Which Type of Tax Do You Like?

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.


  1. > Which Type of Tax Do You Like?

    Ummm.  You’re basic loaded question.

    I think I like the “spending cut” type of tax.

    By the logic of progressives, a spending cut is a “tax” on existing government programs.

  2. Pier,

    As a home owner in San Jose I will tell you. NO tax. Everyone of my neighbors will tell you that before you tax me more, you’d better reconsider your desires for reelection. Period. I would much prefer you instead, minimize past mistakes and liquidate the poor investments. Do Not sell land for a fraction of its value to the A’s. We have seen horrible ideas from the Council, and Mayor in particular. Sell off the Mexican Heritage Plaza and Hayes Mansion. Stop feeding every child on the east side while us on the west side foot the bill. Or at the very least, feed all of our children equally. The County is the designated social service provider. How about you take all of the money from the social programs and put it into the police, the libraries and roads. Stop building monolithic community centers and subsidizing construction companies. Get your priorities straight or don’t expect reelection. Your constituents are fed up. You council members have Lost Touch.

    • Sell city/rda land for full market value and stop trying to subsidize the A’s.

      How about using real pension numbers instead of the bogus $650 projection you all have been using and put a pension reform measure on the ballot that will not only pass the voters but pass legal muster.

      You are part of a 6-vote majority clown posse and the circus is about to close for you..

    • There is this tiny, tiny grassy park area where there are two statues of men on horses from the western days, on Julian St. There is a sign there that says something to the effect that the park is going to be remodeled soon. What a waste of money. That certainly is not a priority. The grassy strip is green, neat and trimmed. No money should be spent on that area, at this time. It can be put off for another day. There is absolutely noting wrong with it. So…stop wasting money in places it does not need to be spent and maybe there will not be a need for more taxes. Get your priorities straight and start running this city like you’ve got some sense because the way it is being run, now, makes everybody look stupid. You should be embarrassed.

        • Hi JMOC,

          Requiring the condos be completed was also a condition if I remember correctly, and the condos have been finished for quite some time. But there is also the complexity of the Julian St alignment…so that has been the latest hurdle.


      • Hi Driving down the street last week,

        The land you refer to is going to be “Pellier Park.” The developer of City Heights promised and I believe set aside money to develop it into the plans approved by the community (YEARS ago) which includes the Pellier family who donated the land.

        From what I understand based on a community meeting, the City is waiting for the Julian street realignment prior to completing the park because it’s in two phases. State money which was to help the realignment fell through. So it will be developed when? Good question.

        I believe the sign should be removed, it’s too misleading.


  3. Hey P.O.  We don’t need a tax.  We need a outside audit of the City Mgr. books along with a complete audit of RDA.  What is your stand on this?

  4. Hello Councilman PLO,

    In general, I believe that the city government can do good and that it should be sufficiently funded – if we want the departments to effectively fulfill their missions.  The city has many good departments – the library is nationally recognized, San Jose is a very safe large city, the RDA has brought culture to Downtown.  The Youth Commission is an irreplaceable training ground and civics lesson for future leaders.  I can’t say enough good things about Happy Hollow Zoo.

    What taxes do we raise? From whom and in what form?  That depends on the data.  Unfortunately – that data has been corrupted.  In the past, I really believe in the data issued from the city Budget Office and from the Mayor.  I thought the city BO would be a technical department, taxpayers can use to reliably “scorecard” political ideas – like the Congressional Budget Office.  People listen to the CBO because they are seen as being factual and above the polical fray.  We can argue policy, but we should not have to argue facts.  It really has shaken me to think that their numbers can not be taken at face value. 

    I am afraid that a “factually challenge” Mayor will find it hard to convince voters that taxes are really needed.  His word is no longer bond.  He becomes the issue.  Instead of being about keeping programs healthy – it will be about punishing politicians. 

    Casting a pox on both houses just sickens everyone. I hope the council can satisfactorily resolve this ethical problem.

