Coalition opposed to STA's proposed Measure A sales tax hike hold rally, encourages taxpayers to keep up pressure

A broad coalition of groups gathered at the rally held at the Sacramento County Administration building against Sacramento Transportation Authority's Measure A sales tax hike proposal. |  

A broad coalition held a rally this morning outside of the Sacramento County Administration building in Downtown Sacrament to oppose a proposed countywide sales tax hike.

Led by the Sacramento Taxpayers Association, a disparate group of business and civil rights organizations have organized to oppose Sacramento Transporation Authority's Measure A. The measure, should it be placed on the November ballot would increase sales taxes by one-half of percent for 40 years and is expected to generate $8.4 billion for a variety of Sacramento County transportation projects. 

The rally, which was emceed by former California Assemblymember and Sacramento County Supersivor Roger Niello, featured an array of speakers. Among the speakers was Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Dr. Tecoy Porter, president of the Sacramento chapter of the National Action network civil rights groups.

While Coupal and other speakers focused on the high tax rates for Californians and other tax measures on this year's statewide ballot, Dr. Porter noted the regressive nature of sales taxes. He stressed they disproportionally affect the Black community, and that community will benefit little from the new tax.

"Not every constituent will experience the same benefit of this $8.4 billion tax hike," Porter said. "African-American households will pay a 50-percent larger share than white households, and Hispanic households will pay a 25-percent large share than white households." 

Porter added the uneven distribution of benefits from the proposed tax is "another example of systemic and structurally racism that amplifies the message that Black lives don't matter."

As co-founder of the SacLatino Community Roundtable, Adrian Perez said the tax increase would especially hurt rural Hispanic households. Perez said rural-based families spend up to 50-percent of their budget goes to transportation.

"And now you want to add an additional tax to that," he said. 

Perez also noted that the average age in the Latino community is 28 and that any new taxes "that we approve today, that age group is going to continue to pay and guess what, their kids will continue to pay that tax."

Today's rally was scheduled ahead of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisor's regular Tuesday meeting, where they were expected to vote on the STA's proposal to place the matter on the ballot. The STA has subsequently scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, July 15, where they will consider dropping their pursuit of putting  Measure A on this November's ballot, and accordingly, the board of supervisors has rescheduled the matter until their July 28 meeting.

Even though it appears the 16-member STA board, based on recommendations of the executive staff and polling data, which shows the measure would not reach the two-thirds supermajority need for passage, will not pursue the matter, rally participants were urged to keep applying pressure.  

Bruce W. Lee, president of Sacramento Taxpayers Association suggested emails be sent to STA chair and Elk Grove City Councilmember Darren Suen and other board members urging them to vote tomorrow to drop Measure A. Organizers hope to have 1,000 written and speakers submit comments for tomorrow's special meeting which will be conducted via teleconference.

Along with the various groups who were represented at the rally, many groups have lent their opposition to Measure A. Most notably are the Sacramento Farm Bureau and Sacramento area chambers of commerce, including the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce. 

Speaking near the end of the rally, Lee, who has held local elected office in Placer County, said while there are many competent officeholders, he added there are others who are not.  

"Some of our elected representatives have no idea what they are doing," Lee stated. "They are trying perhaps, but generally speaking, they have no strong idea about what they are doing, they are guessing, they are bumbling along in the process of making policy." 

He closed by saying, "A number like 8.4 billion [dollars] has no meaning to them, it is inconceivable to them, they do to know what it them it's just a big number on a piece of paper that some staff person told them about."

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