New editions of the State Legislative Tracker and The Policy Tracker available now!

City of San Mateo Sales Tax Increase, Measure L (November 2009)

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Location of San Mateo
A City of San Mateo Sales Tax Increase, Measure L ballot question was on the November 3, 2009 ballot for voters in the City of San Mateo in San Mateo County, where it was approved.[1]

Measure L imposed a 1/4-cent tax on purchases made within the City of San Mateo. The tax will last for eight years. This 1/4-cent tax on sales is a “general tax,” which means that any taxes it generates go into the city's general fund. The city is not required to spend Measure L money on any particular program or expense.

The total sales tax, including state and local levies, for purchases made in San Mateo stood at 9.25% before Measure L was approved. With the approval of Measure L, the total tax residents paid on purchases made within the city went to 9.5%. The new tax was expected to raise about $3.2 million a year for the city.[1]

The new tax went into effect on April 1, 2010.

Measure L was one of two tax-hike measures on the November ballot in the City of San Mateo. The other, Measure M, proposed a hike in San Mateo's hotel tax.

The City of San Mateo has a population of about 92,000.

Election results

Measure L
Approveda Yes 8,258 61.2%
These final, certified, results are from the San Mateo County elections office.


The official ballot argument in favor of Measure L was signed by:

  • Brandt Grotte, Mayor, City of San Mateo
  • Linda Asbury, President/CEO, San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Matt Turturici, President, San Mateo Fire Fighters Association
  • Rick Lenat, President, Library Board of Trustees
  • Melodie Lew, Former Chair, San Mateo City Senior Commission; Former Member, San Mateo-Foster City School Board; Member, San Mateo County Commission on Aging

They said:

  • If Measure L fails, "the only places remaining to cut are indispensable frontline services like police, fire, emergency medical services, street maintenance, libraries, and parks."
  • 1/4 cent is "a small price to save services."
  • All taxes paid under Measure L will come to the city.


The official ballot argument opposing Measure L was signed by Kevin Dempsey Peterson, treasurer of the Libertarian Party of San Mateo County, and John J. Hickey.

They said, "No one could have predicted that the second half of 2008 would see the economy collapsing, unemployment rising, and home prices dropping. That is, no one could have predicted the timing of the bubble bursting. A recession following a boom is as inevitable as a politician asking for a tax increase, and proper financial planning would have left the city able to weather the storm without having to adjust spending at all."

"Eight years is too long. Even if saddling San Mateo residents who may already be struggling with layoffs and foreclosures with an additional expense were a good idea, eight years is not a temporary measure. Eight years ago we were in the midst of the dot-com collapse. Eight years from now today's high school freshmen will be done with college, will the city council finally have learned to spend within their means?"

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:

Measure L: "To maintain and protect City services and facilities, such as street and sidewalk maintenance and repair, fire protection and emergency medical services, police protection, neighborhood watch and crime prevention programs, libraries, community centers, recreation programs, and parks, shall the City of San Mateo be authorized to enact a one-quarter cent tax on sales for eight years with all proceeds placed in the City's General Fund with independent annual financial audits?"[2]

Path to the ballot

On July 13, 2009 at a City Council meeting, the San Mateo City Council unanimously approved the tax.

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 San Francisco Examiner, "Shoppers' tax burden could rise," October 9, 2009
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.