The proposals come amid revenue shortfalls in government, brought on by the steep economic downturn. Grass Valley and Nevada City have been cutting costs.
Will voters step up and agree to increases, or will the initiatives fail from voter tax fatigue? Our county — with its vocal anti-government, anti-tax, “get off my land” ideologues — will be put to the test.
The proposals will test a community vs. an independent spirit. And they will test our trust of government in allocating the funds.
A fire-tax initiative in the south county— Measure B — failed in the June election. It received 60.87% of the votes but failed because passage required 66.7% of the votes to pass.
The proposed tax initiatives also are expected to influence partisan political elections — at the national, state and local offices.
Here’s a rundown of the proposals (which require a majority vote to pass, not the 66.7 percent threshold):
Proposition 30: Increases income and sales taxes to help balance the state budget (backed by Gov. Jerry Brown). The measure would increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years and levies on the wealthy by one to three percentage points for seven years.
Proposition 38: Raises income taxes to pay for education and early childhood programs (backed by attorney Molly Munger). (See analysis in video below).
Nevada City: Raise the city’s sales tax by 3/8 of a percent to make up for funds lost from expiring grants for police and other departments. The sales tax hike is for five years.
Grass Valley: A 1/2 cent local general sales tax measure over a ten year period. Budget reductions have had a significant impact on City services to the community through the reduction in staffing and the use of degraded capital equipment.
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