San Diego County tax hike proposal fails to qualify for ballot after voters see through lies; Reform California says the battle to block tax hike measures is far from over.
A controversial ballot measure supported by San Diego Democrats and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has been disqualified by the San Diego Registrar of Voters from appearing on the November 2022 San Diego County ballot.
The measure, which sought to impose a San Diego County Sales Tax increase of 0.5% and bolster a plan that includes a Mileage Tax of 4-6 per mile driven by San Diego commuters, failed to collect enough valid signatures — coming in well below the 95% valid rate required by the Registrar.
Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, a taxpayer advocacy group, says the disqualification was a win for San Diego’s taxpayers.
“We are pleased that this costly and unfair tax hike scheme has failed,” said DeMaio.
“At a time of record inflation and skyrocketing cost-of-living, San Diego working families cannot afford yet another tax hike from reckless politicians,” he continued.
Backers of the petition had claimed that revenue from tax increases would go toward repairing the county’s failing roads and infrastructure, even choosing a ballot title which read: “San Diego County Improvement Measure for Traffic Relief, Infrastructure, and Safety.”
But DeMaio says the petition lied to voters by failing to name itself as a massive tax increase and hiding the truth of where tax revenue would be spent.
The fees collected would have gone toward the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) for administrative and operating costs. Anything left over would go toward road and transit improvement. However, the measure’s “Expenditure Plan” contained loopholes that would have allowed funding to go entirely toward transit and administrative fees — and nothing toward improving the roads.
Backers of Measure A claimed that they wouldn't exploit these loopholes to avoid fixing San Diego’s failing roads, but text straight from the measure reads: “This measure is focused on … getting more cars off the road…”
“They said it right in the measure — if they want you off the roads, why would they fund road improvements that encourage road use?” asked DeMaio.
“San Diego politicians have broken public trust by repeatedly diverting our road repair funds and they do not deserve a single penny more from taxpayers,” he explained.
DeMaio points to the Gas Tax as an example. Only 20% of funds collected via gas taxes have been spent anywhere near roads, according to an independent analysis of the CalTrans budget by former State Senator John Moorlach. Much of the funding promised for roads had been diverted to administrative costs and other projects.
What’s worse, says DeMaio, is that even if the funds from the tax proposal had gone entirely to transit instead of fixing the roads, it would have been a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Current statistics show that less than 2% of San Diego-area commuters use transit, and ridership has been declining for the past 20 years.
“We are glad that San Diego voters saw through the lies and deceptive ballot title given to this tax hike measure,” said DeMaio.
“We look forward to holding these lying politicians accountable in the November 2022 elections and putting leaders into office that oppose crazy schemes like the Mileage Tax — and instead will spend our existing tax dollars on road repairs as intended,” he continued.
DeMaio and Reform California have a permanent campaign to oppose tax hikes and are asking members of the public to join it.
Join the Fight: Stop Tax Hikes
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