California Court of Appeal

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Jacks v. City of Santa Barbara, B253474

In this case, plaintiffs are an individual and a hotel who incurred a one percent surcharge on their electricity bills collected by Southern California Edison and remitted to defendant City of Santa Barbara (City). SCE collected the surcharge pursuant to an ordinance and franchise agreement with the City. Judgment entered in favor of the City is reversed and the case is remanded, where: 1) the California Constitution, as amended by Proposition 218, prohibits local governments from imposing new or increased taxes without first obtaining voter consent; 2) the City did not seek voter approval of the one percent surcharge; and 3) the one percent surcharge is an illegal tax masquerading as a franchise fee.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 02/26/2015
  • Published 02/27/2015


  • Perren


  • California Court of Appeal