Rules Committee to Discuss Permit Price Reduction, Potential Tax Measure

Since most of San Jose’s housing stock is a half-century or older, maybe the city should cut the cost of remodel and renovation permits. District 10 Councilman Johnny Khamis proposed the idea, and he’s bringing it to the Rules and Open Government Committee when it meets Wednesday. Other items on the agenda include a potential tax measure on the ballot next summer, Councilman Ash Kalra trying to tighten smoking laws and a gadfly/mayoral candidate demanding city staff repent for a particular project.

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Resolution on Citizens United Case Goes to San Jose City Council

As lawmakers around the county urge Congress to create a constitutional amendment to overturn the controversial Citizens United decision, the City Council on Tuesday may vote in favor of supporting a resolution to overturn the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case. Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include lawsuit settlements, a new contract for Microsoft software and state taxes.


Rules to Discuss Tax Threshold Change

Should it be easier to impose new taxes? Or is it a recipe to tax fatigue, given the voting public’s recent support for a water district parcel tax, county sales tax and Prop. 30 for school funding? This and other matters go before the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday.

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Development Rekindles Small Town Feel

The new, privately developed Willow Glen Town Square held its grand opening party Saturday. The event was well attended by happy residents, eager business owners, loyal patrons, and other local well-wishers who came to celebrate this wonderful new addition to our community. It’s just one example of how mindful, well-planned and executed development has the potential to increase property tax, sales tax and utility tax revenues, as well as the number of jobs available to those seeking employment.

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Council to Talk Corporate Taxes, Graffiti

One of the first actions of Tuesday’s City Council meeting will be a commendation honoring Santana Row’s 10th anniversary. Another will note the heroism of Robert Sotelo, who saved a woman from a burning house. From there, the topics touch on a host of city issues, from deferring a tax break for San Jose’s biggest companies and an updated report on graffiti to a government program to retrain people laid off from Solyndra.

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Alternatives to Pension Reform

I had some calls last week on the topic of pensions and the June ballot measure. Several people were under the impression that San Jose will eliminate pensions altogether, which is not the case. Other callers wanted to replace the current system with a 401K-type benefit. I think there are other options to pension reform that would save San Jose money. For one thing, we should eliminate spending on all items not in the City Charter.


Pairing Pension Reform with Taxes

Nancy Pyle wrote an op-ed for the Mercury News this week, and in it the San Jose councilmember suggests the always-popular proposal of raising taxes. In the meantime, the city continues to go after pension reform through a ballot measure next June.


State Budget Causes City $2.8M Shortfall

Since being elected in November, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for a special election to extend several taxes, including a motor vehicle tax, to help balance the state budget. He received little to no support from Republicans, and the result was a budget compromise that many panned for including gimmicks. On Wednesday, the city of San Jose announced that Brown’s inability to get motor vehicle taxes extended will cost the city $2.8 million, which will have to be accounted for next budget season.