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County Sales Tax Hike to Go Before Voters

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted by a 4-1 margin to put a proposed half cent sales tax on the November ballot. The tax hike would raise an estimated $60 million over 10 years.

San Mateo County voters will decide in November whether to  increase the sales tax by one-half percent on all retail purchases made in  the county. 

If approved, the sales tax increase would raise approximately $60  million each year for the county's General Fund and would be in effect for 10  years. 

In a four-to-one vote, the Board of Supervisors today approved an  ordinance that will place the tax measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. 

Supervisor Don Horsely, who co-sponsored the measure with Board  president Adrienne Tissier, said that the money raised by the new tax would  be used to preserve vital public safety and health care services that have  been severely cut due to countywide budget shortfalls, a sluggish economy and  dwindling funding from the state. 

Looming additional cuts would be devastating to low-income  children, fire protection in unincorporated areas, and emergency room  services at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Horsely said. 

"I think this is a very vital time for us to make the case to the  voters," he said. 

Tissier warned that the great quality of life enjoyed by San Mateo  County residents was beginning to erode, and that funds raised by an  increased sales tax would help to maintain the parks and programs that make  the county such a wonderful place to live. 

"We're going to have to take it upon ourselves to provide that  funding," she said. 

Supervisor Dave Pine, who cast the one dissenting vote against the  measure, said that a half-cent sales tax would hurt local businesses and  disproportionately impact low-income residents. 

Pine suggested that a one-quarter cent sales tax would be more  likely to pass, and that -- combined with other growing revenues -- could  prevent further cuts to vital services. 

Supervisor Carole Groom, who said this was "the single most  difficult issue and vote" that she had faced in her career as an elected  official, voted to support the measure despite having opposed tax measures in  the past. 

"These are different times and we have made some very serious and  severe cuts in this county," she said. The tax measure will need a simple majority to pass. 

- Bay City News

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Steve Hayes July 25, 2012 at 10:50 PM
The SM County Grand Jury demands more fiscal control over Pension and other benefit costs. The Supervisors answer with a request to raise sales taxes. There is no political will to reduce the cost structure so the voters need add some pressure by denying this tax increase.
1Diane July 26, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Steve is 100% correct on this. Until OUR tax money is treated with more respect and accountability, all tax-increases should be turned down.
Tom July 26, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Agreed. Pension reform is needed, but unfortunately we cannot expect politicians to cut their own nest egg.
Paul B. July 26, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Agreed with both comments. Seems Politicians always find a way to raise Taxes and once they are raised,and after the goal is met, the Tax never goes away. Empire Building is what Bureaucrats call it! In California we Tax payers have a very real problem the amount of people recieiving government benefits including those employed as Public Service Union members are more than 51% of the electoriate and more so if you count the Motor Voter Illegals which are counted in California like the Dead are in Illinois. So good luck with that maybe now they won't raise property taxes as much as they would have, Nah! Good Luck!

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