Another major fire, another attempt at passing a tax to boost firefighting. And another apparent failure.

The latest, an attempt to establish a $52-a-year parcel tax on most properties in the county, never gained the momentum or political support it needed to secure a two-thirds super-majority vote, despite coming a year after one of the state’s worst firestorms devastated San Diego County. With 40 percent of precincts reporting, Proposition A had just 62 percent support. Two-thirds support would be needed for approval.

A similar measure to boost hotel-room taxes failed in 2004; it would have funded both firefighting and tourism efforts.

While the latest tax increase was endorsed by politically powerful officials such as San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and county Supervisor Greg Cox, it failed to secure support from firefighters and their unions. The political push to garner support for the proposition appeared to be almost an afterthought as Election Day neared. And those officials were never able to offer a definitive plan for how the roughly $50 million that would be raised would actually be spent.

The quiet support contrasted starkly with proponents’ efforts to secure approval for the 2004 TransNet initiative, a county-wide sales tax increase that squeaked through with a significant push from elected officials and a dedicated campaign.


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