City of Larkspur sales tax, Measure C (November 2013)

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A City of Larkspur sales tax, Measure C ballot question was on the November 5, 2013, election ballot for voters in the city of Larkspur in Marin County, California. It was approved.

This measure imposed an additional sales tax at a rate of 1/2 a percent, pushing the total tax rate for residents to 9%. Previously, the total sales tax rate in the city was 8.5%, but only 0.75% of that tax went to the city.[1][2]

Election results

Measure C
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 2,771 75.81%
No88424.19%
These final, certified results are from the Marin County elections office, accessed October 15, 2013.

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Larkspur Street Repair/Essential City Services Measure. To repair aging and deteriorating neighborhood streets and roads; repair potholes; maintain police and fire protection; maintain 9-1-1 emergency/medical response; clear hazardous and flammable brush to prevent fires and improve emergency vehicle access; and maintain essential city services, shall the City of Larkspur enact a ½ cent sales tax for 5 years with annual performance reviews, independent annual audits, citizens oversight, and no money for Sacramento?[1][3]

Analysis

Below is the impartial analysis of Measure C from the city attorney:

The City Council of the City of Larkspur placed Measure C on the ballot to ask the City’s voters to approve a temporary one-half of one percent (0.50%) transactions and use tax. The proposed tax would add a half-cent to the price of an item that costs a dollar, or 50¢ to the price of an item that costs $100.

Because Measure C 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. At the time that the City Council called for an election on Measure C, it also directed the preparation of an alternative City budget to be considered at a subsequent meeting of the City Council. The alternative budget would be implemented in the event that voters approve Measure C, directing the spending of additional revenue on projects and services such as repairing neighborhood streets and roads; pothole repair; maintaining police and fire protection; maintaining 9-1- 1 emergency and medical response; and clearing hazardous and flammable brush to prevent fires and improve emergency vehicle access.

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

Measure C would require the formation of a Citizens’ Oversight Committee consisting of at least five members of the public, which could be residents, representatives of Larkspur businesses, or a mix of the two. Each year, the City’s auditors would complete a report reviewing the collection, management, and expenditure of revenue from Measure C. The Oversight Committee would review the report, evaluate the projects and services provided with revenue from Measure C, and make recommendations to the City Council regarding priorities for expenditure of revenue from Measure C in the following budget year, such as spending funds on street and road repair. Measure C requires the City Council to consider those recommendations as part of its annual budget deliberations while Measure C is in effect.

Currently, the total “sales tax” rate in Larkspur is 8.5%. The City’s share is only 0.75% of that 8.5%.

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.

Measure C would authorize a 0.50% transactions and use tax, increasing the total sales tax rate in Larkspur to 9%. Revenue from the tax 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 half-cent sales tax for five years, with annual review by independent auditors and a citizens’ oversight committee. A “No” vote is a vote against the tax. Measure C would be approved if it received a simple majority of “Yes” votes.[2][3]

Polls

Measure C - Support v. Opposition
Poll Definitely yes Probably yesUndecided, lean yesUndecided, lean noProbably noDefinitely noUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Lew Edwards Group poll - Measure C support
February 6-18, 2013
35%18%7%5%8%21%6%+/-5.2356
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Responses

City Manager Dan Schwarz:

“Larkspur residents are clearly concerned about the poor condition of our local streets and roads. Larkspur’s streets and roads are tied for the worst in the Bay Area.
Without additional funds, streets and roads will continue to deteriorate, increasing the cost of repairs. It is fiscally responsible to address these critical street and road needs now, before they become more expensive in the future.”[4]

See also

External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Larkspur City November 5, 2013 ballot content
  2. 2.0 2.1 City Attorney Analysis of Measure C, accessed October 15, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. City of Larkspur press release on poll results, accessed October 15, 2013