Election 2016: Taxpayer Protection Act to go before Newport voters

Newport Beach voters will consider one city ballot measure when they head to the polls Nov.8.

The Taxpayer Protection Act, if passed, would require a supermajority City Council vote to approve proposed tax increases before the question could go to voters. Currently, four council votes are required.


Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon had asked his colleagues in July to consider adding a restriction on capital improvement bonds to Measure MM. He proposed that the measure also ask voters whether they want to require public approval before the city can use a certificate of participation or a lease revenue bond greater than $10million.

However, the City Council opted to hold off on that aspect of the measure to give the city Finance Committee time to review it.


Measure MM

Title: City of Newport Beach, Require 5 of 7 Votes of the City Council to Propose Taxes (Taxpayer Protection Act)

The measure would require an affirmative vote of at least five of the seven council members to place a council-sponsored general or special tax proposal on the ballot for voter consideration.

Ballot argument in favor: Proponents of the Taxpayer Protection Act say the measure would close the loophole in the city charter that makes it easier for the City Council to propose raising taxes.

The Taxpayer Protection Act would require a two-thirds council vote to put any tax on the ballot, an amount already required by a large majority of cities in California in an effort to keep taxes low. Passage of the Taxpayer Protection Act is the first step toward complete taxpayer protection, with the debt side of Proposition13 to come before Newport Beach voters in 2018.

[Argument written by Carolyn Cavecche, CEO of the Orange County Taxpayers Assn.; Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon; Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon; Councilman Scott Peotter; and Finance Committee member Will O'Neill.]

Ballot argument against: Residents for Reform, an association of Newport Beach citizens that seeks to protect taxpayers, is against the Taxpayer Protection Act because it does not include a provision to prohibit politicians from incurring additional city debt without voter approval.

Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon proposed an amendment to Measure MM to include a citywide vote for the city to use certificates of participation (COPs) or lease revenue bonds. COPs and lease revenue bonds are used by politicians to circumvent Proposition13 by incurring debt without a vote.

Measure MM should have included a popular vote of the people for COPs and lease revenue bonds, just like Proposition13.

[Argument written by Bob McCaffrey, a Balboa Island resident and volunteer chairman of Residents for Reform.]

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN