Larkspur School District parcel tax, Measure B (November 2009)

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A Larkspur School District parcel tax, Measure B ballot question was on the November 3, 2009 ballot for voters in the Larkspur School District in Marin County, where it was approved.[1]

Measure B extended the district's existing annual $368.88 parcel tax for eight more years. The tax can be increased up to 5% every year.

In addition to extending the current tax, Measure B also altered the existing parcel tax for commercial/business properties in such a way as to increase their tax burden, while the tax burden for residential properties stayed the same as with the existing parcel tax. Commercial properties that pay $368.88 per parcel under the current tax pay up to $20,000 under Measure B.[2]

To pass, Measure B had to win a 2/3rds supermajority vote.

Measure B generates about $1.5 million a year for the school district. This amounts to approximately 13% of the school district's budget.[3]

There are two schools (Neil Cummins Elementary in Corte Madera and Henry Hall Middle School in Larkspur) in the Larkspur School District. Together, there are about 1,270 students in these schools, with 160 employees.

Election results

Measure B
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 3,021 70.8%
No1,24629.2%
These final, certified, results are from the Marin County elections office.

Specifics of proposal

  • Measure B went into effect on July 1, 2010.
  • The tax rate will increase 5% a year for 8 years.
  • For residential parcels, the starting annual rate was $368.88 for each parcel with one single-family home or dwelling unit.
  • Residential parcels with more than one residence are charged an extra $50 per unit per year, beginning in 2011.
  • Commercial parcels up to 4,999 square feet paid a starting rate of $368.88 per year.
  • The annual rate is $700 for commercial parcels up to 9,999 square feet; $2,000 up to 24,999 square feet; $4,000 up to 99,999 square feet; $8,000 up to 249,999 square feet; $16,000 up to 499,000 square feet; and $20,000 for half a million square feet or more.

Support

  • The Larkspur School District held an election for school board members on the same ballot as Measure B. Four candidates ran and all four school board candidates supported Measure B.[2]
  • Susan Christman and Molly Wuthrich were co-chairs of Citizens Supporting Corte Madera Larkspur Schools, which supported Measure B. They said, "It is up to our community, our entire community, to make the statement loud and clear that our schools are our priority. We all benefit from excellent schools - when our schools are thriving, our community is strong, and our businesses profit."[4]

The "Yes on B" campaign raised $11,575 through October 17.[5]

Opponents

The board of the Corte Madera Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns about the tax. Their concerns were:

  • Almost all of the new tax will be imposed on commercial parcels in the district.
  • There are fewer than 200 commercial parcels in the district.
  • Some of them will have to pay $20,000 per year more in taxes. This will hurt their competitiveness in an already weak economy.
  • "This is a risky economic time to consider the imposition of such a tax."
  • The extra taxes could push some of these businesses out of business. If that happens, the whole community will be hurt since all these businesses pay a variety of taxes that support many city functions. If these businesses go out of business, or move to another community, they will not be paying any taxes at all to the school district.[6]

The Marin Independent Journal's editorial board urged its readers to vote "no" on Measure B. They wrote, "The IJ has strongly backed the district's previous parcel tax and bond measures. But voters should tell district trustees to come back with a measure that is more balanced and respects the serious challenges businesses face today. Regrettably, the IJ recommends a no vote on Measure B."[7]

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:

Measure B: "To maintain quality public education in Corte Madera and Larkspur through continued support for exceptional instructional programs, small class sizes, and highly qualified teachers, shall Larkspur School District be authorized to replace the existing assessment by renewing a parcel tax at the current rate of $368.88 per year for each single-family residential parcel, and at rates specified in the sample ballot for all other parcels, for eight years, with a 5% annual adjustment and allow senior exemptions?"[8]

See also

External links

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