The Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers is endorsing the countywide wildfire protection Measure C which would levy a $10 tax for every 100 square feet of building. Believing in the importance of wildfire preparedness and the likelihood that voters would approve a tax measure to fund it, COST advocated successfully for the per square foot approach because it’s fairer than a flat parcel tax charging a studio condo the same as a mall. We also led a successful fight for the tax and joint-powers authority to end in 10 years, rather than the initially proposed forever tax with annual escalators. We’re proud to have won important protections for Marin’s taxpaying voters.
CO$T Directors attended many public meetings and had multiple conversations with officials and council members throughout the county. We worked hard over several months to kill the perpetual tax in favor of a 10-year sunset.
A 10-year sunset places multiple guardrails on the JPA and the tax. It precludes establishment of a permanent bureaucracy with pensionable employees and long-term debt. Many workers will be seasonal, to the consternation of unions.
It the fire tax disappoints, individual fire agencies can exit at 10 years and/or voters can reject renewing the tax.
You might prefer having no tax at all. But it’s not clear that would have been the measure’s final outcome. We’re proud of our work on behalf of Marin’s taxpaying voters, which sometimes entails compromise.