Phil Matier: Tax Increases Won’t Fly In San Jose

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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – San Jose leaders had been hoping to put a sales tax increase on the November ballot, but Tuesday they decided to shelve that idea until next year. This comes despite recent police layoffs and cuts to other city services.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider, Phil Matier said that the city commissioned a poll to find out if residents were willing to vote for a sales tax increase, and found that the support simply wasn’t there. The idea of upping the sales tax barely got a majority, but Matier said that’s a bad way to start because issues often lose support throughout a campaign.

”What’s interesting is that if you’ll remember the state, a couple of months ago, during the big budget crunch, was saying that cities should give voters the chance to say yes or no to taxes, that’s what Governor Jerry Brown was asking Republicans,” said Matier. “Privately though, they were saying, ‘hey, we might get it on the ballot, but if you take a look at the numbers there’s a good chance it’s not going to fly,’ and the numbers in this case sort of reaffirm that.”

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Comments:

Matier said there is a sense that city officials need to deal with pension reform issues before dealing with more taxes.

”Pension costs are continuing to rise, and even if this sales tax increase passed it wasn’t going to cover the gap in that alone,” said Matier. “So they couldn’t very well tell people that if they passed it, it would be sunny skies again.”

Matier said it’s a common problem around the state, that even when cities do pass sales tax revenue measures, it’s not often enough to make voters feel like they’re getting anything out of it.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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