City of Cotati Sales Tax, Measure G (June 2014)

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A City of Cotati Sales Tax, Measure G ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of Cotati in Sonoma County, California, where it was approved.[1]

Measure G authorized the city of Cotati to replace an expiring tax with a one percent sales tax increase for nine years. Measure G replaced a tax that was approved by voters in 2010 under Measure A and was set to expire in 2015. Measure A authorized a 0.5 percent sales tax increase from a total city sales tax rate of 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent. Measure G made the total sales tax rate in the city of Cotati 9.25 percent. If Measure G had been defeated and the Measure A tax approved in 2010 was allowed to expire in 2015, the city's sales tax rate would have dropped to the pre-2010 level of 8.25 percent.[2]

Election results

Measure G
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 922 53.3%
No80846.7%
Election results from County of Sonoma Registrar of Voters

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[2]

Cotati Essential City Services Measure. To maintain Cotati as a viable, independent, financially stable City, address State takeaways, prevent potential Police Department elimination/permanent service cuts, and maintain law enforcement staffing levels and other City services, including domestic violence response, street paving, and pothole repair, shall the City of Cotati extend its existing Measure A sales tax and set the rate at 1¢ for nine years, with independent citizens' oversight, annual audits, and no money for Sacramento? [3]

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis of Measure G was prepared by the office of the city attorney:[2]

The City Council of the City of Cotati placed Measure G on the ballot to ask the City's voters to approve a temporary one percent (1%) transactions and use tax. The proposed tax would add a penny to the price of an item that costs a dollar. Prior to placing Measure G on the ballot, the City Council unanimously declared the existence of an emergency in the City.

The ordinance proposed by Measure G contains findings that, as a result of factors largely outside of its control--such as the slow recovery from the recession, increased expenses, and the continued taking of City revenues by the State--and despite having taken steps to reduce its operational costs, the City is experiencing an existing and immediate funding crisis. The ordinance further finds that, absent additional General Fund revenue, the City Council will consider reducing police and other essential services, including the possible elimination of the City's Police Department. The ordinance finds that as a result, a fiscal emergency exists within the City.

Because Measure G would not limit the use of tax revenue, it is a "general tax," not a "special tax" that restricts the funds to specific purposes.Therefore, the City may use the funds for any legitimate governmental purpose. Among the examples of general services to be funded by the measure, as described in the ballot question, are maintaining the City's Police Department, including staffing levels, domestic violence response services, street paving, and pothole repair.

The proposed tax would terminate automatically after nine years, unless extended by the voters.

Measure G would require an independent auditor to provide an accounting of the revenue received as a result of the proposed tax and expenditures of the revenue in the City's audited financial statements. The auditor must present a report to the City Council regarding the use of tax proceeds. The report must be a public record.

Technically, the existing "sales tax" is a combination of "sales and use tax" and "transactions and use tax." With some exceptions, both are levied on the sale or use of tangible personal property sold at retail. Retailers collect the tax at the time of sale and remit the funds to the State Board of Equalization, which administers the tax.

In 2010, Cotati voters approved Measure A, increasing the sales tax rate from 8.25% to 8.75% for five years. MeasureG would replace the Measure A tax and set the sales tax rate at 9.25% for nine years. If MeasureG is not approved, the current rate will continue until July 2015 and then become 8.25%. Revenue from Measure G would go to the City's general fund and be available to support the full range of municipal services.

A "Yes" vote is a vote to approve a one-cent sales tax for nine years, with annual review by independent auditors. A "No" vote is a vote against the tax. Measure G would be approved if it received a simple majority of "Yes" votes. [3]

—Robin Donoghue, City Attorney City of Cotati[2]

Support

Supporters

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure G:[2]

  • John A. Dell'Osso, Mayor
  • Jami Brady, Cotati Chamber of Commerce President
  • Matthew Stapleton, police officer and Cotati resident
  • Prudence K. Draper, 60-year resident and taxpayer
  • Moose Jamal, local business owner

Arguments in favor

Official arguments

The following was submitted as the official argument in favor of Measure G:[2]

Vote Yes on G to maintain Cotati's status as a viable, independent City and prevent the elimination of our local Police Department! Yes on G protects our City from the Sacramento money grabs that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being taken from Cotati's City budget.

Yes on G maintains guaranteed local funding for the vital public safety and community services you expect and rely on, with money that cannot be taken by Sacramento or Washington.

Yes on G ensures your tax dollars are spent locally to keep Cotati financially stable.

Yes on G is not a new tax. It simply continues existing, voter-approved funding at the one cent sales tax rate--ensuring that out-of-towners who use our local services pay their fair share. A majority of Cotati's sales tax is paid by out-of-town shoppers coming to local destinations like Lowe's.

Measure G is not a property tax or a tax on Cotati homeowners, and it does not apply to food purchased as groceries or prescription medication.

Over the last several years, the City has reduced staffing by 28%, frozen wages for over 6 years, reduced employee benefits, and reduced its overall general fund budget by 11%. Cotati has made every cut possible and we need Measure G to maintain current service levels and prevent more severe and potentially permanent service cuts.

Yes on G includes fiscal accountability provisions. Residents will have access to public expenditure reports, and annual independent audits continue to ensure City officials use voter-approved tax dollars as promised.

Join police officers, local business owners, and community leaders in voting Yes on G to protect and maintain Cotati's public safety and community services. [3]

[2]

Opposition

No official arguments were submitted in opposition to Measure G. If you have an argument that you would like to see posted here, please email the Local Ballot Measures staff writer.

Similar measures

Related measures

Approveda City of Cotati Sales Tax Increase, Measure A (April 2010)

See also

External links

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References