Archive for the ‘Taxes’ Category

Sales taxes – how much, what are they for and who raised them

Sunday, November 28th, 2021

CCC Sales Tax Rate Breakdown chart and Chick-fil-A receipt.

I didn’t know that! Receipt from new Pittsburg Chick-fil-A raises questions – here are the answers

By Allen Payton

A post by someone, on Facebook, of their sales receipt from the new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pittsburg, shows a breakdown of the sales tax they were charged. That started a discussion of what each of the line items is for.

I had never seen the sales tax broken down that way, previously, and I used to be a partner in a restaurant which collected sales tax and dealt some with it. I also served on the Contra Costa Transportation Authority for four years, but never knew the county received an additional .25% and the cities 1% in sales tax for transportation above the .5% for which we oversaw the expenditures. Nor have I seen the breakdown of the 6%, until now.

So, I set out on a quest to learn the details of the sales taxes we pay for many if not most of the purchases we make in Contra Costa County.

Once you read this, you too may say as I did, “I didn’t know that!”

County Finance Director Lisa Driscoll pointed out that on the Sales Tax page of the County’s website, each Quarterly Tax Report includes a breakdown of the sales tax, which answered most of my questions. She also mentioned the 1% “Bradley‑Burns” tax which is received by the cities for transportation.

On the State Auditor’s website, about The Bradley‑Burns Tax and Local Transportation Funds, it reads, “The tax charges 1.25 percent on the retail sale or use of tangible personal property in the State, of which 1 percent is allocated to counties or incorporated cities to use at their discretion and the other 0.25 percent is allocated to county LTFs.”

In Contra Costa County we also pay the voter-approved half-cent sales tax for BART operations, another half-cent sales tax from Measure J, passed in 2004, for transportation projects which is overseen by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, a half-cent approved by the voters with the passage of Prop. 147 in 2019 for public safety, and another half-cent from Measure X, passed last year, which is allocated by the Board of Supervisors. (See related article)

Source: Contra Costa County

Driscoll also shared, “The County does not actually collect any sales tax and the rate varies by location. Retailers engaged in business in California must register with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) and pay the state’s sales tax, which applies to all retail sales of goods and merchandise except those sales specifically exempted by law. The unincorporated rate is listed below.”

Each city’s sales tax rate can be different because they might also have a local sales tax the voters passed, such as in Antioch where they passed two half-cent sales tax increases, mainly to pay for more police, and has a rate of 9.75%. The highest sales tax rate can be a whopping 10.25% and the only city in Contra Costa County to have the maximum is El Cerrito! To see the sales tax rate in your city or community, click here.

As someone who advocates shopping local instead of online, to help support our local retailers and keep our sales tax revenue, you’d think I would know this stuff. But alas, no. So, this has been enlightening for me.

Plus, people, including me, tend to forget about the voter-approved taxes, including 2% of the sales tax in our county, and it’s good for us to be informed or reminded of why we’re paying them and who imposed the various taxes on “we the people”. Just like with the $9.5 billion for the California high-speed rail, about which I’m constantly having to remind people who complain about the state spending their tax dollars on it, that the voters approved that amount in bonds for the project. The same with the law making it only a misdemeanor for shoplifting less than $950 in goods due to Prop. 47. People, we did it to ourselves! LOL

As for the breakdown in the state sales tax and the 1% Bradley-Burns sales tax, say it with me, “I didn’t know that!” Well, now we do.

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors’ push to use Measure X sales tax funds to hire more Sheriff’s deputies fails on 3-2 vote

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Requires super majority to approve; Gioia, Glover vote no

Do approve body worn cameras for sheriff deputies.

By Daniel Borsuk

Going against the spirit of the 2020 voter-approved the early education-medical services-social needs message of the Measure X sales tax measure, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday narrowly rejected a proposal to spend a chunk of the initial $212. 5 million in one-time Measure X funds for Sheriff David Livingston’s department to hire additional deputies to beef up patrols especially in under-patrolled areas of the county.

