Both Sides on Sacramento County Measure B Battle Possess Strengths, Weaknesses

October 18, 2016 |

One of the more interesting issues Sacramento County voters will be asked to weigh-in on during this year's general election is Sacramento County Measure B.

The proposal is seeking voter approval of a 30-year one-half cent sales tax increase with funding going to the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) for an array of needs. A multi-jurisdictional agency made up of Sacramento County and each of the municipalities in the county, the STA will allocate the money to each of the jurisdictions for a variety of transportation needs including mass transit, road maintenance, and highway construction.

In the battle on Measure B, on the pro side is The Committee to Repair Our Roads & Relieve Traffic and opposing it is the Don't Double The Tax.

From a money point of view, the yes on B side has a significant advantage. In the month of October alone, they have raised over $230,000 from generous contributions from an assortment of construction and labor interests.

That $230,000 comes on top of $680,000 the yes side had already raised, $200,000 of which came from a loan from Sacramento Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg's campaign. Along with the massive funding, the yes side has practically every prominent elected official in Sacramento County on board supporting the measure.

Conversely, while the yes side has champagne and caviar budget, the no side is operating on a malt liquor and pretzels budget. According to their filings, the Don't Double The Tax group has raised a modest $21,933, with $13,950 coming from one individual Elk Grove donor, Lawrence Carli.

While the deck is stacked financially against the no side, they do have an ace in the hole - passage of Measure B will require a super majority of 66.6-percent of voters. Along with this super majority, the no side, who has relied roadside signs and occasional messaging seen on at least one electronic billboard in South Sacramento to spread their message, hopes to generate just enough opposition to block the measure.  

With this sizable electoral hurdle, the yes side has started a massive campaign to get their word out. To date registered voters in Elk Grove have received at least two glossy mailers - the first a large fold-out poster sized piece and the other shows specific projects earmarked for the City should the measure pass.

Even though the yes side has a daunting task of earning a super majority for passage, campaign manager Andrew Kehoe feels they have built a strong coalition of voters to overcome this electoral hurdle.

"Measure B has an incredible broad base of support, first responders, business and labor organizations, seniors, transit and environmental advocates, Democrats and Republicans, and working families all support Measure B," Kehoe said. "Everyone agrees that traffic relief and road maintenance need to be addressed and Measure B does that in a fair and equitable way."

The Elk Grove City Council has unanimously endorsed the measure. Additionally, as the City's STA members, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and Councilman Pat Hume helped hammer out the details of the proposed spending plan should the measure pass.  

Don't Double the Tax representatives did not respond to an email inquiry seeking comment as of posting time.

With the election a three weeks from today, the contest results will undoubtedly be closely monitored by a host of elected officials and opponents. As the votes are tallied and results finalized, it will be noteworthy to see if big money on the yes side succeeds or succumbs to the opposition's modest budget and super majority standing in their way.

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