Humboldt County Taxpayers League agrees with the Examiner on Sales Tax Measures

sales tax

Disproportionate effects of a regressive sales tax like Q, Z & V

The Humboldt County Taxpayers League (HTL) Board of Directors issues the following position statement in regard to the many tax measures facing the voters of Humboldt County on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

“Taxation in California, near the highest in the Nation, has reached a crippling level and increased Taxes and Fees will further depress the already stressed economy of our rural cities and county. Consequently the HTL, in general, opposes any new local taxes at this time. The HTL remains unconvinced that most local government agencies have exhausted all avenues to “live within their means.” If passed, the proposed Sales Tax Measures along with already existing Tax overrides in the cities of Arcata and Trinidad, would take over $12 million from the purchasing power of Humboldt County Shoppers and result in a 9% sales tax in some cities.”

“Humboldt County voters are faced with a myriad of potential tax increases in Eureka, Fortuna, Rio Dell, Blue Lake and an overriding tax proposed by the County which, if passed, would apply to all sales within Humboldt County including those in incorporated cities.

“The HTL Board has serious concern about Measure Q, the continuation of the ½ % Transaction and Use Tax in the City of Eureka. A review of the history of the use of these funds, purportedly to be used to enhance public safety, calls into question where the money went or will go.

“The Humboldt Taxpayers League specifically opposes Measure Z, a ½ % countywide sales tax increase sponsored by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. It is the opinion of the HTL Board of Directors that this is a redundant tax that takes over $6 million out of the local economy mostly from the incorporated cities with little return benefit to those cities that also have their own revenue concerns. The HTL Board feels the county needs to re-evaluate its priorities and make cuts and redirect services in order to come up with a more balanced spending plan. One only needs to look at the average salary and benefits of county employees (http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2013/humboldt-county) to get an idea of where they should start.”

“While the ultimate decision to raise taxes lies with the individual voter and their assessment of the need of the jurisdiction in which they reside the HTL Board urges each voter to carefully consider what each entity has done to reduce payroll, cut costs and streamline bureaucratic processes when making up their mind on whether to support or oppose all tax initiatives. Voters should closely look at where the money has gone particularly in the area of public payroll, retirement and health benefits. The Board also urges voters to consider the potential effects that increasing the sales tax rate to 9 percent in some jurisdictions will have on the local economy and their own personal spending power.”

The HTL Board also has serious concerns about Measure V, a similar 1% tax increase in the City of Fortuna. The voters of Fortuna would be well served to question where the reserves have gone over the past decade and how the new revenues would be used if this measure is passed.

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Humboldt County Taxpayers League agrees with the Examiner on Sales Tax Measures

  1. Wow. One of the times I actually agree with the taxpayer league!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Regressive taxes, along with fines and property seizures, are poor substitutes for the needed income and property tax reforms and historically lead to revolution. Learning from history and all that. Wish I didn’t get the feeling some groups are being deliberately provoked. The spike in police on citizen violence across the country, particularly against the marginal poor and people of color, only strengthens my suspicions. The lack of concern on the part of the majority isn’t reassuring.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So low income families make no non taxable purchases?

    Like

  4. $6 million may get you more deputies (doubtful), and might get more arrests, but it provides no new jail cells to keep bad guys off our streets and in reality won’t help with crime at all. The money goes into the general fund where it will be siphoned off to special interest projects, salariy raises and more benefits for the highly paid people who run the county now. There will be no discernable benefit for the populace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”

    I agree with the Humboldt Taxpayers League on this sales tax issue, except my reason is that it is a regressive tax and would penalize the poor.

    Also, the money goes into the general fund and is not designated for fire or police.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. If Z passes and generates additional sheriff’s office presence in outlying areas of the county, it threatens many whose livelihoods require distance from LEOs. If it has an impact there with even a 20-30% loss to other priorities, that’s fine with me. We will be waiting in the rain a long time if we wait for salaries to be cut before supporting departments via taxes.
    If Q and Z fail, and crime continues to get uglier, which it will, I want you to have all written up and ready for the county your better-designed LEO funding measure and I want to see it in public. And then I want to know what Maggie Fleming thinks.

    Like

    • no other reasons to be against Z?:

      As has been said all along… it would be best if we increased a more egalitarian form of revenue such as property taxes.

