Text: My Ballot Argument to Vote No on Measure B

The following was submitted to Sacramento County Elections as a ballot argument in opposition to the increase in local sales tax that will appear on the November ballot. This argument was not selected by the Registrar of Voters for Sacramento County. According to County Elections, several arguments were submitted.

Such arguments can be submitted by individuals or groups. This one was submitted as an argument by an individual. I’m curious what they ended-up selecting. Anyway, here is the text as submitted.

As a resident of Sacramento County, I’m respectfully submitting an argument in opposition to this 30 yearlong sale tax increase. Here are some reasons to oppose this tax.

First, until the state and federal governments restore the taxes they are diverting from roads to other programs, why should we here at the local level be taxed again for repairs we have already paid for but never received? Here are examples:

1. All diesel fuel sales taxes ($620 million) are diverted to public transit. Zero is spent on road improvements.

2. All vehicle weight fees ($1 billion) are diverted to California’s general fund. None is used on roads.

3. 25 percent of the federal Highway Trust Fund is spent on non-highway projects.

Second “transportation” does not equal road repairs and improvements. It can but does not have to. Much of this tax is already earmarked for busses and light rail despite the fact that there is no visible relationship between transit funding and transit ridership.

Third, just because revenue from this proposed tax is designated for transportation does not mean that transportation spending will increase. Historically, when a special tax such as this is passed, a budget swap is done.

Here’s an example.

Suppose 5 million is collected from this tax and given to the transportation budget. Now 5 million that was being spent on transportation is free to be spent elsewhere. The result:  transportation spending is unchanged but 5 million more is available in the general fund thus growing government without fixing anything.

Fourth, government wants to boost the wages of their employees proportional to the increase in the minimum wage. Much of this tax will go to wages and pensions of existing employees and not the promised improvements.

I don’t think I’m under taxed just under served. How about you?