Steel Charter Amendment will hold elected officials to higher standard for raising taxes

On Tuesday, November 19, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Vice Chair Michelle Steel’s motion for a Charter Amendment, which would require a two thirds majority vote on any future special tax proposals.

Vice Chair Steel’s proposed this initiative reflects her consistent defense of taxpayers and will ensure that elected officials are held accountable for their actions when passing laws. 

“With this charter amendment, we are ensuring that the Board of Supervisors are being held to the same standard as the public when approving a special tax, said Vice Chair Steel. “Today, it takes a two-thirds approval from voters to pass a special tax, but the board can put a special tax on the ballot with a simple majority, added Steel.” 

Vice Chair Steel’s charter amendment will apply the same standards as Proposition 62, which provides that general taxes cannot be presented at an election unless such tax was approved by two thirds vote by the legislative body voting on the tax increase. It also requires two third’s voter approval for all special taxes.  Vice Chair Steel’s amendment would ensure that this threshold applies to Board of Supervisors’ votes as well. 

“This charter amendment will hold this board and future boards to the same standard as the public and require a higher level of review before special taxes get on the county ballot.” 

At the request of Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, the Board accepted an exemption for Community Facility Districts (CFDs), which are localized to specific properties. 

Requiring a supermajority on the ballot makes sure that raising special taxes at the public’s expense will be more challenging. Orange County will be joining many cities in ensuring this constitutional protection in defending our already overburdened taxpayers.

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First elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2014, Michelle Steel represents the residents of the Second District, which includes, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, the unincorporated area of Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. Steel, a successful businesswoman and renowned taxpayer advocate, previously served as Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization where she represented more than eight million people in Southern California, including all of Orange County, as one of the state’s 12 constitutional officers.