Supervisors also learned the county would draw approximately $128.4 million in ongoing Measure X tax revenue a year for at least 2027.

On a 3 to 2 vote, with District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen, and board chair District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis casting votes calling for the expenditure of $6.4 million of Measure X funds for the hiring of patrol deputies designated for the under patrolled Bay Point, Saranap, and Rodeo areas, supervisors rejected a proposal to strengthen up patrols in those under-served areas of the county.

If approved, the proposal could have decreased response time by nearly 14 minutes and 21 seconds per call.

“Police and mental health services are my top priorities,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville. “Body cameras and patrols are needed.”

However, due to supervisors’ rules, locally generated tax funds require a super majority vote of four or more supervisors. As a result, Andersen’s motion to increase patrols with Measure X funds failed.

Funds for the Sheriff’s Department are allowed in the measure that passed by over 58% of the vote last November. The ballot language read, “To keep Contra Costa’s regional hospital open and staffed; fund community health centers; provide timely fire and emergency response; support crucial safety-net services; invest in early childhood services; protect vulnerable populations; and for other essential county services, shall the Contra Costa County measure levying a ½ cent sales tax, exempting food sales, providing an estimated $81,000,000 annually for 20 years that the State cannot take, requiring fiscal accountability, with funds benefiting County residents, be adopted?” CCC_2021MeasureX_FullText

District 1 Supervisor John Gioia and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover voted against the proposal to increase patrols. The 3-2 was insufficient for supervisors to designate Measure X for the hiring of additional deputies based on board of supervisors’ rules.

“I want funding for the sheriff to be part of the general fund budget discussion, not part of Measure X,” explained Supervisor Glover of Pittsburg. Gioia gave no clear reason why he voted against increasing deputy patrols, but earlier he had talked about bringing the item before the finance committee that he and District 4 Supervisor

“I support giving more money to the sheriff,” said board chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood. “We are under-funding protective services in the Eastern area of the county.”

Supervisors did approve on a 4 to 1 vote the expenditure of $2.5 million of Measure X revenues for body worn cameras for sheriff deputies. District 1 Supervisor Gioia cast the sole opposition vote, siding with more than 60 speakers opposed to the proposed allocation of any Measure X funds to the sheriff.

“Let’s keep the spirit of Measure X,” said Pittsburg resident Francisco Flores.  “Please don’t treat this money as pork for the use of the sheriff.”

Supervisors also voted 5-0 to transfer $6 million in Measure X funds designated for Contra Costa County Health Center capital improvement projects like a parking garage to county services that are financially neglected like the county library system and childcare.

All of the 60 speakers opposed spending any Measure X tax revenue for the sheriff.

Speakers said spending Measure X money for law enforcement purposes violated the spirit of the November 2020 voter approved tax revenue measure designed to ramp up revenue for underfunded public health and social service programs and services.

“Let’s keep the spirit of Measure X alive,” said Pittsburg resident Francisco Flores, a member of the community action group ACCE.

“You must follow the funding requests of the advisory board,” pleaded Measure X Advisory Board Chair Mariana Moore.

Proposed Expenditures

Some of the county programs or capital projects proposed for Measure X funds include:

$40 million parking garage for the Contra Costa Regional Medical and Health Center in Martinez.

$17.2 million for East Contra Costa County Fire District fire station construction projects.

$5 million to modernize the psychiatric ward at the Contra Costa Regional Medical and Health Center in Martinez.

$1.2 million for the Racial Equity and Social Justice office.

$250,000 for arts and culture programs

$740,000 for the San Ramon Fire Emergency Medical Service,

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa Assessor offers business, property owners chance to reduce tax due to COVID-19 impact 

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

The Contra Costa County Assessor’s Office recognizes that COVID-19 restrictions may have severely impacted many businesses and commercial property owners and may have led to a reduction in property values.  In order to provide assessment relief to those who may have been impacted, the Assessor’s Office is legally required to have qualitative evidence to support a reduction in value.

