SLO City Council votes in favor of sales tax increase

July 22, 2020

Following the lead of other cities in the county, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a 1 percent sales tax increase initiative on the November ballot.

If passed by a a majority of voters, the sales tax rate in San Luis Obispo would indefinitely rise from 7.75 percent to 8.75 percent. The initiative would eliminate the sunset clause on the city’s existing half percent sales tax, which is due for renewal in 2023, and set the city sales tax rate at 1.5 percent until it is potentially changed by voters in the future.

San Luis Obispo is facing an $8.6 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year. The city’s existing half percent sales tax combined with a 1 percent increase would generate approximately $21.6 million annually, according to a city staff report.

Presently, all seven cities in SLO County have sales tax rates of 7.75 percent. Each of the seven cities have adopted their own half percent sales tax in the past.

In addition to San Luis Obispo, the city councils of Atascadero, Grover Beach, Morro Bay and Paso Robles voted to place 1 percent sales tax increase measures on the November ballot. The Arroyo Grande City Council voted last week against raising sales tax via a 2020 ballot measure.

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Here is something: I searched Transparent California for the city of SLO. I had to count to the 20th employee before I reached one that was compensated less than $300,000, the average household income in the city is $53,000. I understand that these folks work difficult jobs that sometimes require risk or a significant amount of training or education BUT, six times what the average household makes? John Stuart Mill wrote about a democracy needing a certain amount of bureaucracy in order to protect the rights of citizens who had fallen beneath the status quo. How could any reasonable person think compensating the top 20 employees SIX times what the median household makes is protecting our rights? And at the end of every meeting they all stand and look at each other wondering why businesses don’t want to do business here. Do you think it may be that businesses cannot survive in a tax saturated city? Obviously the common man can make it here on one sixth the compensation. Why can’t you make a sacrifice during these trying times? Do the right thing by splitting the difference with us citizens take a pay cut.

It really does beg scrutiny doesn’t it ? How does the salary of a Golf course manager exceed a nurse working in a correctional facility ? It doesn’t take an actuary table to figure out which one is classified essential. Another good place to cut is the Air Pollution Control in-name-only office. Truly ill mannered useless lot they put in place over there. That budget can be cut in half without a change in non-service of their duties. Then we have court personnel . And all that law enforcement overtime, even when there is no crime and no protests, they manage to get it somehow. You make a very good argument for cutting pension fat , the only reason a jerk like Parkinson remains in office. Sucking off the taxpayer pension till …

I have known Ian for years. Is he paid too much? Yes. Is he a jerk? I don’t think so. I think he tries to fulfill his duty the best he possibly can. I believe he is committed to the pursuit of truth and justice, unlike the last polo-shirt wearing sheriff. Disparaging these public servants is going to get us nothing. I believe through transparency and accountability this situation is solvable. One step is to give these high paid bureaucrats a chance to explain why they feel they deserve this enormous compensation by issuing individual public statements to the public.

ClayBertram, you are totally correct. Same thing goes for Paso Robles.

In 2018, average salary of all 254 city employees was $90, 500.

Just the top 10 employees (city manager, fire, police chief. etc) had an average

salary of $184,618. Completely out of comparison to average resident income.

So what can we do, except complain.

I believe we have to start a movement that informs all residents (SLO, Paso, MD,Atascadero. everywhere) that this outlandish pay difference can not be tolerated.

We have very little choice – either fight it or lay back and accept it.

Start is for all voters in all SLO county cities to vote NO on any new taxes.

The hogs must be forced to go on a diet.

Paso citizen, I think you’re on the right track. If I may offer this piece of advice: When discussing how bureaucrats are paid always use the term compensation. I think you’ll find that the average compensation is much higher than 180k. I do not understand how some of these high paid bureaucrats can look citizens in the face. We need CCN to systematically go through each municipality in our county publishing the top compensated employees compared to the household median income so more citizens are aware of this travesty. I realize a lot of these folks are firemen and police. These jobs are a risk to these employees lives and they should be appropriately compensated. However, are we paying members United States military 200k a year plus a pension that is unheard of in the private sector?

Nice reference to Mill, he’s one of may favorites. Mill once said:

“Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives…I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.”

Here’s an idea they will never try, Ram, cut all salaries and pensions in a tiered order, starting with 5% for low end up to 30% for all those over $200,000. That would be at least $60,000 savings for each of those outrageous salaries and pensions and we know there are plenty of them.

City and county terminations and department closures will be very bad for county and city residents…we are in a pandemic….we have to pull together to get out of it as whole as we can….debt?…just another unfortunate side effect….I don’t like tax increases but give me another viable option….

Rambu, there are lots of alternatives, like stop wasting money: $200K to study racism, $1.3 mil for bollards in downtown streets to “protect” farmers market, $3 million for a useless and unneeded Anholm bikeway, million$ in subsidies to developers, etc. Thrift in a time of poverty is the responsible course of action. But thrift is anathema to these city greedheads.

Stop wasting money?….in this city?….and County and State with one party rule?…don’t see it happening and I don’t want to see my neighbors lose their jobs because government can’t stop wasting money…the pain will snowball down…not up…

The only alternative I see is to stop voting for democrats but this is CA…..