FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – A Fresno Superior Court Judge struck down a controversial tax measure that would have meant new funding for Fresno parks.
The judge in the case ruled in favor of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and against Fresno Building Healthy Communities.
The Jarvis tax group contended that the tax is not legal because it was only passed by 52% of Fresno voters. Measures that will raise taxes require a 2/3 majority to be enacted under California law.
A Supreme Court gave Measure P a brief reprieve, ruling that 50% plus one vote was adequate to enact the parks measure. Measure P would have raised the city’s sales tax by 3/8 of one cent.
That money would have been used entirely for parks beautification projects and upkeep.
The crux of the argument was over whether a simple majority vote is adequate to enact a sales tax as long as it is directed to a specific public project. The Superior Court ruling upheld that Measure P broke precedent with California’s Proposition 13, which was enacted by voters back in 1978.
In the explanation for the ruling against Measure P the court wrote “The Two-Thirds vote requirement is not placed on The “local government.” Rather, proposed special Taxes must be “submitted to the electorate,” which must approve the proposals by a two-thirds vote”.
Backers of the measure say it’s likely the issue will now be decided by the State Supreme Court.