San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has used a yearly poll to gauge how residents view various budget solutions. After years of cuts, the most recent poll shows that voters are warming to the idea of a tax increase.
In the past five years, the city has added more than 45,000 residents, cut services, and laid off employees. However, the city’s per-capita revenues have dropped from $768 to $726 per person. That fall in revenue amounts to $41 million per year that the city doesn’t have to spend.
However, taxes weren’t the only solution that was supported by the poll’s respondents. Cuts and reductions to services and city employee payroll still polled strongly.
Two ideas being floated by City Council Woman Nancy Pyle would call for either a quarter- or half-cent sales tax increase. Those plans could raise $35 to $70 million per year. However, those efforts could be hampered by an already approved tax that is set to kick in next month and the Governor’s tax proposal that would raise sales taxes by half a cent statewide.
From the Mercury News:
Despite the economic slump, San Jose reaps more revenue today than it did a decade ago when it had a much larger workforce serving fewer residents.
But as they confront an 11th straight budget deficit, many city leaders say new taxes are needed, and they are weighing a host of possible measures to put before voters in November — even though revenue from the sales tax they’re most keen on raising has been on the rise the past three years.
The tax debate continues at Tuesday’s meeting. Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilwoman Nancy Pyle want the city in June — after Reed’s pension reform measure goes to voters — to consider polling to test the appetite for new sales and business taxes and a bond measure to fund road repairs.
Read the full article here.