Three local tax measures have been submitted which will be on your June ballot in Napa County. These are: Measure H for a $269 million NVUSD bond, Measure AA for a $12 parcel tax for the next 20 years on all properties in the 9 ABAG counties, and a quarter-cent sales tax submitted as a general sales tax but argued to be for a new Napa county jail and children’s programs.
Taken individually any one of these measures may seem to be justified. However, the Napa County Taxpayer’s Association has developed arguments against each of these measures which will be detailed on your June ballots. Here are some of the reasons they are considered to be unjustified;
— In total these measures could add over $1 billion in tax debts to be paid by Napa county residents and their children (or grandchildren) for decades into the future.
— Measure H would add a fourth school bond to the three NVUSD bond taxes which are being paid as property taxes until 2034. The district’s attempts to justify this bond as necessary to fund seismic repairs are not considered to be valid since many of the projects being planned for this funding are not for seismic repairs and include wish lists of desired projects while ignoring other funding streams which the NVUSD has received or will receive in the future. It also appears that many of these projects should have been accomplished with funds provided by the previously approved bond measures.
— By Measure Y your supervisors have attempted to circumvent California’s Proposition 218, which clearly identifies that a new tax for a specific purpose requires a two-thirds supermajority vote for passage. A general sales tax, with a lower 50 percent threshold for passage, cannot provide a guarantee that the funds would be used for any specific purpose. While a new jail may ultimately be necessary, allowing taxpayers’ guaranteed constitutional rights to be circumvented should not be tolerated. The county has been operating with the current earthquake-damaged jail for over a year now and surely can continue to operate for a few more months to develop a clear and logical funding mechanism that is consistent with maintaining voters’ constitutional rights to vote on taxes.
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— Over the last two decades Napa County, through Measure A, and in conjunction with the Army Corp of Engineers, has generated over $300 million in sales tax revenues. These local Measure A funds have been combined with federal funds for projects that include flood control, ecosystem restoration, cleaning marshes and remediating salt ponds.
— Measure AA would support another bureaucracy that Napa has not voted for and does not need by adding a $12 tax to all properties in Napa county for the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority to spend in any of the nine ABAG counties. By this measure a rural cottage in Napa County would pay the same parcel tax as a multimillion-dollar business or mansion in Silicon Valley. Only a potential project list has been developed. However, actual projects have not been specified and potential projects can be changed as desired by the politicians of the restoration district. You would not attempt to remodel your home this way. Voters should not let unelected politicians spend the tax dollars they provide this way.
Jack Gray, director
Napa County Taxpayers Association