Don’t water down our right to vote on taxes

The Southern California News Group (SCNG) recently published my article about upcoming legislation SB 231 which aims to limit LA County resident’s right to vote on property tax increases.  To learn more, you can read my OpEd below:

Don’t water down our right to vote on taxes

by Judy Nelson

Los Angeles County residents should be aware of stormwater regulations that could dramatically increase our property tax bills. Proposed legislation in Sacramento known as SB231, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Robert Hertzberg of the San Fernando Valley, would allow stormwater-control costs to be added to property assessments without a direct vote of the people.

In 2012, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted groundbreaking stormwater-management regulations affecting all cities in the region. Our county is the test site for the rest of the state and the country.

The mandate, called an MS4 permit, requires that cities capture 85 percent of the water from the first 24 hours of a storm. All water that flows out of the city via storm drains must first be monitored and treated for over 30 pollutants.

Those of us in government for local cities support the ideal of conserving water and preventing pollution from reaching the ocean. But the costs of implementing the systems are daunting, as this is a mandate without a funding source.

The big question for cities is “Where will the $20 billion to pay for the stormwater regulations come from?”

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