With the $8.3 billion countywide sales tax increase poised for approval, will Elk Grove still pursue their sales tax hike?

Through a combination of good fortune and timing, proponents of a long-sought Sacramento County sales tax increase are close to fulfilling their desires.

Last week, the group called A Committee for a Better Sacramento (ACBS) announced their initiative to raise taxes on Sacramento County consumers by $8.3 billion over 40 years qualified for the November county-wide ballot. ACBS is being funded by the California Alliance for Jobs (CAJ) and supported by developers Cordova Hills Development Corporations and Angelo T. Tsakopoulos and Affiliated Entities.   

Going into the November election, court rulings have lowered the threshold for approval of the one-half percent sales tax increase for a voter-sponsored initiative to a simple majority. Governmental entities like Sacramento Transporation Authority, which tried and failed a similar tax hike in 2016 by less than one percent, needed a two-thirds majority for approval.  

Given the CAJ has access to over $4 million and will undoubtedly receive more funding from real estate developers like Tsakopoulos, who will benefit from substantial funding for the Southeast Connector roadway project that will open swaths of Southeastern Sacramento County they own, money to promote the tax think will not be in short supply. From their perspective, why not throw down a few million to get consumers to pay for the Southeast Connector that will earn them hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Additionally, even though there will be opposition from taxpayer groups, they will be overwhelmed by money from CAJ. More significantly, the lower threshold, which could close in 2024, is far easier to achieve than the two-thirds majority.    

This brings us to Elk Grove and their tax increase ambitions. Earlier this year, an Elk Grove City Council member told us there were four votes on the five-member city council to approve placing a sales tax increase on the Elk Grove ballot for this November. 

As noted by Lynn Wheat in her recent More Than Three Minutes podcast, Elk Grove and Cosumnes Community Services District have distributed campaign-like mailers to Elk Grove and CCSD voters, subtly softening them for a sales tax increase.

And not to be overlooked, this spring, during the height of the June primary, a text-based political survey asked voters about a local sales tax increase. As seen in the image above, the question indicates political insider information even though it has gone unmentioned during city council meetings. 

The question for the Elk Grove City Council is, given the sales tax hike pushed by the more influential CAJ and their supporters like Tsakopoulos, will they be told to defer their tax hike lest they stir up opposition to a tax increase during the highest inflationary period in 40 years. Will Elk Grove Mayor Singh-Allen and her four council members understand it is better to keep their benefactors happy and forgo the tax hike increase this time?  

Of course, Mayor Singh-Allen and her city council could double down and try to impose two sales tax increases totaling one percent on Elk Grove voters this November. If they agree to pursue the tax increase, which has virtually no public discussion, it will have to be decided during their July 27 meeting. 

The clock is ticking. 

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