THE THREAT TO PROPERTY OWNERS: Senate Bill 1298 (SB 1298) (State Senator Bob Hertzberg, D—Los Angeles) seeks to undermine Proposition 218’s requirement that stormwater assessments must be approved by property owners via a mailed ballot election. Hertzberg's legislation would make it easier to raise your property taxes.
ACTION REQUEST: Contact State Senator Bob Hertzberg (the author of SB 1298) and inform him you oppose SB 1298. His phone number is 916-651-4018. WHEN TO TAKE ACTION:ASAP! SB 1298 is currently awaiting a vote on the Assembly Floor and could be to the Governor’s Desk by the end of this week. BACKGROUND: Proposition 218, sponsored by HJTA and approved by voters in 1996 stated that most fees and assessments, with the exception of water, sewer, and garbage increases, required a ballot to be mailed to impacted homeowners so they could vote on the rate increase. Over the years, HJTA has gone to court in cases including HJTA v. Salinas to ensure that this vote on stormwater and other assessment types remains intact. SB 1298 makes an end-run both around this court case and the California Constitution by amending the definition of sewer to include stormwater. The result will be detrimental for taxpayers. They would no longer be able to vote on stormwater assessments that could total in the hundreds of millions of dollars statewide. All residential and commercial property owners will be responsible to pay these higher rates. Because proponents have insisted on amending state statute instead of the State Constitution, this will create legal confusion and unnecessary lawsuits against cities and water agencies. Further the measure has only received one policy hearing, so many taxpayers are not even aware of the serious implications of SB 1298. PLEASE CALL Senator Bob Hertzberg (the author of SB 1298) today and tell him you oppose SB 1298. His phone number is 916-651-4018. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP IN THIS IMPORTANT MATTER!