Supervisor candidates argue over proposition 13
September 29, 2014
By KAREN VELIE
The latest skirmish in the contentious battle for San Luis Obispo County’s District 4 Supervisor seat is over the meaning of Proposition 13.
Caren Ray and Lynn Compton are battling for what is considered the swing seat on the board. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Ray last year after Supervisor Paul Teixeira died of a heart attack.
Ray and Compton have battled over illegally placed signs, signs on vehicles, special interest allegations and claims that a fundraiser serving “hobo stew” was a slap in the face of the homeless.
The candidates’ latest disagreement is over a Feb. 11 board of supervisors’ vote to approve a legislative platform that included paying lobbyists to promote legislation at the state level that would lower the 2/3 voter approval to increase sales tax to a simple majority vote. Caren Ray voted alongside Supervisors Bruce Gibson, Adam Hill and Frank Mecham in approving the legislative platform.
In response to the vote, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) endorsed Lynn Compton for supervisor. The association is named after the author of proposition 13, which limits property taxes to 1 percent of a home’s value and requires a 2/3 voter approval for special taxes, including sales tax.
Ray’s vote was an attempt to chip away at Proposition 13, Compton said.
Ray fired back in a letter to the editor of the Tribune, saying she had never voted to raise taxes and has fully supported Proposition 13. Ray claimed Compton was being untruthful, noting that only the state legislature can lower the 2/3 required special tax approval. Ray said Compton was attempting to spread misinformation.
During a trip to San Luis Obispo County last week, HJTA President Jon Coupal said Ray was “simply wrong” in her claim that Proposition 13 dealt only with property taxes.
“For someone (Ray) to deny that this was an anti-taxpayer, anti-Proposition 13 resolution is simply not true,” Coupal said. “It matters because there is the potential of having someone elected who is not a Proposition 13 advocate and the potential for having someone like Lynn Compton who is a very strong defender of Proposition 13.”
In response to Coupal statments, Ray said on the Dave Congalton Show, that she voted for lowering the required 2/3 vote to raise sales tax in an attempt to raise money to repair and improve county roads.
By raising the sales tax rate, Ray said the burden for funding roads would not fall on the backs of homeowners, but would be partially paid by tourists who also use the roadways.
Ray said she wouldn’t be a homeowner without Proposition 13, which she said she was in favor of.
Coupal disagreed saying Ray’s vote “can only be characterized as an anti-Proposition 13 vote.” Instead of voting for for more taxes, government should promote economic growth and control spending, Coupal said.
“There is always an effort by local government for more money,” Coupal added. “The biggest spender for lobbying is not oil, tobacco or alcohol – it is local government.”
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