  5. Although this will sound heretical to many posters, I personally believe that an investment in the A’s, by providing the land at a reduced rate, will actually generate more income than the land provides today. The new stadium will provide a needed boost in employment, both in its construction but also in ongoing maintenance and staffing during games and events. In addition local restaurants and hotels will see increased business. All of these will provide needed revenue and income to the city. The HP Pavilion was criticized for cost overruns, including unexpected soil contamination cleanup, but I doubt very few people would say that the Arena has not benefited San Jose.

    As to taxes, I think that a limited sales tax for a specified period of time should be enacted to be funneled into the General Fund. The city needs to unburden itself of the Hayes Mansion and the Mexican Heritage Plaza. Neither provides a valuable cost benefit to the city. Currently the city has monies tied up in restricted funds, such as the water treatment plant, which cannot be used to fund other projects. Instead ways should be found to divert some of these funds to pay for the Guadalupe Park and its ongoing cleanup and other projects which actually benefit the environment by cleaning up the outflow to the bay.

      • Nope. Not Chuck. Guess again.

        I retired from the city several years ago. I put in my years of service, paid my contributions toward my retirement and fulfilled my contractual obligations to the city. I expect the city to honor its obligations as well. Could they have done a better job? Absolutely. They failed to pay their full obligations in good years and then cried poor mouth when times went bad. However, the retirement boards are also to blame. They forecast unreasonable returns on their investments and then did the unthinkable. They put nearly 1 billion dollars in financial instruments backed by mortgage securities. The boards were full of people with little or no financial expertise, especially in arcane derivative instruments. They essentially lost a good portion of my investment. If they had invested in sound securities, they would have recovered nearly the 1 billion lost as the market recovered. The boards now have oversight and have brought their returns more inline with the historical returns for the market.

        The city has to find ways to increase its revenue stream without burdening taxpayers to pay idiotic fees on a range of public services. The city doesn’t own any services, such as water or power, that they can use to generate additional revenue. They should have been a major backer of the Coyote Power plant and would be generating revenue on the sales of power (much like Santa Clara).

        The stadium is one of those long term investments that will actually generate revenue for the city. The land was currently being used as warehouses, a small meat packing plant and auto repair. A stadium will employ people during its construction and it operations. The stadium will probably draw more than the current attendance in Oakland, because who really wants to go to ball games there anymore. So if 20K people attend 80+ games, this will put 1.6 million people into the area during the season. Most will pay to park (part of this revenue goes to the city), and many others will probably dine before or after games in the downtown area. This will lead to more employment as new businesses open to cater to the influx of people. This will generate additional revenue to the city. Employees will spend their paychecks buying goods in San Jose. ATT Park also hosts outdoor concerts and other events, bringing in revenue to SF. ATT Park brought a downtrodden part of SF to life. It has numerous new businesses, hotels, etc, all of which brought more revenue to SF. San Jose is looking to getting more of the same. San Jose will not be burdened with a bond obligation to pay for the construction cost of the stadium. This is what has hamstrung other cities.

        I want San Jose to be smarter with its expenditures, pay its contractual obligations to its employees and to find long term revenue streams. I want San Jose to unburdened itself of enterprises that are major money losers (Mexican Heritage Plaza, Hayes Mansion, Muni Golf Course, just to name a few). In addition I want them to quit handing out money to so called non-profits who provide minimal public services and the bulk of the money is used to pay for salaries and benefits for the non-profit. If the cost overhead exceeds 20% then they shouldn’t be given one dime.

    • Baseball (and football) stadiums are historical wastes of money… they cannot be used as venues for other events, with rare exception.  The HP Pavilion not only hosts the Sharks home games, but also houses MANY other events that draw revenue for the city.

      Will UFC, Ringling Brothers, Disney on ICE, SAP etc use teh A’s stadium? The Santa Clara 49ers stadium? doubtful. Football has only about 8 home games, at least baseball has closer to 80.  Still ridiculous compared to 190 at HP.

