Try, try and try again! Maybe the third, or is it the fourth time, will be the charm for Measure A money grab supporters

With Sacramento County's most recent vote tallies, one thing became imminently clear - voters did not buy what the proponents of Measure...

With Sacramento County's most recent vote tallies, one thing became imminently clear - voters did not buy what the proponents of Measure A were selling. 

If it had been approved, Measure A would have created a 40-year one-half percent sales tax that would have cost Sacramento County consumers over $8 billion. The Measure, which had a laundry list of sweeteners, was backed by billionaire real estate developers who deployed an army of spin doctors, politicians, and a well-funded slick advertising campaign who really wanted this Measure to fund their pet project, the Capitol Southeast Connector road.

That road, which will connect Elk Grove to El Dorado Hill via a route along Grant Line Road, is needed so the developer could have taxpayers pay for the road to open large swaths of Southeast Sacramento County to development. The alternative would be for developers to pay for the road, which is the antithesis of their philosophy.

But a majority of voters saw through the charade and rejected the money grab. But as we will see, they promise to try again.

Now it should be noted in 2016, a similar measure was placed on the ballot by the multi-jurisdictional Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA), and it was rejected. What was different in 2016 is that it needed a two-thirds majority for approval.

It lost by less than one percent, meaning over 65 percent of voters voted in favor. So close, but yet so far!

For a variety of reasons, this year's Measure only needed a single majority for approval. Confidence was high by backers they had this one in the bag.

Alas, an unfunded disparate group of opponents coalesced and killed the developer's slick campaign. Their success in killing the tax measure was the big surprise in this year's Sacramento County elections. 

Nonetheless, one of the Measure A's spin doctors' on social media promised they would try again. Here is what Joshua Wood of Region Builders said about another effort. 

Story continued below Tweets. 

We have no doubt the proponents will be back - that is too much money for the developers to dish out for their much-desired roadway. Much easier to foist those costs on unsuspecting taxpayers.

But to paraphrase Albert Einstein, they'll need something different on their third try because doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result defines insanity. Or, in the case of the pickpocketing developers, hubris. 

So maybe the third time will be the charm.

But wait! we have forgotten about STA's 2020 effort that didn't even make it to the ballot. 

That year the STA board members recognized funding for the Capitol Southeast Connector was an unpopular portion of the Measure, and a massive tax measure during a pandemic would be an uphill battle. Under the failed leadership of then STA Chair, Elk Grove City Councilmember Darren Suen, the board members fractured and decided against pursuing the money grab.

So in a way, this year's Measure A was the third stab, and unlike 2016, it failed on an even larger scale! In 2016, only 35 percent of voters rejected the tax grab, while this year, 55 percent said no. 

Even with a lower threshold, the proponents lost by a more significant margin. In a twist of irony, perhaps Measure A proponents did such a good of publicizing the tax hike they became the victim of their own excess!  

We have no doubt the developers and their army of money-grubbing politicians will give it a fourth try in 2024. Unless they completely overhaul what a multi-billion dollar tax increase will be used for, like eliminating all Southeast Connector funding and redirecting that money to road maintenance or enhanced public transportation, it's hard to imagine different results.   

Nonetheless, while voters have been Lucy to the billionaires' Charlie Brown, as Wood said, they'll be back!

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Atticus Finch said...

Too bad Elk Grovians got duped into believing the Measure E tax hike would improve our quality of life. It will not. It will go to pay for the council's pet projects and possibly pay for a full time mayor's position. Penn and Teller's Fool Us show would see right through this obvious money grab attempt.

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