With Measure E's popularity, Elk Grove pursuing first-in-California municipal income tax to fund zoological park

Following the success of Elk Grove's $24 million annual sales tax increase, the Elk Grove Mayor and her City Council are now pursuing wh...

Following the success of Elk Grove's $24 million annual sales tax increase, the Elk Grove Mayor and her City Council are now pursuing what would be the first in California, a municipal income tax. The tax will fulfill Mayor Bobbie Sing-Allen and at least three of her four councilmen's desire to pay for the multimillion-dollar construction, relocation, and ongoing operating costs of the Sacramento Zoo.  

The development of the municipal income tax was revealed by a mid-level city of Elk Grove employee who asked not to be identified. The credentials and employment status of the source, who asked to be identified as Felt, have been verified. 

Felt decided to reveal the scheme because they were upset by the numerous secret meetings conducted on the subject. Additionally, Felt said the condescending attitude of Sing-Allen and three of her four councilmen toward city staff was insulting and motivated their actions.  

According to Felt, city attorney Jonathen Hobb has advised the mayor and her city council that, in his expert legal opinion, the income tax can unilaterally be imposed without a vote of the people or even the city council. A quirk in the state's constitution that Hobb has identified allows municipalities to impose income taxes for five years to facilitate an urgent need.

Felt said to learn more about how the city could administer the tax, two city employees, deputy city manager Kara Redding and innovations czar Christopher Jorden traveled to Michigan and Alabama in February. About one-third of states, including Alabama and Michigan, allow municipal income taxes. 

Christopher Jorden and Kara Redding met with the Grayling, Mich. city manager at this bar in
February to learn more about municipal income tax administration

In Michigan, Felt said that Redding and Jorden met the Grayling city manager Erich Podjask and tax collector Chelsea Goodwen. Podjask verified they met Redding and Jorden for dinner at Grayling's Spike's 'O' Keg of Nails on February 16 but declined further comment about their conversation. 

Redding and Jorden also visited Albion, Mich., and with their permission, have developed a so-called form EG 1040 based on their AL-1040 for implementation in Elk Grove (see the document below). Felt could not identify what municipalities were visited in Alabama besides airline ticket and rental car receipts showing travel to the Birmingham airport. 

Sing-Allen proposes a two percent income tax on the first $25,000 of income and one percent between $25,001 and $50,000. Nonresidents working in Elk Grove will be taxed two percent of their first $50,000 of income.

Felt said city staff has estimated the income tax will generate $29 million annually. Of note, Felt also said the city's economic development director Darryl Doen said taxing non-residents would spur job gains for the city as it would dissuade low-income families to leave.  

Sing-Allen reportedly clandestinely met with and earned the support of three of her city councilmen. However, vice Mayor Kevin Spees has voiced opposition, saying that he prefers to double the local sales tax, which would be easier to administer and raise about the same as Sing-Allen's income tax.  

According to Bob Jones University's economic professor Roger Bradleigh, PhD., an income tax rate that decreases as income increases is the classic example of a regressive tax. Other examples of regressive taxes, which hurt low-income families, are sales taxes.   

"We have conducted several income tax studies at BJU and have concluded this is a tax structure that penalizes low-income families," Bradleigh said. "This type of tax schedule will force poor people to leave the city, and it conflicts with any community trying to be inclusive."

In the last several days, Felt said Sing-Allen has repeatedly complained to city staff about the pending lawsuit against Elk Grove for breaking fair housing laws and said she wishes poor people would leave the city. Sing-Allen reportedly blurted out, "if we could get rid of these needy poor people, we could get the zoo in here tomorrow," and that she could again "pose for selfies with Rob Bonta and the governor." 

BREAKING - Sacramento County Supervisor Pat Hum has also proposed a new Sacramento County tax for male residents. Sacramento men can determine if they pay or receive a refund on his proposal here

The Elk Grove public information office did not respond to email or telephone inquiries yesterday as the office was closed to accommodate the mayor's annual state of the city address. City staff was also instructed to attend the luncheon.  

With this latest tax scheme, while poor people may not immediately flee, the high cost of living could pressure them to exit and relieve the city of affordable housing projects. Coincidentally, even though today is April Fool's day, the city will start imposing Measure E sales taxes today, no joke.  

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