The refrain will be heard repeatedly over the coming weeks: It’s a renewal, not a new tax, only $9 per week and necessary to maintain vital services. In truth, the parcel tax is unnecessary, wasteful and has nothing to do with funding essential services. Despite what is stated in the ballot argument for Measure Y, the proposition does not even have the unanimous support of the City Council.
In fact, two-thirds of the current parcel tax, millions of dollars, was used to fund the mismanaged Piedmont Hills undergrounding and the City Council-rejected Blair Park projects.
The Municipal Tax Review Committee, the Budget Advisory Committee and the Undergrounding Task Force have given the Council a road map to fiscal soundness: To prioritize public services, implement risk management measures and rein in the City’s expenses. The Council has squandered opportunities for reform and has not acted on these recommendations.
This parcel tax vote is a referendum on City Council governance and management. The availability of parcel tax funds is allowing the Council to “kick the can down the road” and ignore the need for reforms and fiscal diligence. The Council thinks Piedmont citizens will continue writing blank checks while expenses and liabilities, including the $40 million unfunded liability for employee benefits, continue to escalate unsustainably and monies are wasted.
Measure Y is an opportunity for voters to say it is “not business as usual.” Demand fiscal responsibility. Vote NO on Measure Y. Visit NoOnMeasureY.com
Member, 2011 MTRC
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