Not all businesses and commercial properties have been affected, but if you believe the value of your business or commercial property has dropped below the current assessed value due to COVID-19, Assessor, Gus Kramer, urges you to please visit our website at the link below for guidance on what information and documentation to submit to our office for a FREE review of your assessed value.

For information and forms to request a 2021-2022 value review, please visit the link to the Assessor’s webpage “Review Your Value” at: https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/6919/Review-Your-Value.

 

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Antioch resident one of 17 appointed to Contra Costa’s Measure X sales tax advisory board

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Two Antioch residents appointed as alternates; Supervisors approve new board’s bylaws, but has COVID-19 put a dent in county’s finances?

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors appointed 17 applicants to the Measure X Community Advisory Board on Tuesday that will oversee the disbursement of $81 million in new annual sales tax revenue county officials are counting on to fund vital operations.  NAACP East County Branch Past President Odessa Le Francois of Antioch and transitional housing agent David Cruise of Brentwood were named by District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis to serve on the advisory board.  The board chair also selected housing expert Sandro Trujillo of Antioch as an alternate.

District 5 Supervisor Glover picked work force specialist Michelle Stewart of Pittsburg and attorney Ali Saidi of Pinole to serve on the advisory panel. Antioch resident Gigi Crowder, a mental health professional, was selected by Glover as an alternate.

Passed by 58.45% of the vote of Contra Costa voters, last November, Measure X increased the county’s sales taxes from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent on everything except food sales. The additional annual revenue aims to support county services intended for the regional hospital, community health centers, emergency response, childhood services and protective services of vulnerable populations. (See related articles here and here) CCC_2021MeasureX_FullText

There was no public comment aired for either the 17 appointments or the bylaws established for the Proposition X Community Advisory Board.

But this observer questions if the newly formed Measure X Advisory Board will be put to the test at a time the county’s economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.  What if the panel learns that instead of the $80 million that the county counts on to be generated from the half-cent sales tax increase, that in the first year it might be only $50 million or $60 million because people are not spending like they used to?

The $80 million figure was generated before COVID-19 popped onto the global landscape and the county’s economy was in much better shape at a 3.2 percent unemployment rate compared to a 7.7 percent unemployment rate today.

The supervisors’ Finance Committee, comprised of District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill and District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, interviewed more than 130 applicants for the Measure X panel.

“We had a high number of high-quality people apply for this board,” said Gioia. “It wasn’t easy to choose candidates.”

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen concurred with Gioia commenting, “We had amazing candidates!”

Each supervisor selected two Community Advisory Board members and one alternate.  Seven at-large representatives were selected as well as five at-large seat alternatives.

Housing advocates Brenda Williams and Edith Pastrano, both of Richmond were selected by Supervisor Gioia to serve on the Community Advisory Board.  El Cerrito psychotherapist Cathy Hanville was selected to serve as an alternate by Gioia.

District 2 Supervisor Andersen selected real estate expert Kathryn Chiverton of Alamo and investment banker Jim Cervantes of Lafayette to serve on the Community Advisory Board.   Supervisor Andersen picked Walnut Creek retired housing consultant Donna Colombo as an alternate.

Supervisor Mitchoff selected to represent District IV, psychologist Dr. Michelle Hernandez of Concord and Meals on Wheels executive Sharon Quesada Jenkins of Concord.  Pello Walker of Concord was named an alternate. He is owner/organizer of the annual sustainable enterprise conferences in Contra Costa County.

Selected as at-large members are founder and executive director of RYSE Kimberly Aceves-Inguez of Oakland, Dr. Ruth Fernandez of Concord who is director of First 5, senior citizen advocate Debbie Toth of Fairfield, social service expert Sandra Wall of American Canyon, executive legal assistant at UnCommon Law Susan Kim of Berkeley, and Senior Director of Ensuring Opportunity Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa Mariana Moore of Benicia, and Rodeo Hercules Fire Captain and Local 1230 Vice President Jerry Short of El Sobrante.

Named as at large alternates are San Pablo Mayor Genovea Colloway, First 5 Association Executive Director Melissa Stafford Jones of Walnut Creek, pediatrician Dr. Diana Hong of Orinda, East Bay Leadership Council policy director Lindy Lavender of Pacheco and physician Dr. Peter Benson of Alamo.

