What is transparency?

David Wolfe, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Re: “A law intended to create more transparency misleads voters. This bill will fix it,” Sept. 5, 2019: Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Mark Stone claim their bill will increase transparency for local bonds and parcel taxes. But the opposite is true.

Their bill would relegate important taxpayer information to being buried deep in the voter information guide rather than the ballot label.  Wiener and Stone are trying to reverse the very effective transparency bill that currently mandates that the rate of a tax, its duration, and the amount of revenue to be raised was included in the ballot label instead of hidden in the ballot guide.

In November 2018, 82% of local tax and bond measures passed with this information in the ballot label.  Exempting local governments from reasonable transparency requirements will make it harder for voters to hold them accountable, while ensuring taxpayers are less aware of the taxes they pay.

Only in Sacramento could that be called pro-transparency.

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