LOS ANGELES — A California assemblywoman has introduced a measure that would reduce the voter approval threshold required to pass local government bond measures from a two-thirds supermajority to 55% — the same as the requirement for school district general obligation bonds.
Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 Tuesday, saying it would give local governments flexibility in funding critical infrastructure and affordable housing projects.
As the former mayor of Winters, Aguiar-Curry said in a release, she saw the first-hand deterioration of "our once world-class infrastructure."
She said her amendment would empower California communities to take action at the local level to improve their economies, neighborhoods and residents' quality of life.
In a similar move, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 6 last week, but his amendment would lower the vote threshold for cities, counties and special districts for transportation projects only.
"Two-thirds is a very high bar to reach in many parts of the state that desperately need more investment in smart transportation infrastructure," said Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, a mass transit advocacy group.
More than 2,200 local revenue measures have been placed before voters since 2001. Of that number, nearly 80% of all two-thirds supermajority measures garnered more than 55% "yes" votes, but ultimately failed because they fell short of a two-thirds majority threshold, according to Aguiar-Curry.
Proposition 39, which lowered the threshold for school districts, was approved by voters in 2000.
In the 12 years following voter approval of Proposition 39, 83% of school facilities bonds passed, compared to 54% for the 12-year period prior to the measure's passage, according to a 2014 report from the state Legislative Analyst's Office.
If either of the amendments are approved by legislators, they would be placed on the June 2018 ballot as constitutional amendments that have to be approved by voters.