Withdrawal of Measure A $8.4 billion tax increase proposal on Sacramento Transportation Authority special meeting agenda

When the multi-jurisdictional Sacramento Transporation Authority convenes a special meeting this Wednesday, the 16 board members will consider killing a proposed sales tax hike.

The meeting, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m, via teleconference has one agenda item - consideration of removing the so-called Measure A from this November's ballot. Measure A is the STA's proposed one-half cent 40-year sales tax increase that was expected to raise over $8.4 billion for a variety of transportation projects.

As noted in the staff report, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic recession, other agencies in California have decided to put on hold ballot measures increasing sales tax hikes. The report also notes recent polling in Sacramento County showed there was little appetite in the current state of the economy. 

Complicating matters for the STA is the tax measure would need a super-majority of 66.6-percent voters' approval for adoption. A similar STA measure in 2016 was narrowly defeated in a far-stronger economy.

After the 2016 defeat, the STA restarted the process in late 2018. Through several meetings and negotiations between board members and stakeholders, an expenditure plan was adopted, but that too was problematic.

Just as the COVID-19 shelter in place order went into effect in March and unemployment spiked, there was a vocal minority of the STA board members led by Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost and Elk Grove City Councilmember Pat Hume who dissented. Three other STA board members joined Frost and Hume and argued the expenditure was not popular with their constituents and would likely be defeated. 

Pushing back on those concerns was Elk Grove City Councilmember and STA Chair Darren Suen. The narrative Suen pushed was the 40-year tax increase would be an instant stimulus that would ease unemployment brought on by the pandemic.

As part of their polling, the survey conducted showed only 54-percent of voters supported Suen's economic stimulus argument as possible ballot language (see below), well short of the 66.6- percent needed for approval. Also, significantly, the poll showed only 54-percent supported ballot language that would have framed the tax increase as an alleviation for traffic congestion.

The STA board will need to have a two-thirds vote to have their ordinance repealed and withdrawn for consideration by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, who has final authority if the ballot measure is on the November ballot. Except for Frost, the other four Sacramento County Supervisors, all of whom serve on the STA board, supported the STA's expenditure plan.

Conversely, the STA board could simply withdraw their request to the board of supervisors and not repeal the ordinance. Not repealing the ordinance, however, would mean any changes, even minor ones would generate "calls from interest groups and the public for changes if any significant amount of time has passed."     

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


Government & Politics 6112370935295933592

Post a Comment Default Comments

1 comment

Watchdog said...

Oh, for the day that district attorneys will run on a platform of fighting public corruption. More money is stolen from the people of California by government officials every year than all the private thieves have stolen in the history of the state.

Government official thieves don't bother with petty crime. They go for the big bucks. And why not? The voters are too fat and happy or too dumb (after going through 12 or more years in government propaganda mills) to know they're being ripped off.

AB-195 changed the law on local ballot measures. Firms like Fairbank Maslin Maullin and Metz - FM3 (and other public opinion research firms) openly prostitute themselves to public agencies around the state with the promise that they have the key to win that tough local tax election. They do have the key. They write the ballot language as a sales pitch. That usually guarantees a win because that's the only language the voter is guaranteed to see.

The California Supreme Court has held that it's illegal to use public moneys for electioneering. The law has always (even before AB-195) prohibited electioneering on the ballot. Yet the greedy governing bodies who place the local measures on the ballot have likely never even read the law. Use of public moneys for a purpose "not authorized by law" is a felony under Penal Code 424(a)(2).

The ultimate criminal, however, is the elections officer who actually runs the election. These days that's always the county registrar. The registrar also commits at least one crime by printing and circulating ballots that don't conform to the law under Elections Code 18401 and likely a felony under Elections Code 18002 independently of the Penal Code provision.

When will people wake up? Probably never. They'll never connect their lack of quality of life to the smiling faces of the people who tax them to death.

It just takes one individual to collapse the scheme by filing an election contest special proceeding under Division 16 of the Elections Code. There's still time to 'vitiate' all the tax measures that passed on March 3, 2020 ballot, including the Sacramento City Unified School District bond measure.

Where is the individual who has finally had enough and is "mad as hell?" The clueless public is never to going to stand up.

Richard Michael 909-378-5401

Follow Us



Elk Grove News Minute

All previous Elk Grove News Minutes, interviews, and Dan Schmitt's Ya' Gotta be Schmittin' Me podcasts are now available on iTunes

Elk Grove News Podcast