      Even the HP Pavilion barely recovers the money pumped into it- the last “technology upgrade” (for Jumbotron and other screens) was $16.5 million.

  6. Pierluigi’s question makes sense only to those who’ve bought into the myth that the City is suffering from a revenue problem rather than a spending problem.

    San Jose spends a huge amount of revenue attracting at-risk people and then deepening their dependence on the government to see to all their basic needs. Our City Government is the pusher. Half the population are their addict customers.
    Maybe what we need is a Koolaid Tax.
    Starting with this very article we should impose a tax on every instance of Koolaid distribution- doubled on those who draw a paycheck from the City. Let’s use burdensome taxes to drive the Koolaid pushers out of the City the same way they’ve used taxes to drive away legitimate businesses and responsible, self reliant citizens.

  7. No New Taxes UNTIL Low Credibility, Low Integrity, Low Ethics Mayor and Council

    – stops lying, cheating and stealing millions taxes and giving away city property to their friends and former politicians

    – stops wasting taxes on bailing out mismanaged non profits and community groups

    – stops wasting taxes on billionaire owned sports teams, no new taxes or good jobs economic development giveaways and insider tax subsidy deals

    – stops hiding tax spending and opens up city books so residents can understand exactly where taxes are spent and who is getting taxes

    – stops spending taxes on non essentials and only spends taxes on essential city services until budget is balanced for at least 3 years

    – stops making San Jose business unfriendly high cost city for businesses especially small businesses

    – stops using misleading ( lying ) facts and words to hide gross city government mismanagement spending or obligating city for more than future revenue

      • > Right.  Then he started digging the hole known as the federal deficit deeper and faster.

        Reagan wisely knew that any successor Democrat administration would go back to its genetically instinctive ways of spending whatever money it found laying around when they got back in office.

        So Reagan decided to spend all available money on things that Republicans liked, e.g. a 600 ship navy, Strategic Defense Initiative, etc.

        Reagan never imagined that Democrats would be so craven as to continue their insane, reckless spending by borrowing without conscience and without limit, and making future generations into debt slaves.

        Reagan made a mistake in assuming that there was such a thing as an ethical, “fiscally responsible” Democrat. 

        Reagan imagined that the basic wisdom and common sense of the American people would prevent them from ever electing a Barack Hussein Obama.

        I hope the next President learns from Reagan’s mistake and passes a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting the government from incurring debts beyond the term of the current Congress.

        • Come on, guy just quoted a statement, focus on the real issue how PO and this mayor has lied to us over and over again.

          if you want to get serious, how about the president:  Obama health care bill:

          ** Page 50/section 152:  The bill will provide insurance
          to all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.

          ** Page 58 and 59: The government will have
          real-time access to an individual’s bank account and will have
          the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts.

          ** Page 65/section 164: The plan will be subsidized (by the government) for
          all union members, union retirees and for community organizations (such as the
          Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – ACORN).

          ** Page 203/line 14-15:  The tax imposed under this section will not be treated
          as a tax. (How could anybody in their right mind come up with that?)

          ** Page 241 and 253:  Doctors will all be paid the same
          regardless of specialty, and the government will set all doctors’ fees.

          ** Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospitals will ration
          care according to the patient’s age.

          ** Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on hospital
          expansion; however, communities may petition for an exception.

          ** Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning
          consultations. Those on Social Security will be required to attend an
          “end-of-life planning” seminar every five years. (Death counseling.)

          ** Page 429,  line 13-25:  The government will specify
          which doctors can write an end-of-life order.

          Judge Kithil then goes on:

          “Finally, it is specifically stated that this bill will not apply to members of
          Congress. Members of Congress are already exempt from theSocial Security
          system, and have a well-funded private plan that covers their retirement
          needs. If they were on our Social Security plan, I believe they would find a
          very quick ‘fix’ to make the plan financially sound for their future.”

                      Honorable David Kithil
                        Marble Falls, Texas

        • Any time somebody sticks up for Ronald Reagan, the greatest President of our time, it’s deserving of acknowledgement.
          Thank You, Ronaldus Magnus.

