I urge you to vote YES on Richmond Measures C & D on the June 7 ballot.
Measure D will increase the City's sales tax rate by ½% resulting in an estimated $5.9 mm in additional revenue necessary to maintain the City's existing service levels. Because the State of California sales tax that increased by 1% in April 2009 will sunset July 1, 2011, if Measure D passes, the sales taxes in Richmond will actually be reduced by ½%.
Sales taxes are not regressive taxes. The basics of life, food (including animal feed, seeds, plants and fertilizer), health services, prescribed medicines, utilities, public transportation, rent and mortgages are not taxed. For a complete list, see http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/pub61.pdf.
Measure C is a non-binding advisory measure that relates to, but is separate from, Measure D. This measure allows voters to advise the City Council on how to use the revenues of the new sales tax if it is approved. Specifically, if approved this measure would advise the City Council that the revenues of the new sales tax should be spent ½ on City programs to restore services to the poor that have been cut due to State takeaways, and ½ on School District programs in Richmond to restore educational services and programs that have been eliminated due to State takeaways. Because this measure is advisory, its passage would not legally require the City to spend the revenues as described in the measure. Instead, the measure would advise the City Council that the voters prefer that the new revenues be spent as described above.
As the State continues to take-away funding that has paid for critical local services and our local schools, we must take action to protect our community. That is why, through a unanimous vote of the city council, Measure D has been placed on the ballot.
Measure D will enable our community to fund services that have been undermined due to state takeaways. These include:
- Senior Citizen Services that aid in mobility and independence
- School Programs that keep class sizes down and reduce disciplinary problems
- Job Training that helps the unemployed in Richmond find real and valuable work
- Social Services that Richmond's children and poor rely on for everyday survival
Measure D is our community's opportunity to protect the citizens of Richmond from the budget crisis that is devastating other cities and the State. Because community leaders have acted together, and have been able to take quick action, Measure D funding is only for the Richmond community.
Measure D funding is protected from future State takeaways, and will ensure that those services in Richmond that we depend upon will survive and be available to the People of Richmond.
In these times of budget crisis, very few other communities have this chance to protect local services.
Measure C recommends that funding generated through emergency Measure D is used in the following areas:
1) To fund vital services for the residents of Richmond that have been cut due to budget takeaways. These could include Senior Citizen Services; Job Training Programs; and Social Services in Richmond for children and those least able to protect themselves.
2) To fund critical programs for WCCUSD schools in Richmond. These could include class-size reduction programs which increases student-teacher interaction in Richmond's schools, and decreases disciplinary problems in later grades; and after-school programs that help Richmond students learn additional skills and kids to stay out of trouble.
Voting YES on Measure C will send a clear statement to the Richmond City Council that services vital to Richmond's residents and to Richmond's schools should be funded. Voting YES on Measure C will send a clear statement to the Richmond City Council that funding should be directed to vital Richmond services and to Richmond's schools, and not to increased salaries and pension programs that should be funded from other areas.
Measure C is about directing funding to local Richmond services and Richmond's schools...not for salaries! Throughout California, other cities are being forced to eliminate critical programs and services. Due to the emergency measures taken by the Richmond City Council through a unanimous vote, the citizens of Richmond have an opportunity to protect and direct funding that would otherwise be unavailable to our community.
In addition to the entire Richmond City Council, Measures C and D are endorsed by:
- Bill Lindsay, Richmond City Manager
- Roxanne Brown-Garcia, Kennedy High School Principal
- Bruce Harter, West Contra Costa Unified School District Superintendent
For more information, see http://www.smartvoter.org/2011/06/07/ca/cc/meas/C/ and http://www.smartvoter.org/2011/06/07/ca/cc/meas/D/.
Support Richmond Public Schools
RPA urges YES on C & D
Why does the RPA urge Richmond voters to support this increase in the regressive sales tax?
The fundamental problem here is that the state's tax structure protects the wealthy at the expense of services needed by the rest of us. As a result the state government is currently cutting various programs for both the schools and the city. These cuts will hit poor and working families the hardest. The schools are the center of our community. The schools train our kids to be citizens. The schools determine the ability of our kids to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. We have to minimize our children's suffering even while we fight the battle to reform the tax structure.
The state has left the city with no progressive way to raise money. Proposition 26 on last year's ballot now requires a 2/3 vote on "fees" and other kinds of local taxes effectively blocking them.
Therefore we have no choice but to take care of necessities by using the sales tax. Measure D raises the sales tax in Richmond 1/2%. But if we must use a regressive tax we can at least make sure that the money raised goes disproportionately to the needs of those who have already been disadvantaged by the system. That is why the council made a commitment that 1/2 of the tax increase goes to Richmond schools and the other 1/2 to be used by the city to help counter some of the impact of the state cuts in programs. Proposition C on the ballot is an advisory measure asking Richmond citizens to go on record for these priorities.
The fact that we have no choice on this tax does not mean that we support proposed regressive sales and other taxes at the state level. We emphatically do not. At the state level there is a clear alternative: reform the tax system to restore some fairness. Increase the income tax on the top 1%. End the corporate property tax loopholes in Proposition 13. Establish an oil severance tax in California.
We will not get tax relief or fix the system until we make major reforms in our tax structure at the state and the Federal Level. We have to join in that fight(see the article on the Teacher campaign in Sacramento).
But while we are making the fight for tax reform, we have to democratically protect our own. We have to defend our schools. That is why we must support Measures C and D on the June ballot.
The schools hold our future
Vote Yes on C and D