The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors may decide on Tuesday, July 24, whether to place on the Nov. 6 ballot a measure that would increase the sales tax rate in the county by 0.50 percentage points for 10 years.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at 400 County Center in Redwood City.
The proposed ordinance would raise the sales tax in the county to 8.75 percent from 8.25 percent.
(State Proposition 30 on the Nov. 6 ballot would increase the state-wide sales tax by 0.25 percentage points. If voters approve both measures, the sales tax rate in San Mateo County would be 9 percent.)
After the failure of two county tax increases in the June election -- only a tax on car rentals passed, by a bare 197 votes -- the Board of Supervisors finds itself confronting the same budget deficit with fewer options.
The county sales tax increase is projected to add about $60 million a year to the county's general fund, according to a memo from supervisors Adrienne Tissier and Don Horsley. The county would get all the money from the tax increase minus state administration fees.
Mr. Horsley said he would support the increase even if all three tax measures had passed in June. "If you look back on my campaign for the Board, I said that I supported an extension of the State's 1 percent sales tax that expired in June of 2011. That is no longer possible but the proposal that Supervisor Tissier and I are sponsoring is the right thing to do to maintain County services."
The board would get to decide how to spend the money since the tax goes into the general fund. The memo suggests possibly assisting county hospitals to stay in business. It lists Seton Medical Center as an example; the 357-bed Daly City facility must complete seismic safety improvements by 2020 to remain open. The memo states Seton handles 19 percent of admissions and 34 percent of doctor visits of people who are on the county's health plan, some of whom are on Medi-Cal.
"There is significant concern about other providers' capacity and ability to fill Seton's role in promoting the health of the community if Seton were to close," the memo said.