A mailer from the Orange County Taxpayers Association PAC landed in the mailboxes of Westminster residents yesterday and over the weekend alerting them to plans by Councilmembers Margie Rice and Diana Carey to deal with the city’s budget shortfall by adding another 1% to the city’s sales tax rate. The mailer urges residents to e-mail their opposition to this proposal to the city council:
As noted in the mailer, Mayor Tri Ta and Councilmembers Carey and Sergio Contreras are up for re-election in November. No matter which way the vote on hiking the sales tax goes, it is certain to be a central issue in the upcoming council elections.
“A sales tax increase will not only negatively affect taxpayers, but Westminster businesses, as well,” said OC Tax President Carolyn Cavecche. “City Councils should have learned to live in a post-redevelopment world years ago.”
UPDATED (6-22-16): the Orange County Business Council has also weighed in as opposing the Rice-Carey tax increase:
Orange County Business Council (OCBC) opposes the City of Westminster proposed 1-cent sales tax. In October of 2015, your city council created the City Financial Task Force designed to develop long-term solutions to the City’s budget crisis. That task force has successfully served its intended purpose and presented the city with multiple alternatives to the sales tax increase.
Suggestions of the City Financial Task Force include outsourcing some of the City’s services, including having the Orange County Sheriff provide police services, which could reduce city costs along with the selling or leasing of the City’s water utility, which would generate additional general funds for the City. In addition, various revenue enhancing measures including marketing of the current ambulance subscription program, reducing delinquent accounts for ambulance services and expansion of the City’s business license inspection program would all be venues of providing additional income for the City.
OCBC contends that ignoring the recommendations of the City Financial Task Force by hastily moving to tax residents for a problem they did not create is a dereliction of responsibility. OCBC urges the City Council to follow through on the tough decisions necessary to exhaust all remedies advanced by your task force before moving forward to implement a 1-cent sales tax.
Implementation of additional sales tax would result in a larger shortfall of sales tax revenues and an increase in job losses. Therefore, OCBC asks for your “No” vote on any proposal that would seek to advance the proposed 1-cent sales tax at the City Council’s June 22 meeting.
Editorial staffer Sean Ostriker contributed to this story.