SLO seeking sales and property tax increases to fund projects

March 5, 2018

On top of the city’s existing .5 percent sales tax, San Luis Obispo officials are putting forward the idea of a 1 percent sales tax and additional property taxes, in order to fund infrastructure projects that are said to require $400 million in fresh capital. [Cal Coast Times]

Currently, San Luis Obispo has a 7.75 percent sales tax rate, the same rate as the other six cities in SLO County, each of which have also adopted half-cent sales taxes. Raising San Luis Obispo’s sales tax a full percent would bring it to 8.75 percent, or 1.5 percent above the state of California rate of 7.25 percent that also exists in unincorporated areas of SLO County.

In 2014, San Luis Obispo voters renewed the city’s half-cent sales tax, previously known as Measure Y and now called Measure G, with 70 percent approval. As a general purpose tax, Measure G generates revenue that can be spent on any expenditure within the city’s general fund.

City officials say Measure G primarily funds maintenance of existing city facilities. However, for years, critics of the city government have alleged SLO has used half-cent sales tax money to backfill salary and pension costs.

San Luis Obispo currently has an unfunded pension liability of about $150 million, a figure that could be estimated at nearly $190 million when factoring in a city side fund and upcoming reductions in the state retirement system’s discount rate. Last year, city management said CalPERS’s change to the discount rate left SLO with a projected budget shortfall of $9 million over the next three years.

Nonetheless, Public Works Director Daryl Grigsby said none of the new tax proposals would have anything to do with funding pension costs, according to the Tribune.

Currently, city officials say they are trying to implement a variety of infrastructure projects that have been planned, but for which funding does not exist. The projects include renovating Mission Plaza with a redesigned amphitheater, a restored restroom, a new café and extensive new safety provisions.

The city is also considering building new or renovating its police station and fire stations. Likewise, the city plans to expand its network of bike paths.

San Luis Obispo officials say $400 million in additional revenue is needed to fund the infrastructure projects that the city is planning and that are required to deliver residents the services and experiences they desire.

According to a report city staffers are circulating online, options for funding the infrastructure projects include a 1 percent sales tax, a citywide community facilities district and a general obligation bond. Both the community facilities district and the bond could be funded through a parcel tax.

Each of the funding options would require voter approval. While city officials have not endorsed any of the options, the staff report does cite a 2014 study suggesting 70 percent of sales tax revenue comes from visitors to SLO.

Thus far, the city has received about dozen online responses from residents to the tax and infrastructure spending proposals. Most of the responses have been opposed to the proposed tax increases, with residents stating that San Luis Obispo ought to live within its means.

Over the course of March, the city plans to continue conducting outreach on the matter. Then on April 17, the San Luis Obispo City Council will receive input from staff and community members and provide direction on the tax and infrastructure spending proposals.

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SLO resident’s are upset over this? Why? Isn’t it after all “Location, Location, Location” you all sell? Something without a tangible monetary value that cost so much should be taxed, to hell and back! Especially when that “intangible” is more often then not meant to price some folks out of the market, your neighborhood, all together.

You get what you pay for, I guess…

Poor priorities for the real needs for the future of San Luis Obispo:(

1. Sewer Main Replacement, the system is old and much of what goes to the sewer plant is ground water leaching into the old decayed existing pipes.

2. Water system replacement, they think the Police Station is to old at 50 years, mere teenager when compared to much of the asbestos water pipes.

3. Tank Farm widening doesn’t address the circulation problem, Prado Rd extension through to Broad St and a freeway over pass would be a much better improvement.

Of course the real joke is that their list is to try and get the taxpayers to vote for the tax increase, the money will end up being spent on Pension costs anyway!!!

Hmmm. Police station old at 50 yrs? Isn’t there always a movement in SLO to preserve these “old historic buildings?” Just another wish put on to the taxpayers back.


Investigations 12.00

Neighborhood Outreach 1.00

Patrol 43.00

Police Administration 5.50

Support Services 20.00* (Communication and Records)

OTS Step Grant 1.00

Traffic Safety 4.00

TOTAL FTEs 86.50

*Dispatch is located next to the No.1 Fire Station and does not use the Police Station but the records division is located in the Police Station. When you think about that aside from some of the Administration Support (5.5), Records (6), Grant Writer (1), Investigators (in-out), and they work in shifts, a two-story building repeatedly updated should be sufficient if the police officers are out on the streets, meetings, outreach programs, bookings and jail are located at the County Jail this two-story facility should be sufficient. Maybe they could build it in the new proposed facility down on Nipomo/Broad instead of the Little Theater. Is the City paying for the Theater, Children’s Museum, etc, and the ongoing costs? Don’t get me wrong, I think Police Officers do a fantastic job in all the communities, as they now have to deal with medical, mental health, drugs, safety, homelessness, crime, punks, illegals, and the most disgusting situations of any occupation on a daily basis. I truly believe we have catered and allowed the current situations to exist, advance and reach unbelievable circumstances. But, a community can only afford what a community can afford. The City, County, State and Federal Government cannot and should not continue to tax its citizens while continually allowing illegal people and activities to continue. I looked at the breakdown number of calls dispatched received, the breakdown of crimes investigators and police responded too and for a community of 45,000 it was appalling.

There will certainly be and expensive EIR for this growth enhancing project. I expect to see HWY 101 improved between Santa Margarita and San Luis Obispo. As the tourist flood into SLO, their impacts to local transit must be mitigated.

Only if the locals want to pay for it to support the tourist industry.

They want to restore the restroom? I can remember when they built a nice public restroom across from Big Śky serval years ago – they couldn’t stop the homeless was from wrecking it, so they shut it down. It was something like $250,000 down the drain. Idiots.

SLO is facing a huge pension shortfall….one guess where 99% of any increased taxes will go.

Typical government solution raise tax’s instead of living within your means like the people have to. They sold us a bill of goods on the last tax increase and figure we are gullible enough to pass another ripoff. How about cutting the outrageous salaries they get to help finance their agenda. That will never happen. They say 70% of tax’s are paid by tourists to make you think you won’t be paying anything. I guess the people who live and work here don’t account for much then, which is really how they feel about the people when they don’t live within their means and just want more money more money no accountability. If you pass this you will just see the same request written differently in a couple years as they always want more. Calif. has become the tax more give less state. Look at all the states with the highest tax’s and you will see they are the ones in debt and poor service to the people because they love to spend other peoples money with no accountability to anyone.

If it’s true that 70% of the sales tax is paid by tourist how about raising it by 2% and you just show valid ID that you are a permanent resident in SLO and you don’t have to pay any sales tax?

This is an opportunity to challenge the comedian Ron White who uses the following statement in his hilarious comedy show. “You can’t fix stupid.” Well SLO here is your chance with a solid NO vote.

More taxes. What a surprise! The picture in the lower right corner is worth 1000 words. A Blockaded street. Sure I will pay for that.

Just as a reminder what the SLOStinkers are up to, here are a couple of old articles. Get anybody mad?