Vote “Yes” on Measure O for G. Grove

THE CLOCK TOWER at the Village Green Park in Garden Grove is a symbol of local pride (OC Tribune photo).

Is your home town worth a penny?

We think it is. Voters in Garden Grove will be asked on Nov. 6 to approve a one-cent sales tax to provide needed revenue to the city, which means – if you live in the “Big Strawberry” – the place where you live, send your kids to school, shop and perhaps even work.

No one likes to pay extra taxes, but there comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to dig a little deeper to make ends meet and get what you need. It’s estimated that such a tax would raise about $19 million annually. So let’s take a look at why Measure O is a necessary and prudent move.

  1. Why does the city need more money?

The principal cause of the “structural deficit” for Garden Grove and many other cities across California is a change in the state employees retirement fund. Simply put, the cost of pensions has gone up dramatically and Sacramento wants the cities to pay a lot more than in the past. Garden Grove has been dipping into reserves and cutting expenses to balance the budget, but that can’t go on forever.

  1. Why can’t the city “live within its means”?

Because in this case, that would mean slashing services by cutting jobs, programs and salaries.  Recreation programs, code enforcement and needed increases in police and fire personnel would probably be the first to go. What you’d end up with is a skeleton of the city, which would not only pose serious public safety issues but also endanger property values.

  1. Why not just have a tax for police and fire?

Under state law, a specific tax must get a two-thirds approval from voters, while a general purpose tax requires only a majority. Experience has shown that it’s near impossible to get a two-thirds vote on just about anything.

  1. We raised “bed taxes” on visitors to hotels. What happened to that?

The increase in what’s officially called a “transient occupancy tax” did help; about one-quarter of the city’s general fund comes from there. But that was then, this is now. The “unfunded pension liabilities” are requiring another source of revenue.

  1. How can we be sure that the tax money goes into public safety?

Right now, about 70 percent of the city budget goes to police and fire, so it’s almost certain that at least 70 percent of new sales tax revenue will go there as well.  Also, it would be nice to have some money to pay for other things the community needs, such as code enforcement, public works, parks, youth and senior programs, etc.

  1. Why a sales tax? Isn’t that regressive?

A sales tax makes sense because it falls equally on resident and visitor, rather than exclusively on the resident. Every tourist at the Hyatt who crosses the street to shop at Target is helping to support Garden Grove economically. Millions of visitors come to town each year: why not have them help pay for the roads and police and fire protection?

We support a “yes” vote on Measure O because it:

  • solves a very real financial crisis
  • protects property values and public safety
  • doesn’t put the whole burden on residents
  • will help our hometown to grow and prosper.

Vote yes on Measure O. It’ll turn out to be the best penny you ever spent.


Categories: Opinion

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3 replies »

  1. Until the pension issue is solved cities will keep coming back for more tax increases in one form or another. Sorry Jim you’re wrong on this issue change the pensions solve the problem not mask it with another tax

    • We said yes to Measure H in 2000. Yes to Measure N in 2002. Yes to Measure Y 2012. Yes to the bed tax and stuck it to the tourists. Yes to water rate increases after we all saved water to respect drought narrative. We said yes to closing down city hall every other week 27 years ago as a cost saving measure that obviously later became a salary perk. We said yes to safety being weaponized to remove small businesses in order to build higher density housing. We said yes to complete neighborhoods being eminent domained, which later the land sat, sits, empty for decades. We were unwillingly mandated to say yes to hotel deals because once the bond was paid off in 20 years, later 30 years, safety would be taken care of. No community benefit agreements were ever negotiated on behalf of the residents whose land was grabbed for corporate donor, slash investors.

      No more flogging of Garden Grove residents. No on O.
      Council members, It hurts your can’t vote here legally residents the most.

      Prop 47 chaos and disaster. Was that done by Jerry Brown et al to intentionally then use it to justify doing this via local governing compadres? Beginning to think it’s linked. If so, wickedry.

      Unfunded liability is a disparity between the estimated amount of a pension plan’s obligations and the current value of assets. Over the past twenty years, CalSTRS’ unfunded liability has increased more than $65 billion and the CalPERS liability has grown by more than $63 billion.

      NO. Garden Grove residents have been paying for 30 years in one way or another.
      “No money, no money.” Should be our city motto. And yet, plenty money for transparentcalifornia.com salaries and benefits and pensions. Be Lake Forest.

      NO on O!

      • Add. Oh yeah …

        Animal Care. Money was removed from County contract to City in house. What was it? 1M saved? Not for the greater good or benefit of animal lives as they are no longered networked like County did, does, to rescuers in 5 counties. So there’s that.

        Residents are just barely now recovering from recession. Some never did. A time when residents got zero help from its city.

        Old timers, we remember.

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