RM3: HJTA Files Suit!

On Thursday July 5, 2018, the Howard Jarvis Tax Association and three individuals filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court against the Bay Bridge Toll Authority (BATA), the California State Legislature and “all persons interested in the matter of Regional Measure 3”

Regional Measure 3 (RM3) was adopted by 53.7% of the Bay Area voters on June 5, 2018. It raises the tolls on Bay Area bridges by $3 plus additional increases in accordance with inflation. The Plaintiff’s suit is based upon the fact that by defining the Bay Bridge toll increases as “fees” (requiring a majority vote) rather than “taxes” (requiring a two-thirds vote), the Defendants violated the California Constitution as updated by the California voters on November 2, 2010.

According to the Complaint, in order for a bridge toll increase to qualify as a “fee”, the proceeds would have to be allocated exclusively to the government facility used by the fee payers; in this case the provision, operation and maintenance of the affected bridges, and that since the proceeds of RM3 are allocated for many projects having nothing to do with the bridges, the toll increase is not a fee.

Based on the foregoing allegations, the Plaintiff’s are asking for a judgment against the Defendants as follows:

” 1. For invalidation of Senate Bill 595 due to its lack of two-thirds legislative approval; and/or 2.
2. For invalidation of Regional Measure 3 due to its lack of two-thirds voter approval; and
3. For costs of suit, including attorney fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5; and
4. For such other relief as the Court considers just and proper. ”