A California appeals court in San Francisco ruled on December 30, 2021 that an Oakland parcel tax to fund early education and college readiness that was passed in 2018 could be reinstated, allowing the city to collect $30 million annually in new revenue.
James Harrison and Tom Willis of Olson Remcho drafted Measure AA and Karen Getman and Harrison filed an amicus brief in the trial court and the Court of Appeal on behalf of two of the proponents of the measure. The opinion is here.
According to Harrison, “The case marks another victory for the voters’ exercise of the initiative power and will generate $30 million annually to help ensure that all of Oakland’s children have the opportunity to succeed and pursue the career of their choice.”
Measure AA, which received more than 62% of the vote in November 2018, authorized the city to collect $30 million annually in supplemental property tax to fund education for young children and boost college preparedness among high schoolers. Opponents argued that a two-thirds vote was required. Court of Appeal Presiding Justice James Humes wrote in the court’s opinion that Measure AA “cannot be invalidated on the basis of the ballot materials’ voting-threshold statements because the statements did not concern the measure’s substantive features, were not alleged to be intentionally misleading, and cannot override the law governing the applicable voting threshold.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf commented for the press: “I am proud we did not give up on our kids in this fight, and the court’s ruling today vindicates our determination. This marks a major victory for our kids, who now have a commitment from their city to fund early education for the next 30 years. It’s also a victory for the overwhelming majority of our voters, who made our children’s future their priority.”