Saturday, November 5, 2016
To the Editor:
If you haven’t voted yet, please vote NO on “Shoreline Proposition 1,” a double-digit local property tax increase. Some people (including the entire City Council) claim that without this tax increase the city won’t be able to continue providing services. There are threats of service cuts. They are baseless. I served on the committee that was designed to rubber-stamp city staff’s recommendations. I was one of only two committee members to research the city’s claims, and one of two dissidents; that is no coincidence.
The scare tactics being used in the “pro-tax” campaign are based on phony numbers. In fact, one of those phony numbers got shot down by the County Assessor less than two weeks before the City Council vote; if that hadn’t happened we’d be talking about a tax increase that’s 50% larger than the one on the ballot!
The proposed levy lid lift means a 15% increase in local property taxes for most homeowners (somewhat smaller for others). And this tax increase would be permanent – all future tax increases would be based on the new, higher tax bills. Note that the “levy rate” the pro-tax people talk about is meaningless by itself; only the size of your tax bill matters. In fact, the levy rate went down this year, but taxes rose because property values rose faster.
What’s more, the city is also talking about raising the car tab fee and instituting a new Business and Occupancy (B/O) tax – even on top of this tax increase. Their thirst for new and higher taxes seems to know no limit.
In short, this is a double-digit, permanent, and completely unnecessary property tax increase. All these reasons are why I urge a NO vote on Shoreline Proposition 1.