Tax Hike Decisions Coming Monday

As of this writing, the agenda for the June 9 Council meeting is not yet posted online, so must depend on Chronicle coverage:

In March, the sales tax was raised and a motor fuel tax was established to address the city’s budget shortfall. An audit projected that the city’s general fund would have a $500,000 shortfall by June 30, the end of the city’s 2008 Fiscal Year.

The natural gas, electricity and hotel-motel tax increases scheduled for discussion Monday are included in the city’s 2009 proposed budget to generate funds for the next fiscal year, Assistant City Manager Rudy Espiritu said during a news conference Thursday. These revenues are also part of the city’s five-year financial plan.

The water and waste rate increases are to cover rising costs of services, Espiritu said. Some increases could go into effect as early as July if approved.

That’s not entirely correct, Mr. Espiritu. Take the water rate increase. If the city would stop siphoning off a half-mil-plus from the Water Division into the General Fund, Water would be paying for itself quite nicely. You, with Council’s complicity (Council has to approve these transfers) need that money to cover the nice raises you are giving yourselves, as well as that $800,000 insurance shortfall carried over from last year.

Raises in a budget crisis via tax hikes that we can’t afford. Hunh. My neighborhood is having its yard sales this weekend but we are not selling our torches and pitchforks.

p.s. Notice that nobody’s really talking about the city’s property tax levy? I bet they hike that next and I bet, when it comes, we’ll be scraping our jaws off the floor.