It's another tax grab. Senator Robert Hertzberg's SB 231 is set to go to the Assembly today, the bill would allow local governments to bypass voter approval for tax hikes regarding sewer maintenance.
SB 231 defines "sewer" as stormwater in order to work around Prop 218, which mandated voter approval on any new fees.
The fees that could come with this bill could get as high as $1,400 per parcel. How gross is this? We have rules in place to protect the taxpayers and this is what we get.
"This proposal would attempt to rewrite Prop. 218 with a statute to allow for stormwater to be included under the definition of “sewer,” meaning that it would no longer be subject to a Prop. 218 election. This is not a minor issue and, in fact, when the city of Salinas attempted to charge residents for “storm water runoff” as part of their sewer bill, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sued and won. The published decision inHJTA v. City of Salinaswas a significant victory for homeowners as the city was attempting to load up its “sewer” service with all kinds of costs unrelated to sewer service including street sweeping.
Of course, the real problem with SB231 is that it attempts to rewrite part of the California Constitution with a mere statute. This is a big no-no. The city of Salinas decision was an interpretation of Prop. 218 which added Articles XIIIC and XIIID to the California Constitution. Courts are likely to take a dim view of a legislative override of their interpretation of the state constitution..."
Jon Coupal, President of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, joined us this afternoon to discuss this latest scam from our state government: