By Bay City News Service
Voters in San Mateo County may be asked to approve a quarter-cent increase in the countywide sales tax. The county Board of Supervisors plans to vote Tuesday on whether to put the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The sales tax increase, which could raise $30 million annually for five years, was the subject of a report presented to the board on July 13.
The report, "San Mateo County: Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey," prepared by Godbe Research, found that 56 percent of voters who participated in focus groups and telephone surveys would vote in favor of a sales tax increase, and 34 percent would not.
Around 11 percent said they didn't know.
Participants were asked how they would vote in the context of protecting and preserving vital county services, such as 911 emergency dispatch, sheriff's patrols, gang and drug prevention programs, county hospital and health care services, maintaining county parks and providing assistance for vulnerable children, seniors and people with disabilities.
Arguments against the measure stated that even a small increase could push the countywide sales tax to nearly 10 percent, potentially driving shoppers and businesses to other counties, and that government spending on employee pensions should be cut before considering a tax hike.
The board has until Aug. 6 to adopt a resolution putting the tax measure before voters in November.