Gov. Pete Wilson has vetoed a bill designed to give greater taxing ability to local school districts.
The legislation, SB 177, introduced by state Sen. Gary K. Hart, D-Santa Barbara, would have expanded the taxing authority for school districts, allowing entities to levy some taxes with a majority vote.
Under the bill, school districts would have been able to levy business, utility user, or transient occupancy taxes, many of which are currently revenue raisers for cities and counties.
In his veto message last Wednesday, the governor said he was "sympathetic" with the author's desire to provide more local funding sources for schools, but he is more "concerned that local business climates would be severely damaged by allowing taxation by multiple jurisdictions on a single tax base."
The governor also questioned whether taxes approved by a simple majority vote might be deemed unconstitutional. There have been numerous court challenges recently in California over whether certain local taxes require a two-thirds majority vote, and in some instances courts have agreed with that argument.
The California Taxpayers' Association opposed the legislation, charging in its recent newsletter that the bill would "jeopardize orderly taxation, giving schools the ability to pile on tax bases already being utilized by cities and counties."