ARTICLE XIII C [VOTER APPROVAL FOR LOCAL TAX LEVIES]
[SECTION 1 – SEC. 3]
( Article 13C added Nov. 5, 1996, by Prop. 218. Initiative measure. )
Definitions. As used in this article:
(a) “General tax” means any tax imposed for general governmental purposes.
(b) “Local government” means any county, city, city and county, including a charter city or county, any special district, or any other local or regional governmental entity.
(c) “Special district” means an agency of the State, formed pursuant to general law or a special act, for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions with limited geographic boundaries including, but not limited to, school districts and redevelopment agencies.
(d) “Special tax” means any tax imposed for specific purposes, including a tax imposed for specific purposes, which is placed into a general fund.
(e) As used in this article, “tax” means any levy, charge, or exaction of any kind imposed by a local government, except the following:
(1) A charge imposed for a specific benefit conferred or privilege granted directly to the payor that is not provided to those not charged, and which does not exceed the reasonable costs to the local government of conferring the benefit or granting the privilege.
(2) A charge imposed for a specific government service or product provided directly to the payor that is not provided to those not charged, and which does not exceed the reasonable costs to the local government of providing the service or product.
(3) A charge imposed for the reasonable regulatory costs to a local government for issuing licenses and permits, performing investigations, inspections, and audits, enforcing agricultural marketing orders, and the administrative enforcement and adjudication thereof.
(4) A charge imposed for entrance to or use of local government property, or the purchase, rental, or lease of local government property.
(5) A fine, penalty, or other monetary charge imposed by the judicial branch of government or a local government, as a result of a violation of law.
(6) A charge imposed as a condition of property development.
(7) Assessments and property-related fees imposed in accordance with the provisions of Article XIII D.
The local government bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a levy, charge, or other exaction is not a tax, that the amount is no more than necessary to cover the reasonable costs of the governmental activity, and that the manner in which those costs are allocated to a payor bear a fair or reasonable relationship to the payor’s burdens on, or benefits received from, the governmental activity.
(Sec. 1 amended Nov. 2, 2010, by Prop. 26. Initiative measure.)
Local Government Tax Limitation. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution:
(a) All taxes imposed by any local government shall be deemed to be either general taxes or special taxes. Special purpose districts or agencies, including school districts, shall have no power to levy general taxes.
(b) No local government may impose, extend, or increase any general tax unless and until that tax is submitted to the electorate and approved by a majority vote. A general tax shall not be deemed to have been increased if it is imposed at a rate not higher than the maximum rate so approved. The election required by this subdivision shall be consolidated with a regularly scheduled general election for members of the governing body of the local government, except in cases of emergency declared by a unanimous vote of the governing body.
(c) Any general tax imposed, extended, or increased, without voter approval, by any local government on or after January 1, 1995, and prior to the effective date of this article, shall continue to be imposed only if approved by a majority vote of the voters voting in an election on the issue of the imposition, which election shall be held within two years of the effective date of this article and in compliance with subdivision (b).
(d) No local government may impose, extend, or increase any special tax unless and until that tax is submitted to the electorate and approved by a two-thirds vote. A special tax shall not be deemed to have been increased if it is imposed at a rate not higher than the maximum rate so approved.
(Sec. 2 added Nov. 5, 1996, by Prop. 218. Initiative measure.)
Initiative Power for Local Taxes, Assessments, Fees and Charges. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, including, but not limited to, Sections 8 and 9 of Article II, the initiative power shall not be prohibited or otherwise limited in matters of reducing or repealing any local tax, assessment, fee or charge. The power of initiative to affect local taxes, assessments, fees and charges shall be applicable to all local governments and neither the Legislature nor any local government charter shall impose a signature requirement higher than that applicable to statewide statutory initiatives.
(Sec. 3 added Nov. 5, 1996, by Prop. 218. Initiative measure.)