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.