Marx seeking sales tax renewal end-run around law

April 15, 2014
Jan Marx

Jan Marx

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx is seeking to use an appellate court ruling to forego the two-thirds council vote requirement to place a tax increase on the November ballot.

In 1986, California voters passed Proposition 62, which requires a two-thirds vote of a city council or county board of supervisors to place a general tax on the ballot for voters to approve. In the city of San Luis Obispo, 55.42 percent of voters said yes to Proposition 62 and countywide 63.83 percent of voters said yes.

At an April 1 council meeting, Marx, Councilman John Ashbaugh and Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson expressed support for renewing Measure Y, the city’s half-cent sales tax, while Council members Dan Carpenter and Kathy Smith expressed opposition. A 4-1 or 5-0 vote has been required in the past to place tax increases on the ballot.

Marx, who called Carpenter and Smith obstructionists, asked city attorney Christine Dietrick to look into the city of San Leandro having the ability as a charter city to place tax increases on the ballot with a majority vote. A 2001 ruling by the California Court of Appeal determined the two-thirds requirement does not apply to charter cities which have municipal codes that require a majority vote rather than the two-third state requirement.

San Leandro’s city charter specifies that only a majority vote of the city council is required rather than a two-thirds vote to place sales tax increases on the ballot.

Dietrick has determined the council can likely place the Measure Y renewal on the ballot with a majority vote based on the San Leandro case, according to the Tribune.

Nevertheless, the city of San Luis Obispo’s adopted municipal code section 3.15.020 states that in compliance with California Government Code Section 7285.9, the city requires that “two-thirds of the council and a majority vote of the electors voting on the measure, vote to approve the establishment of this new general purpose revenue source at an election called for that purpose.”

Smith said she does not trust the city to use general-purpose sales tax money on capital improvements as promised, though she would support a specific use tax. In recent months, city staff has struggled to identify capital improvement projects the city has completed using Measure Y funds.

At tonight’s city council meeting, Marx is likely to seek the inclusion of a Measure Y renewal on the May 6 agenda under the assumption the council no longer requires a two-thirds vote.

San Luis Obispo based attorney Stew Jenkins, who successfully sued the city over illegal treatment of the homeless, said he is analyzing the issue and considering requests to get involved.

 







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  1. isoslo says:

    One of the major issues facing all citizens in the USA is over taxation. Don’t be fooled money is power and our city leaders just want more power. We the citizens need to start saying no to all tax increases until government becomes wiser with the money they already take. The only power we have is to vote no on any tax increase and vote no on every politician that supports the government talking more money from it’s citizens. If we don’t reign in government spending we will become like Greece or Argentina or any number of other bankrupt countries. I am so tired of so many people being so gullible every time some politician says” but this tax is for something special for the people”. Stop being stupid people! Every government agency wants more money to supposedly do something good for us, and the more money the government takes the less they do for us.

    (17) 21 Total Votes - 19 up - 2 down
  2. SLOBIRD says:

    This article was in the Sacramento Bee today:

    Jerry Brown calls special legislative session on rainy day fund

    “The proposed amendment would eliminate some provisions of a rainy day reserve measure already on the ballot. The original measure, ACA 4, was opposed by some of the Democratic governor’s liberal allies, who complained it would collect too much money and make it too difficult to increase spending.

    Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2014/04/jerry-brown-calls-special-legislative-session-on-rainy-day-fund.html#storylink=cpy

    “opposed by some of the Democratic governor’s liberal allies, who complained it would collect too much money…” meaning the unions don’t like the one being proposed because they can’t put their hands in this pot!

    VOTE NO on “Y”

    (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
  3. SLOBIRD says:

    One of the important things to consider about this tax is that when it was approved in 2006 we did not have Target, Olive Garden, Duck Sports, Old Navy, and all the other new businesses on LOVR, etc. Look at all that new sales tax money that is coming into SLO coffers since 2006. WHERE IS IT?

    I was also looking at the gas pump the other day and we are paying $.40 in State Excise Tax, $.19 in Federal Fuel Tax, and State SALES TAX (8 %) which is $.32 per gallon = $.92 total tax per gallon of gas . Gas is now up to $4.06 per gallon on average and add that to the City coffers (yes, I know they only get a portion as the Sate, County and City all get some of it but SLO is getting 1/2 cent more because of local tax). Enough already! This tax was for 8 years, not a life time and especially when the City can’t even tell us where these MILLIONS of dollars went. Kudos to Kathy Smith, special tax or no tax.

    NO on “Y”

    (30) 32 Total Votes - 31 up - 1 down
    • achillesheal says:

      Politicians love gas taxes because they think that the public is too stupid to know that they are being taxed. Gasoline is one of the few products in which the advertised price includes the state and federal taxes.

      If you think $4/gallon is excessive, wait until the carbon tax kicks in next year.

      (15) 17 Total Votes - 16 up - 1 down
  4. Paso_citizen says:

    Well, well, well. Her true colors come out after all – the “Tax-to-the-max” folks will try anything to line their own pockets, at the expense of the taxpayer.

    The really sad part – she (and her compatriots) will win, and the tax proposal will be on the ballot (as a general tax, not specific-use) and will be passed by the voters once more.

    Why? Because the “tax-to-the-max’ crowd will be all over everybody with predictions of dire consequences of ‘gloom-and-doom’ if thhis great sorce of revenue is cut off. What they will not tell the voters is the truth – just exactly how much goes to their pockets?

    The voters of SLO only have to look ~30 miles to the north to see solid evidence of a very similiar sales tax issue. Paso Robles citizens are getting screwed. But the City Councils of both cities know that it only takes 50%+1 to pass a general sales tax – and they both have solid evidence that there are at least that number of stupid voters in each city.

    Tax ON ! ! !

    (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
  5. achillesheal says:

    She has a pen and she has a phone and can change the law as she pleases, oh wait, that’s another fool that was elected by the people.

    (19) 21 Total Votes - 20 up - 1 down
  6. justchuck says:

    Perhaps Ms. Marx coud take lessons from Adam Hill in name-calling.

    (21) 25 Total Votes - 23 up - 2 down
  7. lakerhater says:

    If you disagree with her you’re an “Obstructionist”. Ha! I bet she has a coexist bumper sticker on her car.

    (38) 42 Total Votes - 40 up - 2 down
  8. Pelican1 says:

    Tax my ass…it’s time to get rid of this Bolshevik,

    (35) 39 Total Votes - 37 up - 2 down
  9. Human Reason says:

    Well here we go again. The City Attorney giving bad and wrong legal advice again! How long will this continue on!!

    (39) 41 Total Votes - 40 up - 1 down