California Voters Reject Tax Hike, Stiffer Criminal Penalties, and Rent Control

Results are still incoming from Tuesday’s record-breaking election. But preliminary numbers tell us a lot about how voters decided on some of the statewide measures impacting cities and counties.

Split roll appears to be going down

As of Thursday morning, Proposition 15 was being rejected by 51.7% of voters with 11,859, 727 votes counted. Also known as “split roll,” this initiative would have rolled back Proposition 13 protections for large commercial and industrial properties. A "yes" vote would have meant a property tax hike for many California businesses.

It was expected to raise $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion for local governments and schools. 60% would have gone toward cities, counties, and special districts. Schools and community colleges would get 40%.

Opponents warned the tax hike would be passed on to tenants and consumers.

Voters will leave recent criminal reform measures in tact

Pleas from public safety groups to close “loopholes” in three criminal justice reform measures have been rebuffed. Proposition 20, which would have increased penalties for certain crimes and expanded DNA collection, was defeated Tuesday with just 37.7% approving.

Voters say no to rent control — again

The Associated Press has called the defeat of Proposition 21. As of Thursday morning, 62.3% had voted no.

Proposition 21 would have altered the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, allowing local governments to enact rent control on housing that was first occupied over 15 years ago. Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and tenant rights groups supported the measure, saying it was necessary to address California’s affordable housing crisis. Gov. Gavin Newsom joined business and taxpayer groups in opposing it.

This is the second time in two years that California voters have rejected a rent control initiative.

See the latest updates on California’s propositions here.


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