Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oakland Council Tables Bad Tax, Again

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 9:52 AM

The Oakland City Council has made a smart move, tabling a planned ballot measure that would have raised taxes on property owners during a steep recession. According to the Trib, the council also reached a deal with after-school program advocates to help solve the city's budget crisis. The compromise deal will be on the July 21 special election ballot, and would soften the impact of Measure OO, an initiative that threatened to severely harm the city's budget. These are two very good moves by the council. Who says our city government can't get anything done?

We would have liked to have seen Measure OO overturned entirely, but we'll take the compromise deal, because according to the Trib, it includes a stipulation that after-school program proponents will not oppose the measure before the election. That gives the measure a much better shot at winning. The compromise, if passed, means that the city will save millions of dollars a year. While we support after-school programs, the city simply cannot afford to increase spending on them during a recession.

As for the parcel tax measure, it would have taxed property owners to pay for parks maintenance and tree trimming. The council previously had tabled the idea, but then the tax measure's main proponent, Councilwoman Jean Quan, resurrected it. The council made the right choice to put the idea on hold again. Trying to raise taxes during a recession would have been a major mistake. The council also agreed to put a hotel tax measure on the July ballot, and while we don't think it's a great idea either, it would be far less harmful to Oaklanders than the parcel tax.

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