News

Contra Costa County Supervisors move ahead with new half-cent sales tax measure

State Senate Bill proposed by Sen. Glazer could still derail measure

A new half-cent sales tax to raise an estimated $81 million a year, mostly for social services, moved closer to the November election ballot Tuesday, but delays in passing a certain state Senate bill could still derail it.

On a 4-1 vote, the supervisors voted to place the sales tax measure on the November ballot contingent on the passage before Aug. 24 of state Senate Bill 1349, drafted by Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), which would authorize Contra Costa County specifically to impose a transactions and use tax of up to a half-cent "for general or specific purposes to support countywide programs."

That bill would allow such a tax to pass with only a majority vote, rather than a two-thirds vote. Without the bill's approval, the county's sales tax measure couldn't practically move forward.

Passage of SB 1349 and other bills has been delayed by a state Legislature summer recess that was extended because COVID-19 had directly affected several staff members and at least one legislator. Whether SB 1349 will get a vote in time for the Contra Costa measure to get onto the ballot isn't certain.

The supervisors also set a meeting for Aug. 21, a Friday, so they could vote to rescind the sales tax measure in case SB 1349 is not signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom by then.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support DanvilleSanRamon.com for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

"I am not going to allow this to go ahead ... unless I know the governor has actually said he will sign (SB 1349)," Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said.

Added Supervisor Diane Burgis, "We need to protect the county by not spending the money for something that doesn't go through."

The Contra Costa County supervisors last month approved spending $10,000 for a poll by the firm FM3 Research to help determine voter support for the sales tax measure.

A county-commissioned poll showed at least 59 percent support for the tax, depending on various specific inclusions. Among the most strongly supported uses for the tax money, the poll results showed, are mental health care, after-school programs, the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center and for increasing transparency and accountability of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.

Public comments Tuesday were mixed about supporting a new tax. Several said the county needs additional revenue to sustain needed social programs now more than ever, with the COVID-19 pandemic stretching country resources to the limit and beyond.

But others said the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for owners of closed businesses, and for people who've lost their jobs, to bear another tax of from $25 to $70 annually.

"It's just too much of a burden when the money's not flowing," Deborah Thompson of Martinez told the supervisors.

Supervisor Candace Andersen, who agreed that now isn't the right time to seek a tax increase, was the one "no" vote on the board Tuesday.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

— Bay City News Service

Follow DanvilleSanRamon.com on Twitter @DanvilleSanRamo, Facebook and on Instagram @ for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Contra Costa County Supervisors move ahead with new half-cent sales tax measure

State Senate Bill proposed by Sen. Glazer could still derail measure

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 29, 2020, 10:33 am

A new half-cent sales tax to raise an estimated $81 million a year, mostly for social services, moved closer to the November election ballot Tuesday, but delays in passing a certain state Senate bill could still derail it.

On a 4-1 vote, the supervisors voted to place the sales tax measure on the November ballot contingent on the passage before Aug. 24 of state Senate Bill 1349, drafted by Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), which would authorize Contra Costa County specifically to impose a transactions and use tax of up to a half-cent "for general or specific purposes to support countywide programs."

That bill would allow such a tax to pass with only a majority vote, rather than a two-thirds vote. Without the bill's approval, the county's sales tax measure couldn't practically move forward.

Passage of SB 1349 and other bills has been delayed by a state Legislature summer recess that was extended because COVID-19 had directly affected several staff members and at least one legislator. Whether SB 1349 will get a vote in time for the Contra Costa measure to get onto the ballot isn't certain.

The supervisors also set a meeting for Aug. 21, a Friday, so they could vote to rescind the sales tax measure in case SB 1349 is not signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom by then.

"I am not going to allow this to go ahead ... unless I know the governor has actually said he will sign (SB 1349)," Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said.

Added Supervisor Diane Burgis, "We need to protect the county by not spending the money for something that doesn't go through."

The Contra Costa County supervisors last month approved spending $10,000 for a poll by the firm FM3 Research to help determine voter support for the sales tax measure.

A county-commissioned poll showed at least 59 percent support for the tax, depending on various specific inclusions. Among the most strongly supported uses for the tax money, the poll results showed, are mental health care, after-school programs, the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center and for increasing transparency and accountability of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.

Public comments Tuesday were mixed about supporting a new tax. Several said the county needs additional revenue to sustain needed social programs now more than ever, with the COVID-19 pandemic stretching country resources to the limit and beyond.

But others said the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for owners of closed businesses, and for people who've lost their jobs, to bear another tax of from $25 to $70 annually.

"It's just too much of a burden when the money's not flowing," Deborah Thompson of Martinez told the supervisors.

Supervisor Candace Andersen, who agreed that now isn't the right time to seek a tax increase, was the one "no" vote on the board Tuesday.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

ferd
San Ramon
on Jul 30, 2020 at 7:18 am
ferd, San Ramon
on Jul 30, 2020 at 7:18 am
2 people like this

So Super ONLY approve a 1/2 debt tax increase!!!

Which in reality is a 1 cent increase!!!!

Since no one can pay or receive half a cent money transaction!!!!

How dumb do they think the public is????


Long Term Resident
Danville
on Jul 30, 2020 at 10:13 am
Long Term Resident, Danville
on Jul 30, 2020 at 10:13 am
5 people like this

Nice of the supervisors to vote this through. None of them have jobs or salary at risk. If anything, the virus, related shutdowns, and shelter in place have all made their jobs easier. Nice not to have to worry about shrinking business, a loss of job, or income reduction.

The increased tax is a joke. Once there, it will be permanent just like the “temporary” BART tax we voted in in the late 1960’s.

Time to vote the supervisors out of office!!


Al
Alamo
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:38 am
Al, Alamo
on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:38 am
5 people like this

If it has the words TAX or FEE just say no. Fiscal accountability credibility is ZERO.


Kjgamble
San Ramon
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:08 am
Kjgamble, San Ramon
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:08 am
4 people like this

Complete bs. Our leaders throw us to the wolves again!! Balance your damn budget and cover your own projects and expenses. We pay more than we should already. Ridiculous. Why do we elect these people?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.