Porterville City Council’s decision to put a tax measure on the ballot has us scratching our heads.
There is probably no good time to float a measure like this before voters, but now just doesn’t feel like the right time.
The council decided Tuesday to place a general tax measure on the 2018 November ballot. In terms of the number of votes needed for passage, a general is considered easier than a special as it only needs 50 percent of the voters plus one additional voter.
And unlike the special, the entity proposing the general measure does not need to specify exactly what the money will go toward.
But, general measures also historically do not have a great success rate in Tulare County.
The city has expressed using the money generated to support public safety, road improvements, a sports facility, and or a new library.
All of those sound great and all, but are voters ready to support a tax for one, all or a combination of those? At this time, we think it’s a long shot.
People in California already feel like they are being unduly taxed and feel like the money is not being spent wisely.
Roads is easily the number one complaint of people and we could see people getting behind the measure if roads were actually going to be addressed.
Public safety is another one people might support.
A sports facility and or a new library, although both are needed for a growing community of this size, would be hard to sell to voters. These come across as wish-list items.
We are also curious to hear that along with putting this on the ballot, the council also agreed to seek information on public policy-oriented research firms to conduct citizen polling.
It seems to us that this is backward. Wouldn’t you want to have the polling information prior to putting something on the ballot?
We agree with the council that at least the voters will get to decide.
We just suspect the answer will be no.
It is going to be interesting to see what direction this goes in moving forward. At some point, the council is going to have to narrow the focus or at least present some plans with actual pricetags.