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Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Measure Q
Transactions and Use Tax
City of Concord

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 18250 / 54.34% Yes votes ...... 15332 / 45.66% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 30 11:25am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (65/65)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To provide funding that cannot be taken by the State and help protect/maintain Concord's city services, including 911 emergency response times, police officers, gang prevention, crime investigation, neighborhood police patrols, city streets/pothole repair, senior services and nutrition programs, youth/teen programs, and other general city services shall the City of Concord enact a half-cent sales tax for 5 years, with citizens oversight, mandatory financial audits, reports to the community, and all funds staying local?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
The City Council has placed before the voters the question whether to approve an ordinance enacting a temporary transactions and use tax within the City of Concord. The tax rate would be one-half of one percent (0.50%) of the retail sales price, or one-half cent for an item that costs one dollar. The tax would remain in effect for five years. A full copy of the ordinance text is printed in these ballot materials.

Currently, the tax on retail sales in Concord is 9.25% of the purchase price. The City receives 0.75%. The remainder goes to the State (7.25%), Contra Costa County (0.25%), the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (0.50%), and BART (0.50%). Effective April 2, 2009, the State increased the sales tax rate by 1%. That increase is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2011.

Technically, the existing "sales tax" is a combination of "sales and use tax" and "transactions and use tax." Both are levied on the sale or use of tangible personal property sold at retail, with certain limited exceptions. Retailers collect the tax at the time of sale and remit the funds to the State Board of Equalization, which administers the tax.

This measure would authorize a 0.50% transactions and use tax, which would increase the total sales tax rate to 9.75%. Of that total amount, 1.25% would be deposited in the City's general fund and be available to support the full range of municipal services. Because this measure does not legally restrict the use of tax revenue to any specific purposes, it is classified as a "general tax," not a "special tax." The tax proceeds may be used for any valid municipal government purpose, including but not limited to police services, street maintenance and repair, and senior and youth programs.

The tax would automatically terminate five years after it becomes operative, unless extended by the voters. If the State allows its 1% increase to expire in 2011, the total sales tax rate in the City would be reduced to 8.75%. After termination of the tax established by this measure, the total sales tax rate would be further reduced to 8.25%.

This measure requires the City's independent auditors to prepare a publicly available report on the collection, management and expenditure of revenue from the tax. Additionally, it requires the City Council to appoint an oversight committee consisting of at least five members of the public to review and report on the receipt of revenue and expenditure of funds from the tax. The committee's report and recommendations must be a matter of public record and must be considered by the Council at a public meeting as part of the annual budget process.

A "Yes" vote is a vote in favor of the tax. A "No" vote is a vote against the tax. This measure will be approved if it receive a simple majority of "Yes" votes.

DATED: August 6, 2010

Craig Labadie
City Attorney

 
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Arguments For Measure Q Arguments Against Measure Q
Protect Concord, protect our money + Vote Yes on Q!

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 Q! Measure Q provides a protected source of local revenue to prevent further severe cuts.

Yes on Q - 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 Q 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 Q 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 Q must stay in Concord for local services.

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

Concord Police Association
Jeff Krieger, Executive Board

Diane Lorenzetti Concord Seniors

Eizo Kobayashi Concord Resident

Todos Santos Business Association Virginia Thomas, President

Guy Bjerke Mayor

Rebuttal to Arguments For
REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE Q

Defeat Measure Q

Proponents of Measure Q can only sell their sales tax increase by misleading voters and promoting scare tactics.

They say, "Sacramento took our money!" But the City Manager and Mayor have denied this claim. Yet, proponents still blame Sacramento while ignoring City Council's lack of financial discipline and independence from special interests.

Council, not Sacramento, is responsible for recent promises of no-layoffs, back-door 3% wage increases for the highest paid, and millions in unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities.

Instead of cutting spending, Council made sure Measure Q cannot be rescinded, even if the economy improves. Meanwhile, Council hands out $90,000 going away gifts and subsidizes a golf course while cutting neighborhood policing.

Council is responsible for labor costs that dominate the City budget (70%+). 154 employees take more than $100,000, plus generous benefits. Despite Council claims of deep cuts, these unsustainable costs remain virtually untouched!

Instead of reducing bureaucracy, Council holds hostage programs for seniors, recreation, and youth, unless a tax increase is passed. Given its record--like Bell, CA--Council is more likely to fund government salaries, benefits, and pensions, instead of services for the poor and elderly, who will be hit hardest by this tax.

A tax increase means more lost jobs and foreclosures, while illustrating Council's feckless leadership. Instead of raising taxes, City Council must make the necessary cuts to balance the budget instead of asking voters to bail out special interests.

Defeat Measure Q

Richard Soderholm Concord Resident

Keith McMahon Business Consultant

Richard S. Colman Concord Business Owner

Bill Gram-Reefer Concord Resident

Richard J. Eber Concord Business Owner

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.

Richard S. Colman Concord Business Owner

Keith McMahon Business Consultant

Richard J. Eber Concord Business Owner

Richard Soderholm Concord Resident Bill Gram-Reefer Concord Resident

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Vote Yes on Q to prevent even more severe cuts to the vital services we all need.

Never believe confusing arguments. Opponents are using bad math and funny figures to scare you. The FACTS speak for themselves:

FACT: Concord has cut $18 million in essential City services.

FACT: Strict fiscal stewardship and cutting 25% of the workforce have balanced the budget. ALL Concord employees, including police, have taken significant salary and benefit cuts.

FACT: Additional cuts will be to the bone! Without Measure Q, Concord needs to cut $5 million more -- including severe cuts to public safety, youth programs, street maintenance, and senior services.

Our community will LOSE:

  • Downtown and school police officers
  • Neighborhood patrols
  • All crossing guards
  • Youth after-school/summer programs
  • Street/pothole repairs
  • Senior nutrition services

Measure Q means the community monitors City finances with independent oversight, mandatory audits, and yearly reports ensuring all Measure Q money goes directly to local services.

Measure Q is just a penny -- a bargain to support local critical services! It's not levied on food/medicine and expires in 5 years.

Unfortunately, Sacramento has used Concord to fund their bail-out, taking $33 million over ten years to deal with the State deficit! We can't afford to pay for the State's problems.

Yes on Q will give Concord local control over local funds for local needs and provides protected, reliable revenue to prevent cuts.

We need Measure Q to maintain our community and safety + Vote Yes on Q.

Beri Kasper, CPA Concord Business Owner

Concord Police Association Jeff Krieger, Executive Board

Thomas Wentling Treasurer, City of Concord

Todos Santos Business Association Virginia Thomas, President

William Shinn Concord Councilmember/Sheriff's Commander (Retired)


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