Elk Grove City Council to seek voter approval of $23.1 million annual sales tax hike

Elk Grove City Manager Jason Behrmann. | 

As expected, the Elk Grove City Council has decided to place a $23.1 million annual sales tax increase on the November ballot. The action was taken at yesterday's meeting by a 4 - 1 vote.

The tax hike is called the Elk Grove Safety and Quality of Lifes measure and seeks to increase taxes by one percent on purchases made in the city. The measure will be on the November ballot and, if approved by a simple majority, would be effective in perpetuity starting in April 2023. 

In his presentation of what the additional $23.1 million expected annual revenue would be used for, Elk Grove City Manager Jason Behrmann said the general sales taxes could be used for various items, including parks and public safety. In addition, although unmentioned during Behrmann's presentation, since the tax hike has not defined specific purposes, it could be used for the proposed relocation expenses or construction of the proposed new Sacramento Zoo in Elk Grove.

Interestingly, while Behrmann stressed the tax could help parks and public safety, including fire and medical emergency services, he did not say if the Cosumnes Community Services District would be receiving any new revenues. The CCSD operates most of Elk Grove's parks and manages the Cosumnes Community Fire Department.  

Two Elk Grove residents voiced concern over the proposed increase during public comment. Those concerns included the regressive nature of sales taxes and their negative effect on people living on a fixed income. 

Sales tax is one of, if not the most regressive taxes," Paul Lindsay said. "It affects those least able to bear it the most."

Lindsay said if this measure, along with the county-wide one-half-percent tax increase, is approved, Elk Grove would be tied for the highest local sales tax obligation in the six-county Sacramento region. He also noted the forecasted recession and high inflation make this tax hike ill-advised.  

"It would be less than compassionate to even propose this action," he said. "This is not the time, this is not the place." 

Also in opposition was Von Evans Sr., who said that as a disabled U.S. Army 24-year veteran, the increase would be detrimental to his finances. 

"I don't find it all pleasing to say how disgusted I am about it," he said.

At the request of the Sacramento-based Region Business advocacy group, the measure includes a stipulation that at least 25 percent of the new funds be deposited in locally owned banks. 

City Councilmember Pat Hume was the sole vote against placing the measure on the ballot. Hume cited the challenging economic conditions facing many people in his rejection.

"I cannot in good conscience even ask the question of should you pay more to your government right now," he said.  

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Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

I don't want to say it is fishy, but it is curious that the City and the CCSD teamed up on this public relations campaign and the CCSD is not getting any of the new cah. Could it be there are secret merger talks underway between Mr. Behrmann and Mr. Green?

Bandee said...

Don't forget, Mayor Bobbie wants the mayor to be a full time paid position. A tax increase is necessary to cover the cost.

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