City of Richmond Sales Tax Increase, Measure D (June 2011)
If Measure D had been approved, it would have increased the sales tax charged on goods and services sold within Richmond city limits by half-a-cent. The current tax is 9.75%. That would have increased to 10.25%. It was estimated that this half-a-cent increase would generate $6 million in additional revenue every year for the city.
Voters were also asked, on an advisory basis, how the additional revenue would be spent; specifically, the advisory question asked if half the proceeds of the tax should go to the local school district and half to services for the economically disadvantaged in the city. This advisory question was on the ballot as Measure C.
- Election results from the Contra Costa County elections office as of 5:00 a.m. on June 8, 2011.
- Mike Parker, a resident of Richmond, supported the tax increase.
- Charles Smith, a resident of Richmond, criticized the tax as being regressive and as one that will fall on the shoulders of Richmond's least well-off residents. The unemployment rate in the city is 18%, and those who are unemployed will have to pay the higher sales tax at any time that they purchase goods or services in the city.
- Joe Bako, president of the Country Club Vista Neighborhood Council, said, "This is going to hurt everyone in Richmond, it just worsens the problem. A better solution to our fiscal problems would be to be more proactive with grants and other efforts to draw new money into our city.”
- Kris Hunt of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association opposed the tax.
The editorial board of the Contra Costa Times opposed both Measures C and D. They wrote:
- "Measure D would increase Richmond's sales tax to 10.25 cents on each dollar spent. Sales taxes are regressive, forcing those who can least afford them to spend a greater portion of their incomes. In this case, the sales tax would be increased to unacceptable levels.
- Richmond, with the East Bay's second-highest city unemployment rate (only San Pablo is worse), would pay the top sales tax rate. In the East Bay, only Union City and El Cerrito charge as much. The sales tax in most Contra Costa cities is 9.25 percent, and in Alameda County it's usually 9.75 percent. Across the Bay, San Francisco charges 9.5 percent.
- The Richmond measure also contains no sunset provision. In November, five East Bay cities asked voters to approve sales tax increases. They all contained time limits, ranging from four to eight years. Four passed. In contrast, Richmond officials, while saying they need more money to get through the current "fiscal emergency," have set no expiration date for Measure D. This tax increase would never go away."
Text of measure
|MEASURE C: ADVISORY VOTE ONLY: Should the proceeds of any tax imposed pursuant to the City of Richmond sales tax of 2011 (also on this ballot) be spent one-half on Richmond programs to restore services to the poor that have been cut due to State takeaways, and one-half on School District programs in Richmond to restore educational services and programs that have been eliminated due to State takeaways?|
|MEASURE D: Shall a ½ percent sales tax in the City of Richmond be approved?|
Path to the ballot
The Richmond City Council has seven members. Five members voted to put Measures C and D on the June 7, 2011 ballot in a meeting on March 8, 2011. Councilman Nat Bates was absent from the meeting and therefore was not of the five members who voted in favor. Tom Bates, the 7th member of the city council, was at the meeting, but recused himself from the vote.
Corky Booze, one of the five city council members, said the evening of the vote, "I’m not a real happy camper tonight because I don’t like taxes on my people."
Cost of election
- See also: Costs of administering local elections
The cost of holding the election is estimated at $200,000.
- Bay Citizen, "Reluctant Richmond Council to Put Tax Hike on Ballot," March 9, 2011
- Richmond Confidential, "Opponents say ballot measures might cause legal trouble for city," May 26, 2011
- Contra Costa Times, "Contra Costa Times editorial: We recommend no vote on Measures C, D in Richmond," May 15, 2011