While the Prop. 26 election to increase property taxes was close overall (51.2 percent voting “no”), closer examination reveals that support was limited to only 11 of the 58 counties that voted “yes” on Prop. 26. These were the ultraliberal counties of San Francisco and surrounding regions, and they heavily favored the measure.
In contrast, 47 counties voted “no,” including even normally liberal Los Angeles County. In San Diego County the measure was strongly rejected by a 55 percent voter majority.
There is no reason to bring this measure back for another election. The people have spoken.
Predictably, the “tax-and-spend” crowd is gnashing teeth over the failure of Prop. 26. But requiring a two-thirds vote is a completely democratic way to protect the rights of property owners against unnecessary tax increases.
Significant issues should always require a significant percentage of the voters, and not just a simple majority.
Indeed, the approval of our U.S. Constitution, which marked the very start of America, required approval of 9/13 of the colonies, or about 70 percent (Ref: Art. VII, US Constitution).
And within our Constitution, the supreme law of the land, a super-majority of either two-thirds or even three-quarters is required no less than 14 times. For example, two-thirds majorities are required for Congress to propose amendments and three-quarters for states to ratify amendments. (Ref: Article V, U.S. Constitution).
If anything, the two-thirds requirement is too low. Today, with voter turn-out only about 50 percent, even tax measures that pass by two-thirds aren’t getting a simple majority of the eligible voters.
And Still More
Recent editorials are calling for another vote on Prop. 26. For instance, the San Diego Union-Tribune claims that “until school districts can pass bonds with a simple majority to rebuild falling-apart schools, that (deteriorating) trend will continue.”
Not counting this March election, in the last four years, 63 percent of all school bond measures, totaling over $10 billion, have passed with the required two-thirds majority. In the March 7 election, two of the three San Diego County school bonds passed with a two-thirds majority vote. In L.A., all seven school bonds passed.
If school bonds could pass with only a simple majority, then almost all school bonds, regardless of actual need, would pass. In the last four years, 97 percent of all school bonds received at least a 50 percent vote in the election. If such bonds could pass with a simple majority, then future bond measures would dwarf previous bond dollar amounts, driving property taxes through the roof.
Finally, if schools are falling apart as claimed, what happened to the $10 billion worth of bonds we already passed for schools?