Letter: City council decision favors tourists over local residents
To the editor,
–At the July 21 council meeting, the Paso Robles City Council voted 5-0 to put a 1-percent sales tax increase on the Nov. ballot. They also decided not to put an increase in transient occupancy tax on the ballot. The message this sends to the taxpayers is loud and clear – the tourists and the tourism industry are so much more important to this city than the residents.
The city based the ‘need’ for this tax increase on public ‘surveys’ conducted in Nov. 2019. The conclusions from these surveys were basically the same as in 2018 when the city tried to get a sales tax increase passed. Also, these surveys, plus mailings, cost well over $100K dollars – money that the city says is in short supply. So the city can use tax-payer money to convince the tax-payers to tax themselves more so the city can continue doing business as usual. Very ironic. Is this an act of a well-managed city?
The majority of the voters correctly seen through the ‘smoke’ in 2018 and voted down the tax increase. We must do the same in 2020 and again see through the ‘smoke’ and the so-called ‘facts’ itemized by city management. Send a loud and clear message back to the city – vote ‘no’ on the sales tax increase.
Please be aware that the election in Nov. will likely be decided by absentee and mail-in ballots. The COVID-19 pandemic will substantially decrease the actual voting done on Nov. 3. It is very possible the city is planning on that. Fewer people will even take the time to vote. Don’t allow this tax increase to pass with a slim margin of those voting; even though that is much less than a majority of those eligible to vote. Your vote is important and can make a difference.
I am sure many of you have seen the banners downtown stating – “We are in this together.” Think about this – just who are the “we” and what is the definition of “together?” Have the real fact-based actions of the city shown they are part of the “we?” Should tourists be part of the “we?”
Leadership – true leadership – starts at the top. Especially in a crisis – and we are in a crisis. Not only in economic terms due to COVID-19; but in a lack-of-trust or confidence in our city management. The residents of Paso Robles have seen their water, sewer, trash, and landscaping /lighting costs go up this year. Many of these costs will continue to increase every year. Is this leadership from the top?
Lastly, it needs to be said that the city has always and will always want voters who are compliant and complacent. Voters who will just fall in line and believe everything they choose to tell you. Don’t be one of those that wake up on Nov. 4 and say “Oops, I should have taken a stronger interest in the city, found out the real facts, and voted differently.” Or voted at all. Talk with your friends, talk with your neighbors. The voters made a statement in 2018 and voted down a tax increase. We must do the same in 2020. Take the time to really understand this proposed increase – do not just accept what the city tells you.
Editor’s note: Letters to the editor are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paso Robles Daily News or its staff. We welcome letters from local residents regarding relevant local topics. To submit one, click here.