According to the Community Advisory Board’s by-laws that supervisors also approved in tandem with the selection of board appointments, meetings are to be conducted publicly and in compliance with the Ralph M. Brown Act and the Contra Costa County Better Governance Ordinance for Public Comment.

There is no compensation for serving on the Measure X Community Advisory Board. In addition, there is “no reimbursement to board members for any expenses incurred while conducting official business,” the bylaws state.

 

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Contra Costa Community College District bond sale, refinance saves property tax payers $1.7 million

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, 4CD

On November 10, 2020, the Contra Costa Community College District (District) sold $110 million of new Measure E bonds and refinanced $35 million of previously sold general obligation bonds originally issued in 2014 following voter approval of 57.58%.  Due in part to favorable Moody’s and S&P ratings, the refinancing collectively saves Contra Costa County property owners over $1.7 million through 2040, and savings will be passed on in the form of lower property taxes. Voters will see this change reflected in their 2020-21 property tax bills, with annual total savings for our taxpayers of over $150,000.

The new Brentwood Center and new Kinesiology and Student Union Complex at the LMC-Pittsburg campus were the first major District projects completed using Measure E funds. The $110 million sale of new Measure E bonds will help continue the transformation of additional facilities at District sites. These projects include the new Science Center and renovation of the PE/Kinesiology Complex at Contra Costa College, the Arts Complex and PE/Kinesiology Complex at Diablo Valley College (DVC)-Pleasant Hill Campus, and the new Library and Learning Center at the DVC-San Ramon Campus.

“This is the fourth time the District has refinanced previously sold bonds to reduce debt service for our taxpayers,” said Chancellor Bryan Reece. “We will continue to focus on our fiduciary responsibility of managing public funds and want to thank Contra Costa County voters for allowing us to make these critical investments in the community.”

The sales and refinancing transactions were handled by Morgan Stanley.  KNN Public Finance was the District’s financial advisor, and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe performed as bond counsel.

The Contra Costa Community College District (District) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The District serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon.  The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

 

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Supervisors query Contra Costa health officials queried on low vaccine locations in West County

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Members of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors and new County Administrator Monica Nino (top center) during their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. Video screenshot.

Celebrate MLK day, honor Humanitarians of the Year, appoint 11 to Racial Justice Oversight Body including Antioch Council Member Torres-Walker, increase vehicle license fees

By Daniel Borsuk

During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, under the questioning of District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, Contra Costa County Public Health Director Anna Roth was asked why West County has the fewest vaccine locations, five, while other districts in the county have more sites where citizens can get vaccinated.

Gioia brought up the issue on why there are far fewer vaccination sites in the Richmond and El Cerrito area that has the highest COVID-19 incidence rates in the county because of its high percentage of Black and Latino residents. He noted that there were 10 vaccination sites in East County, 10 sites in the South County (San Ramon Valley) and seven locations in Central County.

Roth said she would report back to the Board on why West County had fewest vaccination sites, but District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville said many of the vaccination locations in her district are drug stores or grocery stores.

Gioia brought up the disparity of vaccination locations in West County after Roth had reported that the County had given about 52,000 vaccine shots since Dec. 15.  She noted persons over 65 are now eligible to receive the vaccine and the vaccine is being distributed through Kaiser, Sutter and at Safeway stories.  The vaccine is being distributed at 960 doses a day.

“The vaccine is giving us hope” said Contra Costa Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano.  “Almost one third of the deaths in Contra Costa County were COVID-19 related.”

Velma Wilson, Kimyatta Newby Honored at MLK Ceremony

During the county’s 43rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, the Board Chair Diane Burgis presented a spectacularly produced video (see 2:34:00 mark) featuring Antioch activist Velma Wilson as the Humanitarian of the Year and Howard University student Kimyatta Newby as Student Humanitarian of the Year. (See related article)

Appoint 11 to Racial Justice Oversight Body

Supervisors approved, without discussion, the appointments of 11 residents to the Racial Justice Oversight Body, a multi-agency advisory body established by the Board of Supervisors in 2018 to oversee the implementation of the recommendations made by the Racial Justice Task Force to reduce disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.  The 11 new members will serve their appointment throuogh December   31, 2023.

