Thursday, July 28, 2011

Supervisor’s Park Tax Increase

I watched the entire hearing on the tax increase proposal last Tuesday and contrary to this story in the Sacramento Bee, all the Supervisors agreed to was to ask staff to draft language which they could discuss and vote on in August, to determine if they would ask the state to pass legislation allowing them to put a tax increase on the ballot.

An excerpt.

“Sacramento County officials on Tuesday agreed to support a sales tax increase to fund the regional park system.

“The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to seek state legislation to allow a November 2012 election for a 0.1 percent sales tax increase.

“If approved by two-thirds of county voters, the tax would raise $17 million annually to support the county's 32 regional parks, including the popular American River Parkway.

“Such a tax would add 1 cent to a $10 purchase.

“The move came after a four-hour hearing, at which park advocates warned that the state legislative session offers only a small window this summer to move the proposed bill.

“There was also general agreement about the desire for a fix before another disastrous county budget cycle next year.

"The sense of urgency, I think, is palpable," said Supervisor Phil Serna.

“Support for the sales tax hike marks a partial victory for a group of park advocates that proposed the tax.

“The coalition, calling itself the Grassroots Working Group, also wants the county to support forming a new regional park district, with an independently elected board, to take over and manage the parks.

“Supervisors, however, were not willing to go that far yet. The board wants more time to study other governance options, as well as the specific structure of a new independent district, if that is the final path.”