County supervisors' survey a bad omen for Sacramento Transportation Authority's pursuit of sales tax increase




A wide-ranging budget priority survey commissioned by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors revealed that most residents believe homelessness is their top concern and that the county is headed in the wrong direction. The survey results presented at the December 12 supervisors meeting also revealed a bad omen for the Sacramento County Transportation Authority (STA).

A multijurisdictional agency composed of elected officials in Sacramento County, including Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and District 1 Councilmember Darren Suen, among its many duties, the STA allocates county sales tax money collected for transportation infrastructure projects. Over the last several years, the STA has sponsored or supported unsuccessful county-wide sales tax increases.

Not surprisingly, much of the survey focused on respondents' sentiments regarding the homelessness crisis. Included in the results were polling on public transportation and taxes.

When asked about how funds should be generated for non-specified services, an overwhelming majority of respondents, 75 percent, to some degree, said a sales tax increase was unacceptable. Of that 75 percent, 57 percent said it was "very unacceptable." 

There was no discussion about a sales tax increase to fund transportation projects in the most recent STA meeting on November 9, but it was brought up at the previous sessions. Most notably, during the September 14 meeting, the idea was discussed.

Among those supporting the idea was Singh-Allen, who successfully raised consumer sales taxes in Elk Grove by up to $23 million annually through voter-approved Measure E. Singh-Allen signaled support for a region-wide sales tax increase pushed by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg that could be used for various purposes, including homelessness and affordable housing (see video below).

As the FM3 survey showed, Sacramento County voters have no appetite for a sales tax increase in the context of inflationary pressures. 

"With the cost of living concerns acute as they are and general distrust in government, there is more skepticism towards finance measures than we have seen in previous years," Dave Metz of FM3 told the supervisor during their December 12 meeting.

The STA could decide next year to pursue a county-wide sales tax increase to fund STA directors' pet projects, most notably from their perspective, to complete the Southeast Connector road. However, given voter sentiment, a county-wide sales tax is unlikely to appear on the 2024 ballot. 

The STA meets next on January 11. 


   

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1 comment

D.J. Blutarsky said...

In the video, Mayor Bobbie admits the polling numbers are what they are and "we are running against time." Guess what, time not only applies to raising taxes.

In the immortal words of former Mayor Gary Davis, "all politicians have a shelf life".

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