Basin Democrats Reject Yucca’s 1% Tax
Yucca Valley,Ca. – At the Sept. 9 meeting of the Morongo Basin Democratic Club, members formally rejected the proposed 1% sales tax measure that Yucca Valley residents will approve or reject at the ballot box on Nov. 6.
No one in the crowd of about 65 people questioned the town’s legitimate need to raise funds for the planned wastewater treatment plant. Opposition focused more on the measure’s language which gives the town largely unrestricted use of the sales tax revenue, its regressive nature in that lower wage earners must devote a higher percentage of income to the tax, and the town’s failure to follow standard practice by establishing an assessment district and issuing bonds.
Three time past mayor and town council write-in candidate Bob Leone explained how the sales tax would disproportionately impact those least able to afford it and questioned whether a town council made entirely of Sky Harbor residents could fairly represent the interests of those who live in Phase 1 neighborhoods like Paradise Valley. Former town councilmember Lori Herbel spoke in opposition to the plan to dump the sales tax revenue into the general fund with loose restrictions on where the money goes after that.
Dr. Curt Duffy, an officer in the Democratic Club, drafted the resolution against the current proposed sales tax measure which members passed unanimously.
The resolution reads:
While the Morongo Basin Democratic Club recognizes the legitimate need for Yucca Valley to seek funding for a wastewater treatment plant, Measure U is unacceptable because:
1) it contains no mechanism for directing revenues from the sales tax to the construction or operation of a wastewater treatment system and
2) it is a regressive tax that would impact low, modest, and fixed income households – those least able to afford it.
The Morongo Basin Democratic Club supports the exploration of more direct financing alternatives for the wastewater treatment system, such as an assessment bond or a dedicated sales tax.
Donald Krouse, a former investment banker, quoted the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association when he cautioned attendees that Measure U is Yucca Valley’s attempt to circumvent the two-thirds vote requirement for special taxes which also circumvents laws designed to ensure taxes imposed for specific purposes are spent as intended.
“The Morongo Basin Democratic Club will actively oppose Measure U,” said Duffy. “The hope here is that Yucca Valley’s town manager and town council will do the right thing and come up with a better plan that could go on the ballot in the March Special Election.”