How AB 195 May Help Restore “Impartiality” to Local Ballot Language

Every two years in November, California’s local agencies ask the voters to approve hundreds of new taxes and bonds. California’s primary ballot every other June also features dozens, if not hundreds of new requests for local tax increases and borrowing. And in times of dire urgency, special elections are called. For example, this coming Tuesday, 6/04, in an off year, Los Angeles residents will vote on a new parcel tax that, if passed, will raise a half-billion dollars per year to help bail out LA Unified School District’s pension and retirement health benefits.

Oops. Apparently that characterization of the reason for this proposed tax increase is incorrect. Measure EE’s ballot question is as follows:

“To retain/attract quality teachers; reduce class sizes; provide counseling/nursing/library services, arts, music, science, math, preschool, vocational/career education, safe/well-maintained schools, adequate instructional materials/supplies; support disadvantaged/homeless students; shall Los Angeles Unified School District levy $0.16 per square foot of building improvements annually, exempting seniors/certain disability recipients, providing approximately $500,000,000 annually for 12 years, requiring annual audits, oversight, and funding local schools?”

Never mind the fact that LAUSD’s cost of employee benefits increased from $1.54 billion in 2015-16 to $1.92 billion in 2016-17, an increase of 25 percent, when the total employee headcount only increased by six-tenths of one percent. Never mind that this shortfall, $1.92 billion less $1.54 billion, is $380 million.

Ignore the cost of pension and retirement health benefits. This tax is “to retain/attract quality teachers.”

LAUSD now carries an unfunded pension liability of $6.8 […] Read More