      Sales taxes are regressive, which means the poor pays out of proportion to their means to pay.

      Also, sales taxes directly impact the economy the anti-R folks are so worried about… making our problems worse… not better (the economy is what the tax stream is based on in the first place).

      As for salaries… as also stated before (by me anyway) workers should be paid their due. That includes people working for the government.

      If you have specific solutions to that (some folks are doing really well on the overtime) then I think I speak for all when I say we are all ears.

      How did I do?

      As for Maggie Fleming… I don’t care what she thinks. If you do then write her a letter.

      P.S.: Z does not fund the cops… the money raised goes into the General Fund where it disappears never to be seen again.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Mola Says “P.S.: Z does not fund the cops… the money raised goes into the General Fund where it disappears never to be seen again.”

    Wrong (again) Mola, LE (Sheriffs in the County) get the majority of funding from the General Fund.

    Keep trying though.

    Like

    • You are wrong!!! Health and Human Services gets 51% of the budget. Public Works gets 19%. Law Enforcement gets 18%. The county budget is posted online. Might want to check your facts.

      Like

    • Mea Culpa. My first numbers were from the total budget, not general fund allocations. Reason is correct that LE gets the biggest chunk of general fund. My apologies Reason

      Liked by 2 people

    • Reason:

      Nothing compels the Board of Supervisors to use the funds for Law Enforcement purposes (which was my point, which you missed). They can use Measure Z money for their Christmas Party if they want to.

      I am frequently wrong as you are correct to point out. I’m just not wrong about this.

      P.S.: Per JP you are correct to say the majority of General Fund monies do go to Law Enforcement. To refine my point, there is nothing that says the increase in funding to the County goes anywhere near that lofty goal.

      In other words… after Measure Z passes the Sheriff’s Department could possibly not have one cent more than it had before.

      Okay… close your books there’s going to be a test on this….

      Like

    • The reason it’s a general fund type of tax is because taxes raised for specific purposed require something like a 2/3 majority. General tax increases only require a simple majority, unless I’m mistaken.

      Liked by 2 people

    • P wrote, “Health and Human Services gets 51% of the budget.”

      I contacted the County some time ago to ask about the budget. I was told that HHS and the General Fund are essentially two different items. Thus I was told it would be hard to say what the actual expenditures were because the two different areas were separate.

      For instance, the HHS budget might be 50 million dollars. The General Fund might be 49 (not close to exact figures. just by way of example). But the two are separate. You can’t take money from HHS to fund the General Fund, at least as I understand it. I think it’s a state allocation thing.

      Like

    • Fred Mangels 5:43:

      You are absolutely right, it takes more votes to pass a tax for a specific purpose.

      Why, I don’t know. It would make more sense to have a General Fund tax be harder to pass than a focused tax… the Voters then have a say as to what specifically the money is used for.

      Who knows… I could be delightfully surprised to see the Z money entirely spent on adding to the Public Safety budgets.

      Miracles still happen on occasion.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ok, Mola, there was a test and you failed. You made the definitive absolute statement that

    “Z does not fund the cops… the money raised goes into the General Fund where it disappears never to be seen again”

    Now you are hedging your statement by saying that it is possible that the Sheriffs Dept might not get funded:

    “In other words… after Measure Z passes the Sheriff’s Department could possibly not have one cent more than it had before.”

    – Quite a turnaround from your first statement.

    Of course it’s possible that LE might not get a dime. It’s also possible the sun might not rise tomorrow. Both are possible, but highly unlikely.

    Pay better attention – your grade is incomplete at best. Open your books and study harder.

    Like

    • Reason:

      Z indeed does not fund the cops. Period. That’s what I said. Z money goes into the General Fund. That’s not the same thing as saying Z is a public safety tax.

      If you don’t get it then I am sorry… I’ve been consistent throughout.

      Maybe the Sheriff’s Department gets all of that money… maybe the Sheriff’s Department gets none. Maybe they get half. That is not determined by the voters but by the Board of Supervisors.

      See? Money disappearing without a trace = Sheriff’s Department could POSSIBLY not have one cent more than it had before.

      This is truly silly since it does nothing to undercut any argument I have made here today.

      Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s