Thursday, July 1, 2010

S & M County ready to ask voters for new tax

June 30, 2010, 01:01 AM By Michelle Durand, Daily Journal Staff

The Board of Supervisors is ready to ask voters in November for a quarter-cent sales tax to annually raise $30 million toward the structural deficit even as one member cautioned the request is too soon.

“I think November of this year is a little too early,” said Supervisor Carole Groom.
Groom cast the sole dissenting vote.

Groom said there isn’t enough time to properly educate voters about why the county needs the money. She also worried voters won’t believe the county has no other option.

“We have not made enough serious cuts so that the people could honestly say we are at bare bones,” Groom said.
But supervisors Mark Church and Rose Jacobs Gibson said there is a sense of urgency. If the board doesn’t act in November for a general sales tax, it must wait until 2012 when there is another supervisorial election scheduled. The Board of Supervisors could also unanimously declare a fiscal emergency

On Tuesday, the board asked staff to ready a resolution to place the tax increase on the Nov. 2 ballot. The board must still pass the resolution to make the ballot request official but yesterday’s direction is a substantial step.

The community needs to know the tax is being given serious consideration and will be discussed further before anything is set in stone, said Board President Rich Gordon.

The public is most amenable to a five-year timeline, according to Godbe Research, the consulting firm hired to analyze the possibility.

A phone survey and focus groups show that a sales tax simply tests better than other suggestions such as taxes on rental cars or parking, said Brian Godbe of Godbe Research.

County voters previously shot down taxes on parking and rental cars at the San Francisco International Airport.

On Tuesday afternoon, the board heard from the consultants that county residents are inclined to protect services but frankly aren’t clear on how they are funded. Once they are educated, residents are more likely to support a tax measure, they found.


Posted by Steve Sinai

1 comment:

Fix Pacifica said...

-- Posted for Lionel Emde --

Hi Steve,

I have no idea how to comment on your blog now--it's telling me I have illegal characters or something! You might want to put instructions under the submission policy.

Anyway, your lead story about the supervisors sales tax, the latest is that they have put off a decision until July 27 and have until early August to put it on November's ballot. The board is not unanimous on this issue.
Happy Holiday,