City of Concord Sales Tax Increase, Measure Q (November 2010)
Measure Q adds a half-cent sales tax to purchases made within City of Concord limits on retail taxable goods, including cars. This sales tax hike will put the total sales tax charged on services and goods sold within the city to 9.75%. The tax will last for five years, and is expected to generate about $8-$10 million during each of those years.
The 5-member Concord City Council voted unanimously to put the sales tax hike on the ballot.
The city is facing a $5 million budget shortfall.
A simple majority vote was required for approval.
Results are from the Contra Costa County election results website, as of November 8, 2010. Vote totals may increase if additional absentee ballots are counted and added to the total.
Concord resident Richard Soderholm opposed Measure Q, and signed the official voter pamphlet argument against it. He says that when the city uses projections to calculate revenue decline in order to convey a picture of economic problems for the city, these projections are misleading: "It's absolutely meaningless."
The Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune have jointly editorialized for a "no" vote on Measure Q, saying, "But raising sales tax rates in a prolonged economic downturn is poor economic policy. Sales taxes weigh most heavily on lower-income residents and they can do considerable harm to businesses that are struggling with small profit margins. While it is true that cities have tightened their belts with spending cuts, there is more they can and should do to save money. Local governments need to negotiate leaner pay and benefits packages with public employees, who generally enjoy considerably higher total compensation than people with similar jobs in the private sector.",
Measure Q mailers
The City of Concord paid for a mailer to be sent to residents. According to Claycord.com, "...many readers of CLAYCORD have said the mailers come across as one-sided, and state alleged facts which pursuade you to consider voting 'yes', instead of 'no'.
According to City Manager Dan Keen:
"The law permits a public agency such as the City of Concord to expend public funds to analyze a pending ballot measure and to disseminate factual information about the measure, including information about service and program reductions that the City Council may decide to implement if the measure does not receive voter approval. Each of the letters and mailers have been reviewed by legal counsel in advance of mailing to ensure that they are consistent with this law. You will not find any instance where any position on Measure Q is being recommended, in any of the letters or mailers."
Blogger Bill Gram-Reefer filed a complaint about the mailers with the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The FPPC reviewed the question and said:
"...it was determined that the mailers included with your complaint do not contain sufficient evidence to allege a violation of the Political Reform Act's prohibition against campaign related mailings being sent at public expense."
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
|To provide funding that cannot be taken by the State and help protect/maintain Concord’s city services, including 911 emergency response times, police officers, gang prevention, crime investigation, neighborhood police patrols, city streets/pothole repair, senior services and nutrition programs, youth/teen programs, and other general city services shall the City of Concord enact a half-cent sales tax for 5 years, with citizens oversight, mandatory financial audits, reports to the community, and all funds staying local?|
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Concord sales tax increase to be placed on the November ballot", July 27, 2010
- Inside Bay Area, "Ahead of sales tax vote, reading into Concord's budget numbers", September 13, 2010
- Oakland Tribune, "Oakland Tribune editorial: Reject all of the sales taxes measures in the East Bay", September 15, 2010
- Contra Costa Times, "Reject all of the sales tax measures in the East Bay", September 15, 2010
- Claycord, "The "Measure Q" mailers, are they legal?", October 20, 2010
- Guy Bjerke, "Halfway to Concord owes City an Apology", October 22, 2010
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.