SLO council delays plans for a tax hike

April 20, 2018

Sensing the possibility that a new tax measure would not pass if placed on the ballot this year, the San Luis Obispo City Council decided to delay the initiative, as city officials spend more time pitching the tax hike to the public. [Cal Coast Times]

On top of the city’s existing .5 percent sales tax, San Luis Obispo officials are pushing the idea of a 1 percent sales tax measure. The tax hike is intended to fund infrastructure projects that require more than $400 million in fresh capital.

City officials have also floated the idea of raising property taxes, though the proposal does not appear to have as much momentum as a sales tax initiative.

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.

According to a recent survey of San Luis Obispo voters, 57 percent support a one percent sales tax increase to improve city infrastructure, while 40 percent oppose it. However, only 29 percent of those surveyed said they would definitely vote yes on the measure.

Polling firm FM3 conducted the survey on behalf of the city. FM3 surveyed 846 city voters and found that 40 percent of voters oppose the tax measure, indicating strong opposition to the initiative.

On Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo City Council opted to withhold placing the tax hike on the Nov. 2018 ballot and instead aim toward sending the initiative to voters in 2020. Only Councilman Dan Rivoire supported placing the tax measure on the ballot this year.

Despite officials conducting an intensive public outreach campaign, support for a tax measure is currently too low, the city said in a press release.

“In addition to meeting directly with community members and stakeholder groups, city staff engaged a firm to complete a statistical survey of residents’ preferences on identified projects and various community members responded, with support for a special tax measure falling short of the threshold needed,” Public Works Director Daryl Grigsby said in a statement.

While the city stresses the proposed tax increase is for infrastructure projects, such as renovating the police station and building the Prado Road overpass, the initiative comes at a time in which the city is facing an approximately $9 million budget deficit over the next three years, largely due to rising 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.

Critics have alleged in the past that the city has used half-cent sales tax money to backfill salary and pension costs. As a general purpose tax, Measure G generates revenue that can be spent on any expenditure within the city’s general fund.

The same would be the case for the 1 percent sales tax initiative the city is currently pushing. Elsewhere in California, allegations have also arisen that cities are currently packaging tax hikes to fund pensions as measures intended to pay for police and fire protection and other services.


So basically SLO City needs two more years to spend more money they don’t have on advertising campaigns to brainwash you into thinking that this tax hike has nothing to do with our pension deficit. Soon we will need a tax to pay for the money we spent on advertising a tax. Then we will needa tax to pay for the advertising of the tax we needed to pay for the advertising of the current tax, which hasn’t even made it to the ballot. Welcome to the People’s Republic of San Luis Obispo. A Progressive utopia that can only be afforded by government employees, and rich white people who move here from L.A. to retire.


Just drop the pretty pictures and tell the truth. We over promised benefits and we’re all going to be screwed. Then see what the support level is.

SLO is the ONLY town in the area reliant on tourism to have parking meters. Drunk college kids in bars will not sustain the economy.


Local government laments the lack of “affordable housing”‘, and lack of “living wages” in San Luis Obispo, but they jack up taxes, parking and fines any chance they get without the thought that for every half cent local taxes go up, and for every new bum in San Luis, downtown SLO loses another customer to Amazon.


“Bum”? Define “bum? After that please prove your contention that for every one of these human beings there has been an equal loss of business in the downtown area directly related to them. You lost the majority, if not all of, the business in that area when the big box stores opened up all along Los Osos Valley Road (isn’t John Madonna more to blame? You’d probably not think so as he’s not a “bum”, right?). Amazon has had an effect nation wide on consumerism and how consumers shop, so don’t think SLO should be any different.

This is the price you pay for the over hyped wanna be “bum” free utopia y’all want to keep all to yourselves.


We used to have a “bum free” utopia about 20 years ago. Then the Progressives (then called Liberals) came into power in SLO city. Now we have a downtown so tall that you can no longer see the beauty of the surrounding mountains. Those dark downtown streets devoid of any views of nature, are also now infested with bums, tweekers, and other species of derelicti. Now San Luis Obispo wants to charge you more for all that they have “accomplished.”


No you didn’t! I lived in SLO 20 years ago and while it was “bum” less it wasn’t “bum” free! 20 years ago the human beings you’re speaking of were downtown and in your faces every single day! That’s before they were relegated to the property next to the shit treatment plant, the only place people like you think their worthy of! You obviously don’t remember the lunch that was served everyday at the Downtown Mission, do you? How that part of your community congregated hours before the lunch was served and lingered hours afterword.

Pay your taxes and quit your bitchin’! Your overpriced way of living should cost you, dearly! You’ve accomplished pricing me and every other person you perceive as a “bum” out of livin’ there (I did a little research and the average rent for a studio in your wannabe elitist utopia has an average cost of $950.00! Anything with just one separate bedroom is over $1,200.00, and those figures are just the rent)!

And stop blamin’ everything on your boogeyman, the Progressives, as I’d wager you’d find most of those tall building you’re bitchin’ about are inhabited by anything but! And if there vacant, too bad! It’s the price you pay for the Regressive Conservative filled neighborhoods you want!


“Bum” 30 to 60 year old, typically white male, but many more females lately who begs for change, scrounges through garbage cans, sleeps in parks, has alienated themselves from every individual who has ever cared for them, and who is wrecking downtown slo. Also has rotted teeth from meth use and is prone to outbursts. Has no respect for private property. Unfortunately won’t die.

How’s that?


Not bad, for a person without a clue!


I have a great idea! How about a Government Employee Pension Tax? Say, 50%? If they pay a retired employee 100K, the employee is taxed 50K. This would work throughout California!


Unfortunately equal protection precludes that, however, firing 50 percent of government workers might do the trick.


I have more access to a clean enjoyable environment, with all the entertainment, dining and hospitality amenities one could want, and don’t pay one cent in sales tax. So, what’s wrong with California?

Location, location, location…


Yabutt you’re not like “Bitchen” bra. Ya know like the beautiful ones in the republic of slo Co. There are hundreds of places with what you mention for half the price of admission. What wrong with Ca you ask, where do we start?