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A statewide tax-watchdog group has filed suit against the California Equalization Board after the board completed plans to raise San Francisco's sales tax rate in an effort to increase school revenue.

Officials in San Francisco had wavered on the decision to go ahead with tax collections after a recent state supreme-court ruling that overturned a similar San Diego tax increase devoted to jail construction. While a majority of the San Diego voters had approved the tax--as did 55 percent of the San Francisco voters--the court said Proposition 13, the California tax-limitation law, required a two thirds-majority vote for approval. (See Education Week, Jan. 15, 1992.)

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed suit in superior court in Sacramento on Jan. 31 to halt the quarter-cent tax increase. San Francisco officials at one time had decided to put off plans to implement the tax in the wake of the supreme-court decision, but decided to pursue it after receiving support from Speaker of the Assembly Willie Brown, who sponsored the tax-referendum plan that led to the San Francisco levy.

Joel Fox, the president of the taxpayers' group, said the San Francisco tax was "identical" to the tax that was overturned last year.

"Obviously, the San Francisco people have a different opinion though, because this was made clear to them before they implemented the tax," he said.

Vol. 11, Issue 21

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