        • Nothing honorable about Davis Kithil and his inaccurate quotes from the health care bill. Look at factcheck.org for more details… BAck to PO’s question-

          The only tax that I would support would be one that cleans our city of pathetic politicians like PO et al. Instead of finding solutions, he post a useless thread on this site ugh!

        • So your argument for Reagan’s spending is “Spending is bad, except for when it’s republicans doing it”? Is that the same thing you tell yourself when you think of Bush?

          Conservative critics of Obama keep arguing that Obama, not Bush, is the one who has put us into this deficit crisis. That is simply not true, but it’s repeated often enough by Fox news pundits that it is accepted as truth without real numbers or evidence.

          Bush spent $5.07 trillion while in office. He made that even worse by cutting taxes on the rich.

        • > So your argument for Reagan’s spending is “Spending is bad, except for when it’s republicans doing it”?

          Spending is bad except when you leave money laying around for Democrats to spend.

          Spend it BEFORE the Democrats get to spend it, because THEY WILL!

        • > Spend it before the republicans take it and give it to the rich or burn it on more unnecessary wars that kill our young.

          Did you know that President Obungle now has American troops in FOUR African countries?

          Of course you didn’t.

        • TROOPS not WARS. BIGGGG difference. He has not started unnecessary wars, which killed lots of young men and women who never got the chance to live out their lives. But you probably don’t care…

          Of course you don’t.

        • Sending one hundred troops to Uganda to help to fend off the Lord’s Resistance Army, who gave committed horrible acts of genocide and grow their ranks by kidnapping and training children, is hardly something to be critical of. It’s nothing like the Iraq war, where thousands of soldiers were deployed in order to stop Saddam from using WMD he didn’t have. Did you know that not one single US troop has died in Libya? Obama has proven to be a strong military leader, and the rest of the world is finally starting to look at America as someone to help in times of crisis, rather than some war-hungry imperial power.

          Ronaldus Magnus, your “spending is bad unless it’s a Republican” is laughable. Bill Clinton’s a Democrat, and he certainly didn’t have a problem leaving us with a surplus, until Bush spent it on two wars and lowered taxes on the rich. If Republicans really want to criticize Democrats for spending, they need to start criticizing their own party for spending. Otherwise, they will be hypocrites, plain and simple.

        • It started with Carter and every president since has had varying success or failure in trying to cut spending.  To be certain, the Democrats are on the side of increased spending.  Unfortunately, W also continued what Carter started and we’ve been screwed ever since.

        • Nice try Dakota.

          “One simple number explains it well: the budget deficit figure in 2007, the last Bush year prior to the recession. The tax cuts were in full effect, both wars were raging, and the recession had not yet struck, yet the budget deficit in 2007 was $160 billion, or about a tenth of Obama’s deficit this year.”


          “Obama has proven to be a strong military leader”

          Anyone know where all the peace protesters, Code Pink, et al. Cindy Sheehan gone too?  I mean after 2008 they all like disappeared or something.  Even after Obama doubled down in Afghanistan… crickets.

          Kinda wierd huh?

        • > Bill Clinton’s a Democrat, and he certainly didn’t have a problem leaving us with a surplus, until Bush spent it on two wars and lowered taxes on the rich.

          One of the left’s favorite little lies to itself.

          Clinton never had a real budget surplus.  He just put his deficits “off the books”.

          It’s a sin to tell a lie, you know.

        • > He has not started unnecessary wars, which killed lots of young men and women who never got the chance to live out their lives.

          Well, I’ve been told that the War in Afganistan is a “war of necissity”.

          Did we win that war?

          Has President Obungle had his photo op picture in front of his “Mission Accomplished” banner?

          > TROOPS not WARS. BIGGGG difference.

          Since when does President Obungle have the authority to send troops to foreign countries to engage in combat—countries where there is NO American interest—without a declaration of war?

