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Should your Measure B sales tax dollars be invested or spent?


By JD Miller, CPA

5/2/12

 

The City of Vallejo started collecting additional sales tax dollars approved by Measure B in April. Whether or not you voted for this additional tax, it’s your tax dollars. Over the next 10 years, the City expects to collect $10 million a year, a total of more than $100 million, from you and me, your family and your friends and neighbors.

The City is now deciding how to spend your money. What would you like to get for the $100 million the City is going to collect from you?

 

Here are three options as to how the City could spend your money and what you could get for it at the end of the 10 years. Which would you prefer:

  1. A City with thriving businesses that are providing you and your family with good paying job opportunities while paying their share of City taxes.
  2. Your money spent. You have a pile of paid bills, but you and your grandkids don’t owe anything else.
  3. Your money spent. You have a pile of paid bills, and the City still owes additional millions of dollars a year for the rest of you grandchildren’s lives?

Isn’t it a choice of investing your tax dollars wisely or spending your tax dollars and having little to show after 10years and $100 million?

Investing your tax dollars wisely seeds growth that will create the Vallejo you want to see over the next 10 years and beyond, with your tax dollars paying you back after the end of the 10 years.

Just spending your tax dollars as the City has in the past leads you to where Vallejo is today: choosing between cuts in service because the money stopped coming in or asking you for another tax increase.

Here’s a way to help you make your decision. Look 10 years down the road. What do you want to see after the City has collected the last of the $100 million Measure B dollars from you?

  1. A City with thriving businesses that are providing you and your family with good paying job opportunities while paying their share of City taxes.
  2. A City not much different than it is today.

After 10 years, options 2 and 3 above will bring you back to where the City is today. That’s the result of little or no investment in future economic development. These options continue the same spending habits that got Vallejo into bankruptcy. This is spending with no investing. After the end of 10 years, your City Council will have to decide whether to cut services again or ask you to pay another tax.

On the other hand, after 10 years of option 1, with your $100 million in Measure B money invested in a well thought out 10 year plan that includes economic development, Vallejo could be changed in wonderful ways. This economic development could be providing more than an additional $10 million a year after 10 years.

Option 1 would still provide for investing in your streets and in public safety, but in ways that will support attracting and supporting thriving businesses that would provide you and your family with good paying job opportunities while paying their share of City taxes so that you don’t have to keep paying this additional Measure B tax.

So, what do you want for your tax money?

  1. Option 1, you invest for 10 years, you stop paying, and your investments start paying you, forever.
  2. Options 2 and 3, after 10 years, you continue to pay and pay and pay with no end in sight.

All three options will cost you $100 million. Only option 1 will pay you back because you invested your $100 million in a 10 year plan that was designed to pay you back.