A sales tax increase will generate enormous benefits to all SLO residents

October 18, 2020

Jeff Buckingham

OPINION by JEFF BUCKINGHAM

Anybody who knows me might expect me to agree with Keith Gurnee’s opposition to San Luis Obispo City’s Measure G-20. Indeed, as a registered Libertarian, I generally lean against taxes.

But I couldn’t disagree more with Mr. Gurnee. I strongly urge SLO City residents to vote yes on Measure G-20. This net increase of 1 percent on our sales tax is a small investment with a big payout for the entire community as outlined below.

I view Measure G-20 as a tool to help us achieve a larger vision that will benefit the entire community. It’s about continuing decades of effort to create a community that ignites creativity, celebrates diversity and spurs innovation.

This vision is eloquently outlined in the fourth revision of the SLO Chamber’s Economic Vision Document, Imagine SLO.

The process of continuously improving SLO, of striving to preserve and enhance a great quality of life, began as a bipartisan effort decades ago. It has involved hard work by hundreds of community-minded business and civic leaders from all walks of life and all parts of the political spectrum.

This work has accomplished much. To name a few achievements:

– Establishing Leadership SLO to build a diverse network of connected leaders countywide.

– The development of the SLO airport as the county’s transportation hub, which now provides many direct flights throughout the West;

– The viability of the airport-area annexation plan, which has provided land for business expansion and workforce housing.

– The preservation and expansion of the green belt of city-owned public open spaces and viable agricultural land that establishes SLO as a unique community with separation from other cities.

Measure G-20 is one small but important part of striving to fulfill an ambitious vision. A vote against G-20 at this time would have a much higher opportunity cost than its opponents realize or would have voters believe.

Now, not later: Opponents argue that now is not the time because businesses are hurting. Indeed, many are. But Beacon Economics has told us that the current economic downturn, while serious, is very different from past recessions in that the resources exist for the economy to recover quickly. And contrary to opponents’ claims, there is no evidence that such a small sales tax increase has ever hurt a community’s business environment, especially considering that Measure G-20 will keep our sales tax rate in line with regional competitors, and lower than many cities across the state.

The defunding if G-20 fails: Measure G-20 will support appropriate police reform, including more support for mental health and homeless services, and it will prevent reckless defunding proposals.

But defunding is exactly what will happen if Measure G fails. During these times, the city simply cannot decrease sales tax to an outdated 2005 level without drastic cuts in public safety, parks and green belt expansion, childcare and senior programs, street maintenance and other vital services.

For me, Measure G-20 is a way of asking each of us what we see in the mirror. Do we see ourselves as a community of people who work together from across the region to tackle shared challenges, drive economic growth and preserve our natural resources? Or do we want to take pride in how efficiently we cut our budget, in having fewer police officers per capita than another community, slower response times to emergencies and little ability to help the embarrassing number of our fellow citizens who are unhoused and ill-treated?

As a community, we are rightly proud of San Luis Obispo’s extraordinary quality of life. This is no accident. It’s the product of our collective strength, compassion and resiliency, and it requires our continuous investment.

Please join me in investing in our future. Please vote YES on Measure G-20.

Jeff Buckingham is best known as a leader in the local telecommunication industry and a community volunteer. The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce named him citizen of the year in 2018.


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robdadbod

We’ve already done this, Jeff.


We have already wisely purchased greenspace and have clear “separation from other cities.”


We have an “embarrassing” homeless problem but just completed a magnificent brand-new facility we voted to pay for.


We have nationally acceptable first responder response times.


Our natural resources are not being threatened and expanded with the Pismo Preserve’s acceptance, and our Parks and Rec people are doing a great job already.


The airport area and new airport did provide great benefits; we already voted to pay for that. The colorful FOR LEASE signs notwithstanding, it’s been a great benefit that we already accepted to pay for.


“Defunding to an outdated 2005 level without drastic cuts in public safety, parks and green belt expansion, childcare and senior programs, street maintenance, and other vital services.”

-We already have some of the best programs in the state that we already voted to vote for last time. We’re not asking to defund; we’re asking the city to do what we do- live within their means.


-We do want our city to take pride in how they handle our budget. – Totally with you on that one, though, Jeff.


-I’m with Michael A…just called it a tax to pay our out of control and increasing pensions.


Michael A.

Just call it a pension tax. That’s what it is, a pension tax. The result of collusion between politicians and public employee unions. Citizens of California are being held hostage because of this collusion. Californian’s need to smartin’ up. Is it possible? hmmmmmmm


Gordo

“I view Measure G-20 as a tool to help us achieve a larger vision that will benefit the entire community. It’s about continuing decades of effort to create a community that ignites creativity, celebrates diversity and spurs innovation.”


Really? A tax is going to do all of that? I call bullshit Mr. Telecommunication salesman. Jeff, a good salesman can sell anything and your pitch for the highest taxed people in the nation to “pay a little more for utopia” is like trying to convince an Eskimo he needs an ice maker in his igloo to keep his drinks cold…


Measure G-20 will fall victim to the old public sector shell game. G-20 money comes into a budget for a particular program or city department and an equal amount of funding (from the city general fund) comes out and is diverted to somebody’s pet project or slush fund.


Don’t buy Jeff’s sales pitch and vote No on G-20.


Kalifornia_Bud

Complete waste of taxpayer money. Stop the unbelievable salaries of the Govt. employees and their ridiculous pensions and benefits. Let get real people, these Govt. employees don’t really benefit us, they only benefit themselves.