P.G. Chamber backs new taxes
P.G. City Council considers tax measures for the June ballot.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
The Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce has had its share of scuffles with City Manager Jim Colangelo and the current City Council. But chamber President Moe Ammar is behind proposals to place two tax measures on the June election ballot.
“This is not about Colangelo or the current council,” Ammar says. “We’re doing this so we can re-open the library on Sundays, and hire somebody to run the museum, and [keep] open the youth center, and hire the two police positions that were eliminated.”
A 1 percent sales tax hike, he says, “is the most fair and equitable way to pay into this, whether you’re a visitor or a resident.”
Last November, P.G. voters rejected three tax measures: a half-percent sales tax increase, a lifting of the business tax cap, and a parcel tax. The recent proposals would resurrect the first two measures (which garnered 47 percent and 48 percent support, respectively). But it this time the proposed sales tax hike would be a full percent, increasing from 7.25 to 8.25 cents on the dollar.
The business tax cap removal would generate about $270,000 and the sales tax increase about $1.2-$1.4 million per year, Colangelo says.
Though the tax measures failed only four months ago, Colangelo figures citizen support could reverse their fate this time around. “There’s been a lot more information going out to the public through the news media about our fiscal problems,” he says. “If there’s a group that’s actually organized and spending money to campaign for the tax, it’s a different situation.”
As first reported on montereycountyweekly.com, a half-dozen P.G. residents came together in late January to form the core of Fair Share, a citizen group discussing city tax measures.
The group joined the Police Officers’ Association in support of a hotel tax increase, but the council shot down the proposal on Feb. 27.
Fair Share still is undecided about the potential sales and business tax measures, says member Carmelita Garcia. Group members would prefer to see tax measures on the November, rather than June, ballot, to allow time for public outreach and education.
The City Council was scheduled to discuss the potential sales and business tax measures on March 5, past the Weekly’s deadline.