Last week, the council discussed a poll of residents/likely voters regarding their views about tax increases. The majority of the Council appears to be considering a June ballot measure for a tax increase.
Since the poll respondents are anonymous and nearly everyone on this blog is anonymous, I thought I would ask the question: Which tax do you want? How much of it?
Would you like a ¼ cent or ½ cent sales tax? Would it be a general tax that could be spent on anything like golf courses, Hayes Mansion and Mexican Heritage Plaza, or would you like it allocated to only a specific department which requires a ⅔ vote in favor?
If not a sales tax, how about a tax on property owners with a parcel tax? How much? Exemptions? Would property owners pay the new tax based on square footage or assessed value? Would it be a general tax or for only one department?
How about an environmentally-friendly tax like a utility tax? A utility tax would raise the existing tax rate on water, electricity and gas. With the lack of rain and constant uncertainty in the Middle East, maybe local government can minimize consumption with an utility tax increase. Again, should it be a general tax or only one department?
How about some more bonds? Voter approved bonds seem to pass all the time as voters love to see new construction—they know for sure what they are getting. However, there is a disconnect with the voter on how to actually fund the operation of the new building, if it is a new building versus a restoration or reconstruction of an existing facility.
Perhaps voter approved bonds could be used for street repair only? The only problem for the long term is the interest. For example, San Francisco passed a $248 million bond for road repair and will pay another $189 million in interest. It seems that the more frugal route is to pay for something with tax revenue versus bond revenue. Which is similar to the lesson I learned from my parents about saving money and only spending what you can afford.