Richmond Police Chief Bisa French will serve as the Local Law Enforcement representative.  LaShanta Smith of the West Contra Costa Unified School District will serve as the school district representative.  Also appointed are Tamisha Torres-Walker, an Antioch Council Member; Jeff Landau, a County public defender; Michael Pierson, an Antioch lawyer; Chala Bonner, a political education organizer; Stephanie Medley, an attorney; Ronell Ellis, an entertainment company owner; Cheryl Sudduth, a Goodwill Industries director; Apollo Sulse, a pastor of The Bay Church; and Noe Gudino, a coordinator at Ryse Youth Center.

Vehicle License Fee Hike OK’d

Without hearing any citizen objection, supervisors unanimously approved increasing an annual vehicle license fee of $1.00 for all motor vehicles registered in Contra Costa County and an additional $2.00 for commercial vehicles to provide additional funding for the county’s CAL-ID program.  Used by the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in the county, the CAL-ID system provides funding for the Automated Fingerprint Identification System for persons who may be involved in driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, vehicular manslaughter, or any combination of those and other vehicle-related crimes.

The fee increase will help cover a projected deficit of $1.1 million starting August 1, 2021.

Bay Point Fire Station Construction Contract Approved

Serving as the Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors, supervisors unanimously approved a $9,579,000 contract with C. Overaa & Co. to construct a new Fire Station 86 in Bay Point at 10 Goble Dr. even though the second lowest bidder for the project, D.L. Falk Construction Inc., with a bid of $9,714,000 had submitted an objection that was rejected by county officials.

No public objections were lodged about the contract during the Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday.

“Overaa’s bid is responsive and that County Public Works Department staff has thoroughly reviewed the bid and determined that Overaa has documented an adequate good faith effort to comply with the requirements of the County’s Outreach Program, as provided in the Project specifications.  Staff recommends that the construction contract for the Project be awarded to Overaa Construction Inc., the lowest, responsible bidder, in the nearly $9,579,000, as listed in Overaa’s bid,” said the Public Works Department statement.

A third bid of $10,088,000 had been submitted by Alten Construction, Inc. of Richmond.

The new Fire Station 86 will replace the asbestos-plagued, 60-year-old fire station that is so outdated and “is too small to accommodate the needs of the modern fire service,” Contra Costa Fire Protection District Chief Lewis Broschard III wrote in a recommendation to the supervisors. “The layout consists of unconnected buildings used for various purposes. This station itself is believed to contain asbestos …This project has had several starts and stops over the decades.  This fire station will serve Bay Point and the adjacent City of Pittsburg.  The Pittsburg area south of Highway 4 has seen significant growth in recent years.  This growth is anticipated to continue.”

Retiring EBRPD Director Doyle Recognized

Supervisors also recognized Robert Doyle for his 25 years of service at the East Bay Regional Park District, the past 10 years where he served as General Manager of the park district.  Among his numerous achievements at EBRPD, Doyle was instrumental in managing the parks during the current COVID-19 crisis in which park use increased dramatically.

 

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Contra Costa Tax Collector’s online system crashes, payments due Thursday must be mailed or dropped off by tomorrow

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

By Anthony Dorado

The Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s online payment system crashed on Wednesday, December 9 just a day before the first installment deadline for property tax bills tomorrow. A Tax Collector’s office staff member said that they had experienced an influx of payments that overloaded and subsequently crashed the system.

Many residents utilize the online system as a cheaper, more efficient way to pay their taxes and with the current COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Due to the nature of the system, most users wait until just days before the deadline to submit those taxes and are now seemingly at risk for penalty. No announcement was issued on the matter regarding the crash nor what was being done about it.

However, the staff member said they were doing everything in their power to fix the system and that it should be back up and running soon. While they understand and empathize with those inconvenienced, Tax Collector’s office is asking that people be patient and flexible.

