Mayor Singh-Allen aligns with progressive Sacramento mayoral candidate on Steinberg's regional sales tax proposal

Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen speaking favorably about a progressive regional taxation idea
sponsored by Mayor Darrell Steinberg on Sept. 14. | 

Although she is not known as a progressive Democratic officeholder, Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen finds her aligned with the progressive Democratic candidate for Sacramento mayor.

Readers will recall that during the September 14 Sacramento Transportation Authority meeting, Singh-Allen tacitly endorsed an idea by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. The idea presented by Steinberg during one of his state of the city addresses is the promotion of a regional tax to fund transportation projects, affordable housing and to address homelessness.

During that meeting, Singh-Allen said, "I do applaud Mayor Steinberg, the innovation, the creative thinking of how to address a lot of the county's needs, the cities various jurisdictions needs."

Singh-Allen noted even though Steinberg's idea was worth exploring, she could have difficulty convincing Elk Grove voters to support more taxes. In 2022, Singh-Allen successfully guided the Yes on Measure 5, which increased taxes on Elk Grove consumer purchases and is expected to generate $23 million annually for the city.

When he was in the California Assembly over 20 years ago, Steinberg pushed for a six-county regional tax that ultimately stalled in the legislative process. Not surprisingly, Steinberg announced the reincarnation of his regional tax after he said he would not seek another term in 2024.

With Steinberg's announcement, four candidates including epidemiologist Flo Cofer, former City Council member Steve Hansen, state Assembly member Kevin McCarty, and former state lawmaker Dr. Richard Pan have jumped into the mayoral race.

The four candidates were asked several common questions in a series of interviews by Cap Public Radio. One question was about Steinberg's regional sales tax.

While Cofer, Hansen, and Pan were non-committal about Steinberg's idea, McCarty was unabashedly in support. 


As reported on Cap Public radio, McCarty said without hesitation:

I really like the idea. In the city of Sacramento, the mayor only controls the city, of course. So the county is going to have some opinions there as well. I'm not sure the county Board of Supervisors has a position yet on that.

But if you look at our transportation issues, yeah, we are a regional transportation network. So it doesn't make sense to just focus on transportation by ourselves. But the bigger question the mayor poses is an important one, which I concur with. Transportation and housing are linked.

You want to address climate issues, gridlock, air quality. We need to focus on smart growth and housing near our existing transit and transportation corridors. So I like the link there. Plus, we clearly need more resources to focus on homelessness and affordable housing.

That Singh-Allen finds herself aligned with McCarty in seeking a countywide tax is noteworthy, given their respective political inclinations.

As an Assembly member and before that as a Sacramento City Council member, McCarty staked out liberal to progressive stances. McCarty supported Senate Bill 35 and 423, restricting local land use decisions. 

Singh-Allen, however, has been more conservative and has taken stances more akin to her former political membership in the Republican Party. When political conditions drifted from red to blue in Elk Grove, Singh-Allen shifted her allegiance. 

Notably, Singh-Allen, similar to Republicans, has criticized Democratic legislation stripping local land use authority from municipalities that violate state fair housing laws. Under Singh-Allen's leadership, Elk Grove is being sued by Democratic California Attorney General Rob Bonta for violating fair housing laws with its July 2022 rejection of the Oak Rose affordable housing project. 

It will be noteworthy to see how Singh-Allen reconciles her initial support for Steinberg's liberally-oriented regional approach to governance and taxation while also trying to maintain Elk Grove's rock-solid conservative stance on local control.

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1 comment

D.J. Blutarsky said...

Latching onto Steinberg's regional tax proposal at this time might be seen as desperation by our Mayoress to become 'important again', but I would argue that it is a much more calculated maneuver than just gaining popularity.

Elk Grove has a huge chunk of regional votes and our Mayoress is confident that she can deliver those votes to Steinberg. Just look at the upset victory of the Measure E "quality of life" tax increase. With a ballot measure worded just right, Elk Grove voters have proven to be easy pickings for tax increases.

But there is also another benefit at play here: Most informed voters are aware that the 'Granite Bay developers' have enjoyed subsidized roads and artificially low road impact fees at taxpayers expense for years. However, the key word is "informed voters". Then there are the Elk Grove voters. Ever ask yourself why the City doesn't have enough money for the Whitelock interchange? The homes are built, the traffic is there--what happened?

Supporting Steinberg's tax and delivering the votes from the second largest city in Sacramento County will not only keep our Mayoress on the Democratic radar, but more importantly, will keep her in the good graces of Granite Bay which can be good for campaign time.

Watch your wallets voters!

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