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Supervisors Add Sales Tax Increase to Ballot

Residents will be voting in November whether or not to increase sales tax by half a cent, for the next 10 years.

San Mateo County voters will decide in November whether to increase the sales tax by one-half percent on all retail purchases made in the county.

If approved, the sales tax increase would raise approximately $60 million each year for the county's General Fund and would be in effect for 10 years. In a four-to-one vote, the Board of Supervisors today approved an ordinance that will place the tax measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Supervisor who co-sponsored the measure with Board president , said that the money raised by the new tax would be used to preserve vital public safety and health care services that have been severely cut due to countywide budget shortfalls, a sluggish economy and dwindling funding from the state. Looming additional cuts would be devastating to low-income children, fire protection in unincorporated areas, and emergency room services at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Horsley said.

"I think this is a very vital time for us to make the case to the voters," he said. Tissier warned that the great quality of life enjoyed by San Mateo County residents was beginning to erode, and that funds raised by an increased sales tax would help to maintain the parks and programs that make the county such a wonderful place to live.

"We're going to have to take it upon ourselves to provide that funding," she said. Supervisor , who cast the one dissenting vote against the measure, said that a half-cent sales tax would hurt local businesses and disproportionately impact low-income residents. Pine suggested that a one-quarter cent sales tax would be more likely to pass, and that -- combined with other growing revenues -- could prevent further cuts to vital services.

Supervisor , who said this was "the single most difficult issue and vote" that she had faced in her career as an elected official, voted to support the measure despite having opposed tax measures in the past.

"These are different times and we have made some very serious and severe cuts in this county," she said. The tax measure will need a simple majority to pass.

--Bay City News

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Gregory July 25, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Ugh. Just say no to salex tax.
Larry July 25, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Don't stop spending, just raise taxes. That will work for sure right? It's not a spending issue, it's an income issue. Right? So go ahead and raise the sales tax rate! How about giving the board a pay raise while we are at it.

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