I need to correct a couple of things on the post below about Chula Vista. I wrote that Earl Jentz was going to try to amend the new sales tax increase. If that increase passed in the May 5 election, I wrote that his effort would amend it and be on the ballot for the May 19 election.
I should have thought a little more about this and well, asked. It would be impossible for him to get something on the ballot that quickly. It appears that October would be the earliest possible time for him to get something on a special election. And such a special election for Chula Vista would cost approximately $600,000.
As Jentz himself wrote to me in an e-mail:
There is a complicated, labor intensive, expensive effort for citizens to place a measure on the ballot. I won’t bore you with the details, but with luck we are looking at the end of the year. Even the City Council, who can skip the signature gathering process and other steps needed 4 months.
My apologies for that bit of reckless opining.
I guess I thought it would be just too awkward for Chula Vista to raise the sales tax by one cent, after the state raised it by a cent and then have it change down a quarter of a cent a few months or years later.
But this is actually what Jentz is hoping for.
I’ve also heard from a few people who are taking issue with my characterization of the Chula Vista tax increase as hurried and rushed. I’ve been making the point that the city is so desperate for money that it had to mail out the ballots to residents as opposed to putting the issue on a ballot that’s already going out. My detractors say the city had no choice but to mail out the ballots because the City Council had decided to do the increase before city officials knew that the governor would be holding a statewide election just a few days after the mail ballots were due in Chula Vista.
Two things on that: There’s no question that this sales tax increase is rushed. They know that. They absolutely knew that the state might have to raise taxes to balance its budget and they knew that would take a statewide election, which they could piggyback on if they wanted. But they knew they couldn’t wait nor could they risk the possibility that the election would not happen or not happen quickly.
And some have wanted to point out that the city is actually saving money with a mail-in ballot as opposed to hosting its own special election. This is also bogus. If the point were to save money on the election, city officials could have waited until the regularly scheduled 2010 election to raise the taxes.
No, they need money and they need money now. The situation is so serious right now in this South Bay city that they decided they couldn’t wait another minute.