Proponents say they've gathered enough signatures to place 40-year sales tax increase on Sacramento County November ballot

A similar measure in 2016 failed when a two-thirds majority was needed for approval. |


Proponents of a Sacramento County sales tax increase say they have collected enough signatures to place the measure on the countywide November ballot.

Sponsored by a group called A Committee For a Better Sacramento is seeking a one-half-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects throughout Sacramento County. In a press release issued last week, the group said it submitted 75,000 signatures to Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections to qualify for the November ballot.

"These more than 75,000 signatures reflect the will of the voters and the strong desire among the residents of Sacramento County to fix our decaying transportation infrastructure," campaign Co-Chair Michael Quigley, Executive Director of the California Alliance for Jobs said. "For too long, Sacramento has put up with worsening traffic congestion, longer commute times and declining air quality."

The multi-jurisdictional Sacramento Transit Agency has long pursued the half-cent sales tax. However, an initiative they placed on the ballot in 2016 failed, and in 2020 the STA board decided against pursuing a similar sales tax increase. 

Standing in the way of the STA was a requirement that it needed a two-thirds super majority for approval. The 2016 Measure B fell short by less than one percent, and because of acrimony on the 2020 STA board of directors, it was decided not to place a sales tax measure on the ballot. 

However, this year should the measure be on the November ballot, it will only need a simple majority. Several judicial rulings have lowered the threshold for a sales tax increase when it is a voter's initiative and not sponsored by a governmental entity.

Although the threshold has been lowered, it is likely to face opposition as it did in 2016 and 2020 from the Sacramento Taxpayers Association. President of the group Bruce Lee said they would again build a coalition opposing the tax.

Lee said while county roads need attention, local governments should not be rewarded following years of neglect. Additionally, Lee noted the regressive nature of sales taxes.

"This is a highly regressive tax falling disproportionately on the shoulders of the working poor and the middle class, hence the historic opposition by the NAACP and NAN [National Action Network]," Lee said.  

The sales tax will raise $8.5 billion over its 40-year life if approved. Although specific spending plans have not been revealed, proponents say it "will fund long-overdue improvements to Sacramento County's deteriorating roads, bridges and transit system" with no mention of light rail or other mass transit projects.

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1 comment

Atticus Finch said...

Approving a sales tax increase and providing elected officials and bureaucrats with more tax payer money is akin to conducting community outreach so Bernie Madoff can victimize more people. You don't give more money to people who continually screw things up. But hey, voters are poised to elevate Mr. Hume and Mrs. Nguyen to higher office for helping to create more traffic and congestion in Elk Grove. Instead of voting incompetence out, we reward it. I wouldn't be surprised if the tax increase passed. Wake up!

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