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

October 18, 2020

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.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Reimagine this- learn to live within your budgets like everyone else.

Anything into the general fund=no guarantees.

Jeff is drinking some strong Kool-Aid.

Nope, not at all. I see a new bucket of cash just itching to be spent on select groups, new committees and high salaries/pensions promising more pie in the sky drivel. I’d listen if the new monies were strictly earmarked for specific projects and areas decided upon prior to the election. No way will I support a new permanent tax based on the promise “We’ll do good things with this money, honest!”


i wonder if Buckingham could please delineate specifically how much taxpayer money went to each of the projects he listed. I think it’s laughable the he’s claiming local tax money made the airport expansion possible. That came through federal grant monies, sir!

And Leadership SLO is entirely a Chamber thing — has nothing to do with sales tax.

Yet another reason to boycott leftist SLO

Sorry Jeff,

I don’t buy into your fluff. When considerations are made to raise taxes, we the taxpayers always have a rosy picture painted for us by those wanting to raise our taxes. Take for instance the tax hikes at the pump. The $$ were purportedly going to be directed at our crumbling infrastructure/highways. Sure. Haven’t seen much going on that tells me it’s happening.

Anyhow, politicians know that human beings have very short attention spans [like sheep], and use it to their ungodly advantage. They say, “We will put this tax increase to great use in making our community a better place”, just as you have pretty much stated here. I call BS!

I say NO on G-20. I grew up in SLO and what used to be is no longer due to the corruption of our elected officials. ‘Progressivism/Liberalism’ is a cancer.

Liar, Liar, Pants on fire!

This guy is not a libertarian, he clearly leans toward socialist.

He cites a scare tactic of defunding the police. How about we DEFUND BUREAUCRATS!

Notice if you will how Jeff overlooks the extreme pay and benefits packages the local SLO City Government overlords already have in his argument to give them more. No talk of cuts, only a misguided plea for more tax money from the surfs to feed the ever growing and expanding SLO City Government.

We hear the same pleas for every tax increase along with a promise of innovation, diversity and improved City Government, but it’s always a Blue Mirage. The promised land of leftist Utopia just over the horizon if we only agree to pay more taxes never seems to materialize. Housing never gets cheaper and the quality of life doesn’t get better. If only working families will dig deeper into their already stretched budget to fund the exorbitant salaries and benefits of the Ruling Class, their version of Trickle Down Economics from the Government down to the citizens will come to pass.

We have heard these promises before and have all been burned by the result. The question is this time, will the voters of SLO City finally say enough to the empty Prosperity Gospel of higher taxes to fund higher salaries and benefits to City Staff and the Ruling Elite or will they finally say the Emperor has no clothes and demand an end to the Status Quo of Government waste and inefficiency?

NEVER vote for more taxes – NEVER! It’s a simple policy which is the right choice 99.99 % of the time. After being burned for years and years, the public cannot trust any politician who’s begging for more taxes. These are the same people that run for office crying that they’ll provide more funding for POLICING and PUBLIC SAFETY, and bla, bla, bla. Then decide in their next breath that all that’s wrong and defunding the same police department is what must be done. What does this tell you? Do I even need to mention how apparently no amount of additional tax money has any effect on improving the abilities of our school kids? Where is all that money going? Vote NO on higher sales tax!

Speak Truth, and don’t forget the tricky wording on the G ballot. The measure on the ballot doesn’t mention that it’s a sales tax. No kidding! Voters who don’t research it will have no clue a tax is involved. This city has no honor left to resort to such trickery. But Jeff, what about you? Is winning so important to you that tricking voters to win is OK? Please answer this because I don’t know how any person with integrity can back the city on this.

1 2 3 4