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Exercise Your Civic Duty: County Voters Can Vote on Tax Measures

Hike in hotel guest taxes in unincorporated areas on June 5 ballot, along with school parcel tax measures Redwood City, Half Moon Bay and Daly City.

Exercise Your Civic Duty: County Voters Can Vote on Tax Measures


San Mateo County voters will consider several business-related taxes and a handful of school parcel tax and bond measures in the June 5 primary — including Measure W, an annual $67 parcel tax that would raise revenue for the Redwood City School District.

Measure W aims to raise revenue for reading, writing and math programs, school libraries and other uses. The proposed measure would be in effect for five years and requires two-thirds voter approval to pass.

Among the most contentious measures on the ballot are a proposed transient occupancy tax increase and business license taxes for commercial parking and car rental businesses in unincorporated areas of the county.

Proponents of all three measures include Board of Supervisors President Adrienne Tissier, Supervisor Carole Groom and San Mateo County Schools Superintendent Ann Campbell.

Opponents include the citizens' group Taxpayers for a Strong Economy and the general managers of the Best Western Grosvenor and San Francisco Airport Marriott hotels.

Measure U would raise the transient occupancy tax paid by guests at hotels in unincorporated areas from 10 percent to 12 percent. Supporters say Measure U would bring the transient occupancy tax in line with that of neighboring cities and counties. Opponents argue that the transient occupancy tax increase would hurt the hotel industry and discourage tourism.

Measure X proposes an 8 percent business license tax on all commercial parking facilities in unincorporated areas. The measure could raise approximately $5 million annually for the county's general fund, according to the measure's supporters. Opponents claim the new tax would add to the high cost of living on the Peninsula because the cost would be passed on to consumers. Measure T would levy a 2.5 percent business license tax on all car rental businesses in unincorporated areas. Proponents say car rental businesses pay less than 1 percent tax to the county, and that more than doubling the tax could raise nearly $8 million annually. Opponents say that any new taxes in a sluggish economy are a bad idea.

All three business tax measures require a simple majority to pass.

The June 5 ballot also includes three measures that would benefit local school districts. Measure S would authorize the issuance of $81 million in 40-year bonds for the , which includes four elementary schools, , an , and . The funds would help pay for school facility upgrades and maintenance. The bond measure requires 55 percent approval to pass.

Measure Y, which requires a two-thirds vote, would levy a $45 annual tax on parcels within the Jefferson Union High School District for four years. The money would be used to enhance classroom programs and computer instruction, and attract and retain teachers.

Two special district taxes are on the ballot for voters in Portola Valley and the unincorporated San Mateo neighborhood of Highlands. Measure V would raise an annual parcel tax on properties in Portola Valley's Wayside II Road Maintenance District from $625 to $950. The funds would be used to cover the increasing costs of road maintenance and repair within the district.

Measure Z would extend a $65 annual parcel tax for police and fire services in the Highlands neighborhood. The tax has been in effect since 1982 and requires reauthorization by voters every four years.

Both Measures Z and V require a two-thirds majority to pass.

— Bay City News


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