Primary ballot arguments for and against Concord’s Sales Tax increase

Below see the FOR and AGAINST arguments for the Sales Tax Concord increase City Council voted to place on the November ballot. Both were submitted to Maryrae Lehman, Concord City Clerk. Rebuttals for and against these primary arguments are due August 13.

The FOR ARGUMENT was signed by Jeff Krieger of the Concord Police Officer Association; Diane Lorenzetti Concord Seniors; Eizo Kobayashi, Concord Redisdent; Virginia Thoimas, president of the Todos Santos Business Association; and Mayor Guy.

The AGAINST ARGUMENT was signed by Keith McMahon, Business Consultant; Bill Gram-Reefer, Concord Resident; Richard Eber, Concord Business Owner; Richarh Colman, Concord Business Owner, and Richar Soderholm, Concord Resident.


ARGUMENT FOR THE SALES TAX*

Protect Concord, protect our money – Vote Yes on X!

The City provides the services and programs that residents and our community want, need, and deserve. The State has taken $33 million from Concord over the past decade to deal with their own billion dollar problems – stealing our money to balance their budget!

Our local police officers, senior services, after-school program, parks, and streets are the victims of these continued Sacramento money grabs. Concord has been forced to make $18 million in cuts to essential City services. Even with these cuts, Concord will need to cut $5 million more without additional revenue. Concord residents simply can’t afford additional cuts to critical services.

We need Measure X! Measure X provides a protected source of local revenue to prevent further severe cuts.

Yes on X – A local finance measure will give Concord local control over local funds for local needs. No funds can be taken by Sacramento. Let’s keep our money in our community for the things that are important to us!

Yes on X to:
Maintain public safety including police officers, neighborhood police patrols, gang prevention, investigation programs, and 911 emergency response times
Support youth and teen crime prevention/gang intervention programs and officers at local high schools
Maintain streets and pothole repair
Maintain parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields
Fund senior services and nutrition programs

Measure X includes strict accountability provisions including independent citizens oversight, a 5 year sunset, mandatory financial audits, and yearly reports to the community to ensure the funds are spent as promised for community priorities. By law, all funds from Measure X must stay in Concord for local services.

Please join Police Officers, Business Owners, Seniors, Parents, and Neighbors—Vote YES on X—to keep our quality community financially stable.

ARGUMENT AGAINST THE SALES TAX

Vote against Concord’s sales tax increase.
 
The Concord City Council wants to increase its local sales tax by 1/2-cent—a 67% increase!—on all taxable items. In 2009, our sales tax jumped from 8.25% to 9.25%. And just a year later, in the midst of a deep recession, Concord City Council says we must pay even more!
 
Concord presents a false choice between cutting programs or raising taxes. Revenue from this tax increase will not go to youth or senior services. Instead, revenue will be used to support:
  
- 154 Concord employees who, in 2009, earned $100,000 or more, plus generous benefits and pensions far beyond the average in the private sector.

- 103 of these are police officers who earn $100,000 or more, can retire at 50, and pay little or nothing toward million-dollar+ pensions.
 
With furlough days and other compensation, Concord has proven it can reduce some staffing by 18 days (7%) without missing a beat. Yet Concord tells us it must raise our taxes instead. Meanwhile, on June 29, 2010, Council negotiated no layoffs for one union, and a 3% pay raise, for 2011, for those at the highest pay grade!
 
Concord’s proposed sales-tax increase will kill jobs and hurt business. It burdens Concord’s poor and seniors on fixed income, while encouraging residents to shop elsewhere.
 
During a recession with real unemployment in California approaching 17.5%, everyone in our community has had to sacrifice. Everyone must pitch in. While some union concessions have been made, Concord still must cut more spending. 

In these tough times, we all must live within our means. It is not fair that Concord ask taxpayers to further support unsustainable staffing levels, employee salaries, benefits, and pension costs.

Vote NO on Concord’s Sales Tax increase

* The ballot designation has not been assigned by the County at this writing.

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Comments

  1. Richard S. Colman says

    Grab your wallet. Some people in Concord want a higher sales tax. In March 2009, the sales tax, in Concord, on a $40,000 car was $3,300. If Concord’s sales tax goes to 9.75%, that same car will carry a $3,900 sales tax — a whopping $600 increase! Concord’s city govermment costs too much. It’s time to privatize city services. It costs Concord about $200,000 a year to hire one policeman. A private securty guard would cost $50,000 annually. Vote NO on the sales-tax increase.

    Richard Colman
    Biomed Inc.
    Concord, CA
    Aug. 7, 2010

  2. jason says

    No City employee should make $100,000.00. Concord can’t keep business from leaving or encourage new business from coming if the taxes here are higher. We have a lot of abandon homes and stores here. We have alot of non profits and federal groups who don’t pay taxes. We have a lot of low income houses “homes for humanity ect.

    Seriously the plan is to tax the empty houses and the low income people to pay $100000.00 salary

  3. Joe Anonymous says

    Well written No on Tax X!!
    Kept to the facts without resorting to the pseudopsycho mumbo jumbo like the Yes side, constantly repeating Yes on X, maintain this and support that. And that blaming Sac and woo is Concord, BS.

  4. Polly says

    Truly they must have been slammed with a tight word limit. I feel like writing a rebuttal to both sides.
    The underlining issue for me is the leadership. I have tremendous frustration with it. It is the decisions and background that got us to this point. Priorities of giving people retroactive pensions, 90K termination packages while closing down local police sub stations does not give the public confidence in giving more money here. Additionally the constant harping on these hot button items gets to the point of crying wolf while things like the golf course and basic subsidies for recreation are left alone. Then there is the creditability issue of once again saying that the senior nutritional community meal will be cut when at Council meetings on June 22 they all repeated again and again that no one was going to cut the senior nutritional meal, yet here it is once again.
    However, if there is a successful change of leadership then having the tax would provide some cover and time to undo the structural problems in costs that are mentioned. The signed contracts and systemic bindings with them does not make it quick to restructure.
    Financial Forecasting Creditability is also a real problem when every projection for the past handful of years has proven very wrong and the future is predicated on a ‘conservative’ projection that has probably as much a chance of being correct as the past 9 quarters. So if things do go down more the tax gives us some time to slow the collapse. However there is the problem that these taxes are addictive to civil service run budgets.
    It is also a little off base to launch an attack on the basis of comparison with the private sector and then go to the police who really do not have a private sector comparison. Their rates are rather ‘market driven’ by competing with what other places offer. The retirement at 50 was a negotiated position and the current agreement from last June indicates that if there is a change on a state level then they will create a new tier with the new rates. The real question is what is the immediate impact now and what flexibility does the city to change it. In the next 12 months the city has no flexibility to change it since they have a 3 year deal with the cops. So scream as you may their retirement programs are not what is crushing the General Fund right now.

    In the end it may come down to the first aspect: if the same sort of leadership mentality is in place then forget this tax it is a waste. If there is a substantial change away from those currently in the system including the clones in the Planning Commission or School Administrators, then there may be hope that the funds will work.