City of Tracy Sales Tax, Measure E (November 2010)
Measure E adds half-a-cent to the sales tax charged on goods and services sold within the geographic boundaries of the City of Tracy. The increased sales tax will be in effect for five years.
Election results are from the San Joaquin elections division as of November 26, 2010.
A simple majority vote was required for approval.
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
|Measure E: To help prevent additional budget cuts and maintain City services, including: police (patrol, 911, command, gang/narcotics enforcement, crime investigations, other police services); fire protection, emergency services, and other fire services; park/sports field maintenance; support services; senior, teen, and youth services; art programs; and other general services, shall the City of Tracy enact a ½ cent sales tax, expiring in five years, with resident oversight, annual independent audits, and all funds used for City of Tracy services only?|
IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE E Prepared by Tracy City Attorney
ONE-HALF CENT TRANSACTIONS AND USE (SALES) TAX
The Tracy City Council has placed Measure E on the ballot to ask the voters of Tracy if the City should enact a one-half cent sales tax for five years. The sales tax is also referred to as a transactions and use tax. If approved by a majority of the voters, the one-half cent sales tax would become operative on April 1, 2011. The proposed increased City of Tracy sales tax would be collected at the same time and in the same manner as existing sales taxes. If Measure E is approved, the proposed increased sales tax will expire five years after it starts being collected. This one-half cent sales tax would be a general tax, meaning that the revenue raised from the tax would go into the City's general fund and could be used for any municipal governmental purpose. Municipal governmental purposes include: police (patrol, 911, command, gang and narcotics enforcement, crime investigations, other police services); fire protection, emergency services, and other fire services; park and sports field maintenance; support services; senior, teen, and youth services; art programs; and other general functions and services. If Measure E is approved, the City’s independent auditors will be required to complete a financial audit report, by no later than December 31st of each year, which will include the revenue raised and expended by this tax. Also, if Measure E is approved, the Tracy City Council will establish a Residents’ Oversight Committee to review the expenditure of the revenue from this tax prior to any collection of the tax. The Committee will consist of five members to be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. The terms of the Committee members and their specific duties will be established by resolution of the City Council.
Submitted by: /s/ Daniel G. Sodergren, Tracy City Attorney “The above statement is an Impartial Analysis of Measure E. If you desire a copy of Measure E, please call the Tracy City Clerk’s Office at (209) 831-6000 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.”
Arguments in favor
Arguments were submitted by a committee of the Tracy City Council
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE E Sacramento has taken millions from Tracy in an effort to deal with the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit. In the past year, Tracy cut spending by $5 Million and eliminated 16% of the workforce, including police officers, firefighters, maintenance workers and recreation staff. Unlike other cities, Tracy employees pitched in, voluntarily reducing their salaries, and providing an additional $3.1 Million in savings to the City. We will continue to reduce expenses and save money. But we need Measure E to pass to maintain fiscal stability without affecting essential services that make our community safe and vibrant. Yes on E provides a protected, reliable source of local revenue to prevent an additional $5 Million in deeper cuts to city services. The Governor has already proposed budget reductions that threaten the quality of city services we expect in Tracy. Money from Measure E is legally required to stay in Tracy and cannot be taken by Sacramento, ensuring local control over local funds and local needs. Yes on E maintains current levels of service including neighborhood patrols, crime prevention, investigation units and other essential city services, like economic development which help create jobs. The Tracy Fire Department responds to thousands of medical emergencies each year. Without Measure E, the City may have to cut paramedics, resulting in increased response times. Yes on E maintains current paramedic services which can continue to respond quickly to 9-1-1 calls and save lives. Measure E includes strict fiscal accountability provisions such as a Resident Oversight Committee, mandatory financial audits, and yearly reports to the community to ensure the funds are spent appropriately. Measure E sunsets in 5 years and cannot be extended or changed without voter approval. Join Tracy Police Officers, Firefighters, Business leaders, and Seniors, Vote Yes on Measure E. Submitted by: /s/ Brent H. Ives, Mayor, City of Tracy /s/ Evelyn Tolbert, Tracy City Council Member /s/ Stephen Abercrombie, Tracy City Council Member /s/ Michael Maciel, Tracy City Council Member Resolution 2010-132, adopted August 3, 2010