Anyone who has not yet filed their first installment taxes can do so by mailing them by tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 10. Those who mail their taxes by or before the deadline will have their taxes received and filed promptly according with their postage date. As long as the filing is postmarked by Dec. 10, there will be no penalties.

Taxes, paid by check, only must be mailed to Contra Costa Tax Collector P.O. Box 631, Martinez, CA 94553 or they can be dropped off in the box at the Main Street door of the county Finance Building at 625 Court Street, Suite 100 in Martinez.

 

 

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Vote “No” on the Measure X “county services” sales tax increase

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

by Sue Pricco and Michael Arata

Measure X, a 20-year, half-percent Contra Costa County sales tax increase, is on the November 3rd ballot. The “current pandemic” is among rationales advanced by the measure’s supporters.

In reality, however, Measure X got its start in May, 2019 – long before COVID-19 was even on the horizon – when five representatives of county employee organizations demanded that county supervisors drop a plan for a new transportation tax and sponsor a new “county services” tax instead.
The transportation-tax measure went ahead anyway, eventually as Measure J on March 3rd’s Primary ballot.  Itself pushing a half-percent sales-tax increase, Measure J failed.  Measure X deserves the same fate now.

For starters, Measure X is regressive, disproportionately affecting those least able to afford increased costs, particularly during a time of pandemic-driven financial hardship.  Thousands of small businesses have closed.  Millions of Californians are unemployed.   Those still working often see smaller paychecks.

Meanwhile, all must still pay (now or on a deferred basis) federal and state income taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, auto-registration taxes, gasoline taxes, phone taxes, etc. ad nauseam.  With whatever money remains, individuals and families must still provide for necessities.

Except for food purchases, essential product needs — from paper towels to kids’ shoes, sometimes to replacement automobiles — have sales taxes added.

Oh, wait on the food exception.  If resources permit a sit-down restaurant dinner or a hot takeout meal, those foods ARE taxed.

Contra Costa sales-tax rates already range from 8.25% to 9.75%, tied for 7th highest among California’s 58 counties.  And another round of sales-tax leapfrog is not a game which County residents likely hope to “win.

The Measure X ballot question (the summary voters see on ballots) advertises various specific purposes, implying falsely that some are new obligations.

But hiding in the underlying County ordinance’s fine print is the fact that Measure X is actually a general tax, “solely for general governmental purposes and not for specific purposes.

In economic terms, Measure X dollars are fungible; they can be moved around.  So, for example, Measure X’s new millions could fund County-employee salary, current benefit, and large pension payments directly.

But behind a covering smokescreen of seeming legitimacy, the measure could alternatively finesse compensation boosts indirectly, by “freeing up” money budgeted for other purposes and then backfilling those budget categories with an injection of Measure X revenues.

It would not be the first time that a local government agency deployed such a maneuver.
As is, County employees have enjoyed a 20% salary/benefit increase over just the last three years, and a $166,673 average now in annual per-employee compensation cost — while many who’d pay the new sales tax would count themselves fortunate just to return to their own compensation levels of three years ago

What about the Measure X proponent claim of spending “oversight”?  An original ballot-question version characterized the measure as “requiring fiscal accountability.”  But a Superior Court judge removed that phrase after finding that the County’s related ordinance omitted it.  “Fiscal accountability” was apparently just an afterthought.

Finally, Measure X passage would leave at least seven Contra Costa city and town jurisdictions above the statutory 2% cap on local sales taxes.  So an underhanded legislative scheme was deployed.  State Senate Bill 1349, passed and signed at the last minute, allows the County’s sales-tax cap to increase from 2% effectively to at least 3.5% (or possibly 4%), in addition to the State’s 7.25% rate.

And this change, asserts the bill itself in Orwellian doublespeak, “does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law.

Measure X deserves your determined “NO” vote.  For more information, visit CoCoTax.org and NOonX.info.
Sue Pricco is president of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association.  Michael Arata is a co-founder of the Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers 

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