A sales tax measure that will provide more subsidized child care and preschool children in Alameda County was ratified by the Alameda County Supreme Court on Thursday.
Measure C was approved by 64% of voters in March 2020, but was challenged in court. Plaintiffs argued that California law requires a 66% vote for local governments to raise taxes for a specific purpose, such as child care. Local officials have argued that only a simple majority is needed if a tax measure is put on the ballot by voters, and not by local government.
The measure added half a percent sales tax on local purchases – 50 cents for every $ 100 – to raise an estimated $ 30 million a year for pediatric health care and an estimated $ 120 million a year to improve child care pay and the increasing the number of subsidized childcare and pre-school slots for low-income children. The tax is collected but is not spent while the case goes through the courts.
Plaintiffs have a period of 60 days to appeal against the decision.
First 5 Alameda County and the Alameda County Early Care and Education Program estimate that 4,000 to 5,000 more children will be able to enroll in subsidized childcare or kindergarten if the measure passes, and 12,000 children currently receiving preschool grants from the state will receive additional money to cover more of their subscription costs. It is estimated that 3,300 teachers and assistant teachers will receive classes, coaching and higher remuneration.