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Proposition 62

Proposition 62 was Howard Jarvis’ last initiative. He led the effort to qualify it for the ballot but passed away a few months before the November 1986 election when it was to face the voters.

Proposition 62 closed some loopholes put in Proposition 13 by the California Supreme Court in the case of San Francisco v. Farrell. Proposition 13 declared that special taxes at the local government level must receive a two-thirds vote of the people. San Francisco contended that special taxes were for special purposes only and that general purpose taxes could be levied without a two-thirds vote. San Francisco authorities pursued this theory by filing a friendly lawsuit against one of its own officials. The Rose Bird-led Supreme Court supported this argument, declaring that while taxes for special purposes required a two-thirds vote, general taxes required no vote at all and could simply be levied by a government body.

Howard Jarvis said this was not the intention of Proposition 13. He believed the people wanted a say, by way of a vote, on all local taxes. Proposition 62 restated that special taxes for special purposes receive a two-thirds vote, but added the requirement that general taxes must receive a majority vote from local voters to be enacted.

Proposition 62 passed with 56% of the vote in November 1986. Because it was a statute, many lawsuits from government entities tied up Proposition 62 for years. Finally, in 1995 the California Supreme Court declared Proposition 62 to be constitutional. The provisions of Proposition 62 were further strengthened when Proposition 218 passed as a constitutional amendment in 1996.