NEW SALES TAX? – LET’S CONNECT THE DOTS

The City of Vallejo is planning to place a measure on the ballot this November to increase the sales tax in Vallejo by .0875%.  There hope is to raise $18 million ostensibly for road repair. Now if this money was only for road repair, right here is where I would end sharing my opinion. I would tell you that I support it. The Mayor recently stated, if we want nice things we have to pay for them and I agree with him. Here is the thing, just like Measure G these monies are not just for road repair. The wording of the resolution puts the monies into the General Fund to be used . . . however.

One reason given for this language is a General Fund tax measure only needs 50.1% of the votes to pass. A specific tax spending measure needs 60%+ (I am not sure of the exact percentage.) So the argument is that the Measure will have a better chance of passing if it is a General Fund Tax.

Well, I do not trust them, even with oversight, to spend these monies just on road repair. They will just get mixed together with everything else and I predict we will still have potholes.

Help me connect the dots here:

  1. The City needs more money but turned down a $9 million cash offer for North Mare Island and took $3 million instead.
  2. Last year Sales Tax income locally grew by $4million+ due to overall economy growth coming out of the pandemic.
    • As a business person, if I need to raise revenue I have the choice of doing more business, depending on capacity, or raising prices. And we have more capacity in Vallejo. Our local businesses could easily do more business. Raising prices will inevitably influence some people to shop elsewhere reducing projected income. According to the last census, 75% of Vallejoans make $75,000 or less per year. By raising the Sales and Use Tax they make it more expensive to live in Vallejo.
    • The City Council every year states that Economic Development is a primary goal. It seems to me if Staff seriously focused on this Council goal that we might not need to raise the tax rate. If we could increase business in Vallejo by 20%, and this is not an unreasonable business goal since the General Lift in the economy gave us a 10% increase, then our tax income would increase by about $8 million. Not to mention the extra money available to be spent locally by these business owners.

Speaking of spending locally, here is the first area that the City could focus on. We all know that spending money locally benefits everyone in the City. Why does not the City have a year round Buy Local program operated in conjunction with our separate Chambers of Commerce?

It is up to you to decide. I agree, if we want nice things we have to pay for them. For me, it all comes down to a matter of trust. I think that staff should focus first on the Council’s Economic Development Goal rather than trying to raise prices. I know our local businesses would appreciate it.

With Gratitude,

Tommy Judt

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