San Jose voters appear open to paying higher taxes to restore services and doubling the tax on pot clubs, according to a new survey commissioned by the city.
Just before summer recess, the City Council directed staff to conduct polls on four potential tax measures—a general purpose sales tax, a sales tax dedicated to road repairs, a sales tax dedicated to public safety and a marijuana business tax increase.
Of the 1,515 people polled, 67 percent favored the general sales tax, 71 percent the public safety tax and 65 percent for the road tax. The existing sales tax is 8.75 percent.
But only the general tax garnered enough support, more than two-thirds, to significantly surpass its voter threshold. A general purpose tax needs only a simple majority to pass, compared to a two-thirds majority for a special purpose measure.
Sixty-five percent of respondents said they would support a ballot measure to bump the marijuana business tax from 10 precent to 20 percent. Twenty-six percent said they would vote "no," and 9 percent were undecided.
Mayor Chuck Reed also directed pollsters to gauge public reaction to the city's recently enacted medical marijuana ordinance. Overall, it was pretty favorable, but less so after people were read more information about it.
Some 74 percent of respondents said they support the city's new rules on how pot clubs should operate. Only 65 percent expressed support after hearing arguments for and against it. Of the 20 percent opposed to the new rules, most felt that the city "went too far."
Polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates recommended placing the quarter-cent general sales tax on the November ballot since it stands the highest chance of passing. A quarter-cent tax increase would generate $10 million a year.
The council will consider the item when it meets Aug. 5.