Some of our local and regional governments have not established trust with the people they serve. Concurrently, too many people, even in Silicon Valley, are making less money and tightening their belts. New taxes only add to their pain.
For these reasons and others, we resoundingly recommend voting no on Measures A and B in the Nov. 6 election.
Measure A, which requires a simple majority to pass, would raise Santa Clara County’s sales tax to 8.5 percent, third highest in the state. Supporters trot out the usual nebulous list of tax beneficiaries – law enforcement, emergency-room services, health coverage for low-income children, job creation and housing for the homeless. Some areas are deserving of additional funding, of course, but Measure A is not the solution.
Like other civic governments across the country, the county has experienced drastic cuts as the state economy founders and generous pension plans drain resources.
But people are suffering, too. New census data indicate that the median income for all families dropped 3.2 percent last year to its lowest point in 11 years. The homeownership rate fell for the fourth straight year to 56.7 percent.
With county and state budget cuts, things are bound to get worse before they get better. Some residents have been going without a raise for years. Santa Clara County, join the club.
Then we have Measure B, a Santa Clara Valley Water District proposal to extend the current safe, clean water parcel tax to 2028. No, no, no! The water district’s rank and file does good work, but its leadership has been nothing if not irresponsible. The local NBC affiliate recently ran an unflattering exposé on district board members who were being paid nearly $300 per meeting, often for reasons unrelated to the water district. A district flood-basin plan targeted four local areas, including Cuesta Annex. The plan had to be redone because the Los Altos School District rejected a similar plan for Blach Intermediate School. Lo and behold, the district needed a basin only half the size originally calculated for the Annex. How many thousands of dollars were poured into engineering and re-engineering these plans for “protection” from a 100-year flood? With an annual budget of more than $300 million, a renewed parcel tax for this free-spending district is the last thing we should approve.