Unintended Consequences from Higher Taxes

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Editor,

Last week, City Council gave 5-0 approval to place their recommended 1% sales tax increase on the November 2018 ballot. This despite objection by a clear majority of residents, who spoke to provide arguments against the excessive taxation projected to generate $5.6 million that would be used to support a 30-year bond debt to underground utilities.

Compelling concerns, the public deserves a cautionary approach:

Residents will pay to improve Edison’s aging infrastructure but will not benefit or be provided any shares of privately held company stock.

Many neighborhoods have already paid their fair share and have elected to underground their own street.

A city debt liability of a $100 million plus bond may be the unintended consequence for our ability to borrow for any serious catastrophic emergency. Think Bluebird Canyon landslide!

The 2016 Measure LL raised transient occupancy tax under the main premise of under grounding, however, the majority of the funds has been paid to other expenses.

It is reckless and irresponsible to expect a vote in favor of a sales tax increase when the scope and total bid cost for under grounding remains unclear and without any certainty.  It is of particular importance to know that the city of Fresno’s recent cost estimate to underground PG&E utility went from $40 million to a shocking $396 million in five short years. In short, residents are being asked to tax themselves, for 25 years, to pay for a project of an undetermined amount.

At this time a tax increase is especially concerning since federal tax reform has adversely raised taxes for the majority of California homeowners who may not fully understand the full tax ramifications until after they cast their vote.  It is the unintended consequences of a ballot measure that later causes disappointment, regret and stings the well-intended voter.

The city’s Affordable Housing Tax Force seeks to maintain economic diversity through balance in our city. We have many seniors on fixed incomes, millennials and a challenged middle class who struggle economically to afford to continue to live in Laguna Beach.  Increased taxation by local government is a sure way to move toward gentrification.

 

Lorene Laguna, Laguna Beach

The author has declared her candidacy for City Council.

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