Letter to the editor: Argument against Measure J-20 Supplemental Sales Tax
To the editor,
Mail-in ballots have now been received and many of us may still be deciding on how they will vote on Measure J-20, the supplemental sales tax for Paso Robles.
My arguments against J-20 cover several areas:
1. Now is not the time to have additional taxes imposed on us. COVID-19 is still having a huge financial impact on many residents. Many are still unemployed or underemployed; but still must pay utilities, mortgages, food, medical expenses, etc. And many residents are retired and on fixed incomes.
2. The city council has ‘justified’ this tax increase by saying that our safety, police, and fire department response times will suffer without this tax. Crime rates will go up, fire insurance rates will increase, infrastructure will continue to degrade, and many other bad things. The city says it need more police, more fire engines, and personnel. This may have some truth to it, but not while we are in the middle of a pandemic.
3. The Voter Information Guide (enclosed with mail-in ballot) states that Measure J-20 will bring in $10,000,000 annually. If my math is correct, that would require $1 billion of annual taxable sales in Paso Robles. Does anyone really believe that particularly in the economic situation existing now and probably will exist for a long time? Even if, as the city claims, that 50-percent-plus of this sales tax would be paid by non-residents.
4. Paso Robles needs to seriously find other sources of revenue. Council members have publically stated that they should re-open discussions with the County Board of Supervisors concerning the percentage of our property tax that is returned to this city; if, and only if, the voters reject J-20. We should hold them to this by defeating J-20. Too much of our property taxes are not used for us. Paso Robles pays for many things that other cities in SLO County do not – we should get a higher share of the property tax collected from property within Paso Robles.
5. Paso Robles city needs to demonstrate better use of our tax dollars. Money spent on the disastrous downtown parking program or the ‘tent’ city at Borkey Flats could have been better used on other things. The city should be spending money on things that serve the majority of the residents. How does the downtown parking program, or the ‘tent’ city, or the use of parking spaces for outside dining serve the majority?
I urge everyone to look at this sales tax increase from the view of your own household. With all the problems related to COVID-19, such as loss of employment and remote schooling; is now the time to pay even more tax? Whatever your decision is, please vote. The decision made will impact us for at least the next 12 years.
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