many bills into law, but SB 231 was noticeably omitted, although two of Hertzberg’s other pieces of legislation were approved. It’s possible the troubled bill may not be authorized due to the fact it removes citizen’s voting rights that are guaranteed under Prop 218. If the governor signs this law into effect it could open the State to class action suits on behalf of residents.
Protect your voting rights now and contact Governor Brown’s office to request that he does not approve SB 231.
The consequences of SB 231:
Prior to Sen. Hertzberg writing his legislation, polling showed that residents would not approve of this tax increase. Realizing the futility of placing it on the ballot, Sen. Hertzberg designed legislation which would circumvent the voter requirements and grant local governments the right to levy this property assessment directly.
Why is there an attempt to raise property taxes right now?
SB 231 was designed to allow local cities, and the County of Los Angeles, to tax property owners for a new stormwater assessment. There is a $20 billion stormwater infrastructure mandate in the works, dubbed the “MS4” Permit, and it requires funding. SB 231 would remove homeowner’s rights to vote on this tax and it could be applied to property bills without cap limits.
There were many legislators opposed to this sleight of hand, and thanks are owed to our Glendora representatives, Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, State Senator Anthony Portantino, The California Association of Realtors, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and many others who took a stance of principled opposition on behalf of voter rights.
Background on the MS4 Stormwater Permit:
In 2012, the Los Angeles Water Quality Control Board implemented a new stormwater (MS4) permit which is neither practical, feasible nor affordable. Compliance has an estimated cost of $20 billion for LA County, and $233 million for the City of Glendora. Los Angeles will be the first county in the United States to implement a system such as this and proponents hope it will be used for other cities in the future.
Unfortunately, there is no funding source and no budget allocation from the State of California to implement this mandate. Every city in LA county must find a way to finance the expensive infrastructure or risk being severely fined.
Los Angeles County taxpayers are being asked to fund what is essentially a $20 billion stormwater prototype program. It is considered groundbreaking progress by advocates, and has the notable end goals of reducing water contaminants and increasing stormwater capture. However there are many questions about the real-life implementations and how much it will ultimately cost residents.
Local officials and city managers would be wise to insist on a comprehensive review of the MS4 mandate before it’s too late. There are many pressing concerns throughout Los Angeles County that need funding, and politicians have an obligation to allocate residents’ taxes judiciously… particularly if removing their legal rights to vote on them.