As Tehama County posts online information concerning the proposed Measure G one cent sales tax increase which will be on the March 3 election ballot, others in the county are pushing their own campaign against the Measure.
The Measure G online information online can be located at the Tehama County website, www.co.tehama.ca.us/. The website provides a Measure G fact sheet, frequently asked questions and the resolution approved by the Tehama County Board of Supervisors which placed the Measure on the ballot.
According to the fact sheet, the purpose of the proposed one cent sales tax increase is to maintain services paid for by the county’s general fund, such as viable safety response, essential county services, a full service library, and recreational opportunities. It is anticipated the proposed tax increase would generate $7.9 million for the county coffers.
The fact sheet states in the projected 2020/21 fiscal year general fund expenses there is $4 million in unfunded cost for public safety and general staffing levels in the county, plus an additional $2.7 million needed to operate the yet-to-be built 64 bed jail facility. County administration is hopeful Measure G would close that gap.
If Measure G fails, the county says there is the potential that about 50 public safety and other county position will have to be eliminated, there will be a reduction in alternatives to incarceration, reduction in ability to address illegal marijuana activities, services to veterans, juvenile hall will be closed and youths sent to out-of-county facilities, limit jail capacity, reduction in park and public facilities maintenance, closure of library branches, and less county business hours.
The Measure G frequently asked question sheet states the reason for the county’s funding deficit is due to minimum wage increase, PERS unfunded liability, and the increase of convicted criminals to the county from the state due to AB109. In addition, the county says it is dealing with increased costs due to the jail expansion, increased code enforcement, district attorney workload and labor contract negotiations.
Because the measure is a general vote and not a specific measure vote, the county is not permitted to describe exactly how the funding would be used and, if passed by voters, the use of the addition in funds will be up to the discretion of the Board of Supervisors.
Scope of proposed Measure G tax increase includes the cities of Corning, Red Bluff and Tehama, and would be for a period of 10 years.
The group of concerned county residents who are actively opposing Measure G have had rallies in both Corning and Red Bluff, and have posted a Facebook page with their own set of facts relating to the measure.
Robert Halpin of Red Bluff, one of the leaders of the movement, said in a Letter to the Editor the proposed tax will increase the price of consumer goods.
“Measure G one percent sales tax is bad for business,” he states, “because the added tax burden results in consumers having less disposable income resulting in fewer goods purchased.”
He adds that the proposed tax would be an unnecessary burden to low-income residents while benefiting the high-income population.
“The tax measure to a blatant attempt by local government officials to circumvent the two-thirds vote requirement for special taxes and the state accountability laws designed to ensure that taxes imposed for specific purposes are spent as intended,” Halpin said.
The Tehama County Deputy Sheriff’s Association said on its Facebook page it “will not support a sales tax increase unless those funds are dedicated to a cause. The County claims that in the last year it has gone from being fiscally healthy to nearly $8 million dollars in the red, that is a sign of severe mismanagement.”
A town hall meeting is being planned by Supervisor Candy Carlson to talk about Measure G, 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, in the Tuscan Room at the Administration Building, 727 Oak St. in Red Bluff.