          Obungle sounds like an extra-Constitutional tin pot dictator to me.

        • Since Carter, every President but H.W. Bush and Clinton has excessively spent and ignored the budget. I don’t understand how you can say that Democrats have the spending problem when both parties clearly have it.

        • Novice, that chart shows that the deficit is getting worse, but it proves in no way that Obama’s policies has created this deficit. An article I linked previously had a chart which showed Bush was a bigger spender than Obama has been. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post put it best:
          “When Obama took office, the national debt was about $10.5 trillion. Today, it’s about $15.2 trillion. Simple subtraction gets you the answer preferred by most of Obama’s opponents: $4.7 trillion.
          But ask yourself: Which of Obama’s policies added $4.7 trillion to the debt? The stimulus? That was just a bit more than $800 billion. TARP? That passed under George W. Bush, and most of it has been repaid.”
          Here is a chart created with information from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If you don’t understand it, I suggest you read the accompanying article:

          Ronaldus, the Congressional budget office reported a surplus of $236 billion in 2000. The deficit wasn’t “off the books”.

          The war in Afghanistan was a war of necessity because Afghanistan was harboring Al Qaeda. The war was bungled by the Bush administration because they refused to differentiate between Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and that is why the war is still going on. Obama ordered a troop surge at the advice of his generals to attempt to restore stability to a nation that has been thrown into turmoil by our initial invasion. Obama is not a war-fixated President, however; in fact, he has cut defense spending, which is unnecessarily high and adds billions to our budget.

  8. No tax.  Given all the spending, its obvious the problem is the easy access to money.

    Mansions, golf, new city hall, sports team subsidies, land development, cultural affairs, low-income housing, all charities…not to mention the ridiculous pensions for people who administer this waste.  I could go on forever.  I hope others do.

  9. The state has now ruled that the parcel taxes tacked onto the property tax bills are no longer deductible as is property tax.  So, no more parcel taxes for me. 

    How about a fee on private aircraft owners, and pilots?  This is a luxury, and needs to start paying its fair share.  The FAA can provide the data for owners and pilots.

    If that is not possible then let’s have a $100 a year fee on anyone who lives within one mile of an airport.  After all, these pilots and aircraft are inspiring our children, and we are not paying for all this free inspiration.  The money can be used to subsidize the price of aircraft fuel (over $5 a gallon now) so that pilots can fly more to inspire even more children.

  10. Why should I pay for you and the rest of the council overextending the city?

    How about we hold a poll with the citizens on every item you ever voted on, and if there’s a majority of d6 voters that disagreed with any debt you OK’d, you assume personal liability for said debt. 

    Basically that’s what you’re asking me to do…

    We’ll call it the measure X and Y, since that’s what comes after V and W.

  11. We don’t need any more taxes but I’ll tell you how you can get the ball rolling on saving the City and its taxpayers $500million dollars over the next 5 years!

    Demand the City negotiations team conduct a serious review of the plan and take the POA up on its offer to PAY for the application and review which needs to be done by CalPERS.

    Would you like to save the City untold numbers of dollars in future legal bills?

    VOTE NO on putting the pension reform ballot measure on the June ballot.  There are no credible sources claiming the measure if passed will withstand legal challenges. How much is the city prepared to reimburse the pension fund then or is the plan to drive the city to the point of a true fiscal emergency?

    • My information says PERS doesn’t want ANYTHING to do with us.  They are about to enter the batting cage with Gov. Brown at the mound.  Yep the guy who signed the dream act with no money and the guy who signed the law not requiring a fingerprint verification for entitlements.  PERS will be up against the ropes.
          On a good note, if PERS fails so does the country.  Too much money.

  12. Wow PLO,…you really are tone deaf. Your chances for re-election are looking like slim and none. You push this Pension Reform Sham AND Taxes and you are DOA for sure.

    I do like the TAX idea on all the falsehoods you politicians parrot. We could really make $ off Mayor Greed/Weed and the clown court (yes, that would include you PLO).

