Modesto council puts 1 percent tax increase on November ballot

July 10, 2013




MODESTO – Modesto voters will be asked whether they want to approve a 1 percent increase in the sales tax.

The City Council, by a 7-0 vote, decided to put the measure on the Nov. 5 ballot.

If passed, the money raised would go to hire more police officers and firefighters, provide more funds for the general budget and to restore services cut during the recession.

It will require a simple majority to pass because it’s a general tax.

Still to come is a resolution that would direct the city on how to allocate the money. Mayor Garrad Marsh has suggested spending half on public safety, a quarter on new roads and improvements and the remainder for other services.

Other provisions of the measure include:

· A sunset clause that calls for the tax to end after six years

· If passed, it’s estimated it would raise $26 million a year

· It would fall to a half-cent increase if voters approve a proposed county road tax in November 2014

· A citizens advisory panel to monitor how the money is spent

In April, Marsh spoke to The Business Journal about the tax proposal and said it would help attract business to Modesto.

“One of my goals is economic development here. Safety’s a really important part of economic development,” Marsh said. “When Forbes and other rating agencies talk about how bad we are, public safety’s a big part of that. And to attract business into our area, it becomes much harder to do when employers are thinking, ‘I don’t want my employees to have to work in an unsafe location.’ So, I think it’s very important, not just for the safety of the community but for the economic health of the community.”

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