SANDAG sales tax

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — There could be nine separate tax increases on the November ballot, including SANDAG’S ballot measure to increase the sales tax from eight to eight and a half percent.

SANDAG had wanted this increase in 2008, 2010 and 2012, but backed off fearing it couldn’t get a two-thirds vote. What has changed?

Getting two-thirds of the voters to pass a tax increase in tax averse, San Diego is a steep climb, especially now when incomes and wages are stagnant.

But we are out of the recession.

According to SANDAG’S Board Chairman, Ron Roberts, a lot has changed since 2008. Everybody wasn’t on board to get a two-thirds vote.

"What we’re seeing is widespread support for something that will improve public transportation, improve our roads and do a host of other things that need doing," Roberts said.

On July 8, SANDAG will finalize it’s ballot measure for the tax increase for spending $18 billion over the next 40 years for highway projects, transit, open spaces and bike paths.

We can no longer rely on transportation funds from the state or the feds. Roberts said we have to do it locally.

"We’re living in a world now, without those dollars, we’re not going to be able to do those things, there will be decades before they’re going to be realized and it’s things we want to see right now such as highway 78, … such as a north/south trolley line, these are things I think are extremely important to our community," Roberts said.

"Money that you think that Caltrans should be funding really comes from these SANDAG initiatives and what that money does is it brings additional federal highway funding investment and transportation,matching funds," said Imperial Beach mayor, Serge Dedina.

In addition to regional improvements, Mayor Dedina said all cities in the county will get a share of these annual funds.

"The purple line from San Ysidro to Kearny Mesa, so all the little things and big things that make a difference in improving our quality of life through infrastructure investments would really be added with this ballot measure," he said.

It’s a tax increase so there will be opposition from the anti-tax advocates and environmentalists who said highway improvements will bring more pollution.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is opposed to tax increases in general, and this one in particular because it doesn’t confirm to the city’s Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions.

"This will go a long ways toward assisting the city in realizing their goals without this the city doesn’t have a chance, there’s no question of that in my mind," Roberts said.

This issue has split the political leadership at both the county and city. Without consensus, there’s little chance of getting a two-thirds vote.

Categories: Local San Diego News