Alameda County Unincorporated Areas Utility Users Tax, Measure F (June 2008)
Measure F increased the utility users tax imposed on residents of the unincorporated areas of the county to 6.5% and added video and cable to the services being taxed. Measure F also extended the tax to 2021. A pre-existing utility tax was set to expire in 2009.
Measure F was expected to raise $9.1 million annually, including about $2 million additional revenue over the pre-existing tax caused by applying the tax to additional services (video and cable).
The Measure F tax is only paid by residents of the unincorporated areas of the county--Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo and Sunol.
The original utility tax was approved by Alameda County supervisors in 1992 for four years. A subsequent California Supreme Court decision requiring voter approval for such taxes led to the supervisors voting to put the tax on the ballot in 1996 and 2000; it passed both times. In the 2000 vote, 73% of voters countywide approved it, whereas 57% of those in the unincorporated areas did.
- These final, certified, election results are from the Alameda County elections office.
Peter Kavaler of the Castro Valley Association of Concerned Taxpayers was opposed to Measure F. One reason he opposed it is because it allows voters throughout the county to vote to impose a higher, broader tax on some residents--those in the unincorporated areas of the county--that they themselves would not have to pay. It is residents in Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo and Sunol that must pay the higher tax.
County budget analyst Ken Gross was quoted in a newspaper saying, "If it loses, we would make countywide reductions," which sets up a situation where voters who wouldn't pay the tax would fear that their services will be cut if they don't vote to impose it on those who will pay the tax.
The editorial board of "The Argus" noted the fairness issues but argued in favor of a "yes" vote anyway because if the county instead created a special voting district so that only the voters who would pay the tax would vote on the tax, approval would "require a two-thirds approval" and that "would make the measure much harder to pass."
The question on the ballot:
|Measure F: "Shall an ordinance be approved to extend until 6/30/2021 the existing Utility Users Tax, collected only in the unincorporated areas (e.g., Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo, Sunol), which may fund County services, including services to unincorporated areas (e.g., Sheriff, Library, Planning and Code enforcement), establishing the rate of 6.5% and further amending the tax to include video and cable services, repeal limitations on taxes paid by nonresidential users, and making clarifying and administrative changes."|
- California 2008 local ballot measures
- California Utility User Taxes
- Local utility taxes in California
- Castro Valley Association of Concerned Taxpayers, Website of group opposing Measure F.
- Campaign for and against utility tax low-key so far
- Countywide vote on tax for unincorporated areas
- Voters should support imperfect Measure F
- Endorsement of F, San Francisco Chronicle, May 22, 2008.
- Alameda voters to decide on 5 ballot measures
- Hayward-area candidates, measures on Tuesday primary ballot