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE E Here are the facts regarding the City of Tracy budget. • This year, Sacramento politicians took $3.4 million from City funds and “borrowed“ another $1.8 million. • Tracy has experienced a 27% DECLINE in property tax revenue over the past 3 years. • Tracy’s General Fund budget has DECREASED from $53.87 million in FY 09/10 to $47.23 million in FY 10/11. Tracy spends LESS now than it did 3 years ago, BEFORE the recession. • The City ELIMINATED 16% of its workforce, cutting 90 positions. • City employees have pitched in with salary and benefit concessions worth over $3 million. Without additional revenue, the City will have to cut $4.8 million, affecting its ability to maintain services at the level residents’ desire. YES on E means: • Maintaining current levels of service, including public safety, youth and senior programs and economic development. • Ensuring rapid response to 9-1-1 calls and preserving paramedic staffing. • Fiscal stability without affecting essential services that make our community safe. • A protected, reliable source of revenue to prevent an additional $4.8 Million in deeper cuts annually. • Strict fiscal accountability through resident oversight. • Measure E sunsets in 5 years and cannot be extended or changed without voter approval. And, all funds from Measure E will stay in Tracy. None of it can be taken by the State. If you want to help keep Tracy a safe, vibrant special place to live. Vote YES on E. Submitted by: /s/ Brent H. Ives, Mayor, City of Tracy /s/ Evelyn Tolbert, Tracy City Council Member /s/ Stephen Abercrombie, Tracy City Council Member /s/ Michael Maciel, Tracy City Council Member Resolution 2010-123, adopted July 20, 2010
Opposition to Tracy Measure E is primarily driven by the supporters of Tracy Tea Party Patriots. Jim Freeman of the Tracy Tea Party Patriots says, "Just as we must live within our means in our households, government at all levels must be held accountable to live within their means. The city has not managed the money they have properly, so giving them more voluntarily is just enabling that bad behavior. As revenues dropped the last three years, spending on payroll and benefits has increased each year."
Arguments were submitted to the City Clerk of Tracy, CA, urging a "no" vote on Measure E
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE E
The City Council members who have created Measure E, and authored the argument in favor of Measure E are the very people who have voted for city operating budgets for the past four years, since 2007 when city revenues began declining and grant monies began drying up. In each of these city budgets, the city has increased personnel spending. For the fiscal year beginning in 2010, the city has finally implemented plans to start cutting the operating budget. This is a case of too little, too late. On top of declining tax revenues and a recession beginning in 2008, the voters of Tracy approved Measure A to limit growth of residential construction in 2000, and refused to approve additional growth in 2004 with the failure of Measure U & V. The city depended on this explosive growth in the population to fund the budget. These events were the handwriting on the wall. The federal government, the state of California, and the City of Tracy are all strapped for cash. So are the taxpayers of Tracy. The taxpayers must vote no on Measure E to send yet another unmistakable message to the city council that they must live within their means. Rolling back just some of the years of large increases in spending on city payroll and the generous benefit packages negotiated with labor unions representing city employees will accomplish that. Vote NO on Measure E.
TRACY TEA PARTY PATRIOTS /s/ Jim Freeman
ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE E Personnel expenses for the city of Tracy have increased just under 17% in the last three city budgets, from $55.5 million in 2007 when the city started experiencing serious declines in tax revenue, to $64.7 million approved in FY 2009. The City of Tracy does not have a revenue problem. They have a spending problem. The City of Tracy does not have a shortage of funds to pay for police patrols, 911, gang enforcement, fire protection, and emergency services. The budget has been on an unsustainable course since fiscal year 2007, when in the face of a 10% decrease in property and sales tax revenues, the city budget approved hiring for 17 new Full-Time employee positions. That year, the Police Department, for example, approved hiring of 3 positions, but their personnel expense budget increased 18%. Public Works is another example. In FY 2007, Public Works increased personnel expenses 12.5%. The following year, entering a recession in 2008, an additional 7.7% increase was budgeted. These additional expenses come in the form of pay raises and increases in benefits. The city does not need to, and should not cut any police or fire services to achieve a balanced budget. The city needs to contain and roll back increases to pay and benefit packages granted during years of increasing revenues. If the city will simply take a hard line with the employee unions and negotiate additional temporary rollbacks in pay and benefit packages in lieu of layoffs, the budget gap can be easily closed. The bottom line is that the City Council is responsible for managing the tax revenues of the city in a responsible manner. To spend excessively for years and then seek any type of tax increase in the midst of a recession is the height of irresponsibility.
TRACY TEA PARTY PATRIOTS
/s/ Jim Freeman