San Diego City Council members Donna Frye and Todd Gloria released proposed ballot language for their financial reform proposition this afternoon. Here it is:

To offset severe state cuts and protect and restore essential services, including police, fire and street resurfacing, shall the City of San Diego be authorized to enact a temporary one-half cent sales tax for five years, which cannot be taken by state government, only if the independent City Auditor certifies conditions have been met, including reforming pension and retiree health care costs and implementing managed competition.

A few thoughts. Notice how the three services mentioned in the ballot question — police, fire and street resurfacing — are the three services residents rated as their highest priority in a recent city survey.

Also, notice that the sales tax increase is mentioned in the middle of the ballot question, not the beginning or the end. A tip from writing school is to put the most important thought in a sentence at the beginning or end for emphasis. Things can get lost in the middle.

Also, in the hubbub last week, I didn’t mention the brilliance of the Frye/Gloria team appropriating the name “Reform Before Revenue” for their ballot measure. Recall that opponents to a sales tax increase in its various forms used that catchphrase to express their stance. (One of the biggest detractors, Councilman Carl DeMaio, has now changed the catchphrase he’s using to deride the measure. He calls it the “Dash For Cash Sales Tax Hike.”)

For background on what the new sales tax money could be used for, check my quick explainer.


Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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