San Jose is still broke and can’t afford to fix its roads or pay police officers enough to join the force after fleecing the city for academy training. It’s a sticky situation that can’t be fixed without more revenue, and unless fifty Fortune 500 companies decide to relocate their headquarters here tomorrow there isn’t a quick fix.
That’s why we recommend a “yes” vote on Measure B.
The ¼-cent sales tax measure will run 15 years and generate about $40 million annually. That does almost nothing to tackle San Jose’s infrastructure backlog, but it will help restore vital city services like rebuilding a police department that has been gutted over the last six years. San Jose’s police officers have admirably kept crime rates low compared to national averages, but a breaking point lies ahead without adding new bodies.
Hiking the city’s sales tax to 9 percent isn’t ideal. We’ll have to put some faith in elected leaders to shepherd the money in a responsible manner. Much of San Jose’s fiscal crisis was caused by unfunded liabilities related to pensions. That’s less of a concern now, even with pension reform settlements still being litigated, and it’s time to make some progress rather than merely holding the line.