Endorsements

CO$T Endorses Toni Shroyer for Supervisor

Kentfield, CA: The Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers — a nonprofit non-partisan advocacy group protecting the rights and interests of Marin taxpayers – recommends voting FOR Toni Shroyer, candidate for Marin County Board of Supervisors District 5 (Novato).

CO$T’s leadership group unanimously endorses Toni Shroyer for Marin County Supervisor District 5. Here’s why:
CO$T believes Ms. Shroyer will do a superior job of putting taxpayer-voters’ interests first. She understands it is time for the County to live within the means of existing residents. As a realtor, Ms. Shroyer sees many long-time residents driven out by local tax increases they can no longer afford. Toni believes County fiscal discipline is critical to protecting the ability of Marin’s middle class to continue to live here.

Ms. Shroyer is an independent thinker. Expect her to question staff reports and the parochial interests of other supervisors. Not beholden to any special interests, Ms. Shroyer vows to decline donations from any parties with business that requires a Supervisors’ favorable vote.

During the 12 years Shroyer’s opponent has sat as Supervisor, the County’s budget has soared, amid spending priorities that are increasingly out of synch with regular folks’ needs and ability to pay. Meanwhile, Toni’s worked with and for Novato citizens, earning a living, raising a family, and experiencing first-hand the challenges of infrastructure deferrals and cuts in services vital to Novato.

Positive change is imperative! Marin’s current Supervisors almost invariably vote as a unanimous bloc, sometimes contrary to what the majority of their constituents want. Representing constituents often takes a back seat to protecting the institutional status quo and special interests – as was egregiously demonstrated in Supervisors’ vote to squander taxpayer funds on the wildly unpopular purchase of San Geronimo golf course in order to “re-wild” it.

Ms. Shroyer’s opponent, incumbent Judy Arnold, has been Supervisor for 12 years, 12 years of voting for other Supervisors’ pet projects, rather than for the voters’ best interests.  CO$T believes it’s time for a change.
Toni Shroyer’s election will be an important victory for taxpayer-voters throughout Marin.
 
CO$T urges Novato residents to vote for Shroyer, and taxpayer-voters outside District 5 to contribute to her campaign at https://tonishroyer2018.com/
 

For more CO$T election-related positions on tax measures and candidates, visit CostMarin.org

CO$T is hosting the Marin District Attorney Candidate Debate on Thursday May 3 at San Rafael City Council Chambers at 7:00 pm to 9:00. This is a free event and we urge the public to attend.

About CO$T: The Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers advocates on behalf of Marin taxpayers, who deserve a seat at the table. CO$T has over 500 engaged supporters; organizes participation in public hearings; hosts educational events and public forums.

 


The Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers recommends voting YES ON MEASURE G, San Rafael Cannabis Industry Tax.

Overview: CO$T’s Board of Directors gives the thumbs up on Measure G, which imposes a gross receipts tax totaling up to 8% on San Rafael businesses involved in producing, testing, distributing, and selling cannabis. The measure would raise money to oversee this nascent industry, mitigate any impacts and provide additional funding for the City’s priorities.

San Rafael will set the initial tax rates well below the 8% cap for a 2-year period and change them if warranted, at 2-year intervals.

San Rafael’s proposed initial rates are within the ranges of those charged by other California cities.

Relatively Benign: While pension stresses underlie pretty much every new tax and fee, Measure G seems relatively benign in its financial impact on citizens. It is not a sales tax per se, but a tax on the cannabis industry. The money goes into the general fund, though San Rafael says it will use the tax proceeds for administering the program, City safety agencies, and street repairs. CO$T also encourages San Rafael to dedicate a portion of the revenues to substance abuse programs.

Doesn’t sunset, but may adjust: As a general principle, CO$T dislikes new taxes that don’t sunset, as is the case with Measure G. However, we view Measure G as more like a business license fee, which would not be typically tied to any particular use or time frame. Further, San Rafael plans periodic rate adjustments (see below) that are effectively a review of the tax. Measure G is not permanently immutable. It is capped on the upside but not on the downside.

Because cannabis is a commodity, retail prices will be set by market forces. The impact of the City’s tax on the competitive viability of future local San Rafael businesses in the cannabis delivery chain should be monitored by the City to ensure that, once established, those businesses do not become noncompetitive with those in other jurisdictions solely because of the level of the taxes this ordinance would apply. If the tax is too high, San Rafael’s cannabis businesses could fail, which also deprives the city of tax revenues.

Early outreach is a good idea. San Rafael reached out to CO$T to review and express an opinion on Measure G. CO$T greatly appreciates the City’s doing so, as this gave ample time for CO$T to evaluate the tax measure and for the City’s responses to CO$T’s follow-up inquiries. CO$T encourages jurisdictions to initiate even earlier outreach to a wide range of taxpayers and their representatives – e.g., before polling and final design of a tax measure. That helps ensure that future tax measures are optimally configured for both taxpayer-voters and jurisdictions.

 


CO$T’s Board ENDORSES Voting YES on
Corte Madera Measure F (sales tax increase)

The Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers — a nonprofit non-partisan advocacy group protecting the rights and interests of Marin taxpayers – recommends voting YES ON MEASURE F (Corte Madera Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance of 2018).

Costs Corte Madera residents less. Measure F terminates a $98 Storm Drainage Property Tax, replacing it with a ¼ cent increase in the existing ½ cent sales tax. This swap results in a net decrease in Corte Madera residents’ annual taxes, while providing the Town with much-needed additional revenue (from higher non-resident sales tax revenue at malls and other businesses). Non-residents pay about 90% of the Town’s total sales tax.

Infrastructure spending promised. The current Town Council says it will apply much of the revenue to critical infrastructure, such as levees, sidewalks, and roads — all of which are challenged by storm water and rising sea level. Residents must trust that future Councils will continue to direct Measure F funds to infrastructure, as the revenues go into the general fund and can legally be used for any purpose. .

Doesn’t sunset. Large infrastructure projects require a stable long-term revenue stream. Measure F, like many municipal sales tax measures, doesn’t sunset. CO$T would prefer that it did. We believe voter-taxpayers’ best interests are served by each taxing jurisdiction coming back to the voters periodically to affirm spending priorities and seek, if needed, renewal of any tax. That ensures future Town leaders spend wisely. Lack of a sunset date is NOT compensated for by the right of citizen groups to mount a hugely expensive tax recall ballot initiative.

Pension progress. CO$T’s opinion was favorably swayed by Corte Madera’s proactive measures in working with labor groups to lower its pension costs. Pension liabilities’ drain on Corte Madera’s general fund is an underlying cause of this –and pretty much every other jurisdiction’s — add-on tax measure. The alternative is service cuts.

Residents vs. Nonresidents. Non-residents currently contribute about 90% of Corte Madera’s sales tax revenue, by shopping at the Town’s significant retail businesses. Non-residents can’t cast ballots on Measure F. They can vote with their feet by shopping elsewhere (in lower-tax cities or having purchases shipped to their address if it’s in a lower-tax locale). Including state and county-wide sales taxes, Measure F will bring Corte Madera’s total rate to 9.00%.

Kudos on Outreach. CO$T commends Corte Madera Town Council and Town Manager for extensive community outreach and transparency on Measure F. This swayed many constituents and interest groups, as well as members of CO$T’s leadership group.

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