  13. Mr Oliverio, as a D6 resident taxpayer I implore you to abandon any tax support ideas, unless it’s a regulated mandatory increased tax on the sale of cannabis. Who’s ensuring compliance with that anyway?? Why don’t we have a force of 150 “revenue agents” funded by the 150 + cannabis retailers to monitor compliance?

    Now there is a tax most people (both for and against cannabis) could support.

    • Sorry, I can’t.. Not after what I’ve been learning over the last few weeks d6 taxpayer.. Here, read this..


      President Barack Obama and his Justice Department have adopted that maxim. In an attempt to destroy medical marijuana, they’re using the U.S. tax code to put state-authorized weed dispensaries out of business.

      Basically what the feds are doing is the same thing they used to close down Al Capone… Tax evasion.

      By collecting a sales tax, you admit you’re selling for-profit.  Another way to wrap your head around it, why aren’t girl scout cookies taxed?  Because the organization has non-profit classification on their federal EIN number. (501c I believe)

      So the other side of this is.. Will the feds confiscate said taxes from the city?  Will the feds say, “Well, you were an accessory to marijuana sales too, but you can’t have the money, give it to us”

      Do you REALLY think the council is holding that money in an escrow account right now?  Are they playing it safe for residents like you and me?

      No, they’re blowing through it, and unless council members can be held personally responsible..  Who ends up paying the confiscated taxes?

      You and me.  I’d rather err on the side of caution.

  14. How you keep throwing this stuff on the wall and hope it will stick.  Do you even read the responses or do you sit back in your chair at the cement dome of a city hall and just chuckle.

    Do we PAY YOU TO SIT AT YOUR DESK and come up with this crap week after week.  If shows us how sad of an elected official you really are. Do you, chuck and the other fools get together over drinks and laugh at the replies?

    Since you no longer replay, how is this column even to be taken seriously?  Well let me tell you how! 

    We need to vote you out of office because you lie as much as chuck and are an embarrassment to this city.

  15. How about we tax all poltical contributions at 50%.  Politcial contributions are freely given by individuals, big business or unions.  The President was just recently in San Francisco and raised about 8 million.  With all the big PAC’s there is temendous amount of money.  This tax would not hurt the poor and only impact those who freely contribute.  Local race taxed contributions could go the locality, state races to the State and national contibutions to the federal government.

  16. “Which is similar to the lesson I learned from my parents about saving money and only spending what you can afford”.

      Really?  And how did you pay for your home?  Dad and Mom?  I really wish I had that kind of savings plan!  Thats smart money!

  17. If you seriously want to balance this city’s revenue and spending then you will stop building so many damn houses.  Tell your developer friends to go build more houses in Cupertino (Apple), Mountain View (Google), and Menlo Park (Facebook).  San Jose cannot afford to keep subsidizing the economic development of other cities by providing housing for their workers.

  18. You’ve got to be kidding, right? Why is anyone talking tax increase in this economy? Does anybody believe those BS unemployment numbers that just ignore people no longer looking for work?

    We’ve got to get government spending under control. Start by selling all city-owned golf courses. DOn’t give away land below cost to the A’s. And don’t ask me for more taxes-you get enough as is.

  19. Since the city has already collected taxes from the myriad dispensaries selling pot in the city, it’s already admitted the industry is a for-profit market. The city can’t regulate it or ban it, so it should tax the heck out of it. A 100% tax should just about cover it. And before anyone start bleating about how inhumane it is to tax “medicine,” park yourself outside one of the larger dispensaries (may I suggest ARC) on a Friday or Saturday evening and see how many people suddenly get “sick” for the weekends.

    Another idea is to heavily tax spray paints (the type found in art stores, and used for graffiti). Maybe this will help pay to obliterate all the graffiti in District 6).

    And since a 100% tax on pot sales (or for that matter, the paint tax) will never happen because people still believe it’s medicine, I would be more than happy with a 0.5-1.0% general sales tax. Really.

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