Thursday, May 8, 2008
If Pacific Grove voters approve Measure U on June 3, the city’s sales tax will creep up from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent. The city is billing the hike as a means to maintain essential services such as public safety, street maintenance, youth programs and parks.
Fair Share P.G., a political action committee that aims to foster discussion of the city’s fiscal problems and potential solutions, hosted a coffee shop talk on the tax measure April 21. About 50 P.G. residents attended, including Mayor Dan Cort and several City Council members.
Speaking against the measure was resident David Henderson, an economics professor at the Naval Postgraduate School and research fellow at conservative think tank The Hoover Institution.
The city plans to give police a pay raise, Henderson notes, at a time when the city has slashed services to balance its budget. The anti-tax advocate says he’s “stunned” city leaders put a 1-percent sales tax increase on the June ballot after voters rejected a half-percent increase last November. “We have very little reason to be confident they’re going to use the money well,” he says.
But former city council member Susan Goldbeck supports the hike, saying it’s important to raise revenue for public safety, the library and infrastructure repair. “We have a wonderful town here,” she says, “and if we want to keep it that way, we need to put our little ship of state right by having a consistent and dependable source of income.”
Fair Share doesn’t intend to take a position on the measure, says founding member Carmelita Garcia. “We’re keeping it wide open for anybody and everybody.”