City of San Pablo Emergency Medical Services Sales Tax, Measure K (June 2014)

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A City of San Pablo Emergency Medical Services Sales Tax, Measure K ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of San Pablo in Contra Costa County, California, where it was approved.

Measure K authorized the city to increase its sales tax by 0.25 percent, raising the total rate from nine percent to 9.25 percent, in order to fund the creation of an Emergency Medical Services Squad and boost the emergency medical services in the city. There was no automatic expiration put in place for this tax. The city estimated the Measure K tax would bring in about $600,000 in additional revenue per year.[1][2]

On May 6, 2014, the voters in the West Contra Costa Healthcare District rejected a property tax increase to support the Doctors Medical Center hospital, located in the city of San Pablo. Hospital officials stated before the May 6 election that without the tax from that measure, Measure C, the hospital could be forced to cut services or close down entirely.[1]

City voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase in 2012 under Measure Q to boost the city's general fund.[1]

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for approval of Measure K.

Election results

Measure K
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,103 70.80%
No45529.20%
Election results from Contra Costa County Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[2]

To ensure continued and adequate Emergency Medical Services for San Pablo residents, given the recent threat that County Fire Station #70, which is located in San Pablo, may be downsized or closed and given that Station 70 presently provides 100% of the EMS services for all San Pablo residents, shall San Pablo increase its sales tax by one-quarter percent to fund the creation of an Emergency Medical Services Squad, with mandatory audits, community oversight, and annual reporting?[3]

Support

Arguments in favor

Supporters of Measure K argued that the emergency medical services in the city needed to be vamped up, especially because the Contra Costa Fire Protection District, from which the city received its EMS responses at the time of the election, was under financial duress and could potentially be unable to provide adequate services at some point in the future. County Fire Station No. 70 was the station that provided for the city's EMS needs and was, according to supporters of Measure K, in danger of funding cuts. Proponents also pointed out the fragile situation of the Doctors Medical Center hospital located in the city, which, according to hospital officials, was potentially facing service cuts or a total shut down because voters did not approve Measure C on May 6, 2014.[1]

Opposition

Opponents

  • The Contra Costa Times editorial board

Arguments against

Opponents of Measure K proposed that the plan to establish squads of EMS staff operating out of fire stations paid for through Measure K revenue was not the most efficient way to meet the medical services needs of the city. They argued that the city needed increased medical services, not increased fire safety services, making additional, highly-paid firefighters and captains responding to medical emergencies unnecessary. Opponents also posited that the proposed plan would cost about $1,200,000 per year, while Measure K would only bring in about half of that, leaving the remainder to weigh on the already thinly-spread general budget.[1]

Editorials

  • The Contra Costa Times: The editorial board of the Contra Costa Times urged voters to reject Measure K, writing:[1]

San Pablo officials are rightly concerned about the future of emergency medical response residents receive from the county's largest fire district, but the city's unilateral proposal is premature and poorly conceived.

[...]

It's a huge commitment that might make sense at a different time. But the city should not be making a permanent promise to residents when it has not even hammered out the details of an agreement with the fire district to provide the emergency medical service. It has no assurance the district will use the money efficiently.

We recommend city officials bring back a temporary tax proposal for the November ballot with clear restrictions on how much the emergency medical service will cost and how it fits into the yet-to-be-seen fire district reforms.[3]

—Contra Costa Times editorial board[1]

Similar measures

Related measures

Defeatedd West Contra Costa Healthcare District Parcel Tax Question, Measure C (May 2014)
Approveda City of San Pablo Sales Tax Increase, Measure Q (June 2012)

See also

External links

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References