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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Measure T
Amend Business License
City of Richmond

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 8,244 / 42.32% Yes votes ...... 11,238 / 57.68% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 4 7:35am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (53/53)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the Richmond Business License Act be adopted effective January 1, 2007, which will levy a new tax on manufacturing, including oil refining, equal to 1/8% of the value of the raw materials used in the manufacturing process per year, increase most other categories of business taxes by 10% with certain other adjustments, and annually tax landlords at up to $90 per unit for residential non-residential property?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
The City of Richmond currently requires all businesses in the City to obtain a business license and pay a business license fee, which is tax for general revenue. Most businesses are now taxed based on the number of employees. Most current business licenses run for 12 months from the date of issue but some businesses may obtain licenses for shorter periods.

This Measure, if approved, would result in a 10% increase in the business license tax for most categories of business, and a change to the method of taxation for manufacturing businesses (including oil refining) and for landlords (including both residential and commercial properties). Taxes for movie theatres and child care centers would not increase. All annual licenses would be for a calendar year starting January 1, 2007. Licenses issued in 2006 would expire December 31, 2006 and a credit would be given for the remaining term of the old license. New businesses would receive up to an 18-month exemption.

Manufacturing business would be taxed under a new formula, which would be the greater of (1) the tax that would be paid by other general businesses (the prior method with a 10% increase) or (2) a flat fee of $282.70 plus one eighth of one percent (0.125%) of the value of the raw materials used in the manufacturing process. For example, a manufacturing business which has 50 employees would pay the greater of $2,908.95 or the sum of $282.70 plus 0.125% of the value of the raw materials it used. It therefore would have to use more than $2,101,000 in raw materials before its tax would be increased over the general rate. Only raw materials actually used in the manufacturing process are counted for purposes of calculating the tax. Any materials merely owned, stored in inventory, warehoused or transported are not included in the calculation. Because the tax must be paid at the beginning of each year, the calculation for each tax year is based on the total value of raw materials used in the prior year. The proposed measure contains definitions of manufacturing, raw materials and a method of valuation in order to implement this new approach.

The current system of taxing landlords based on the number of sites and employees would be replaced. Under the new system, residential landlords would pay $90 for the first 25 units, $75 per unit for the next 35 units and $55 per unit for units over 60. Non-residential landlords would pay three cents per leasable square foot of space. Residential landlords with less than three units would pay less under the new system than under the current system.

Other changes include the elimination of separate categories for part- time businesses and junkyards, an increase in the tax for live entertainment events to $1 per ticket, and a change in the annual inflation adjustment to the consumer price index.

The City estimates this measure will generate about $ 8,501,000 in new revenue beginning in 2007, of which about $ 8,000,000 will come from oil refining.

/s/ John Eastman

City Attorney

  News and Analysis

Contra Costa Times

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Arguments For Measure T Arguments Against Measure T
Richmond finally has an opportunity to enhance those community services that other cities take for granted such as: Public Safety for our homes and streets, libraries, senior services, youth programs and streets without pot holes.

Richmond residents will not pay the burden of the tax. Measure T wisely balances the city tax base.

The Business License Tax has not been revised for over 20 years and Measure T will ask most business in Richmond to make a small increase of 10% in their current rates.

Measure T will recognize the largest manufacturers in Richmond and ask them to pay their fair share.

Yes, large international companies like Chevron would pay $1,250.00 for every $1 million worth of raw material they use like oil for manufacturing.

Not surprisingly, Chevron and other big international and national businesses will pay the largest portion of this tax.

Also not surprising, they will oppose this tax and hide behind other groups like taxpayer associations, business committees, and landlords maybe even renters groups to protect Chevron and other big business from having to pay their share.

Measure T will change the current Landlord business rate of $257 per location to $90.00 per unit or less per unit depending on the number owned. Small landlords may get a tax break with Measure T.

Our community is at risk. Funding for critical programs is in jeopardy and local small businesses are struggling at a time when large manufacturers are posting record profits. Measure T simply forces Chevron and other big business to pay their fair share to Richmond.

Measure T is supported by neighborhood leaders, law enforcement, fire fighters, local labor unions and families throughout Richmond. They are standing up for what is fair for Richmond.

Rosemary M. Corbin
Former Mayor of Richmond

Myrtle L. Braxton
President, Laurel Park Neighborhood Council

Rev. Andre L. Shumake, Sr.
Richmond Improvement Association

Andre Hill
Richmond Police Officers Assoc.

Jesse G. Kray
Kray Cabling, Inc.

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Measure T is the wrong approach to solving Richmond's problems. Measure T is another bad idea from politicians that have a history of mismanaging public resources and seem unable to effectively address Richmond's problems.

No more taxes! Richmond residents and businesses already pay higher taxes than other nearby cities. And nothing in Measure T guarantees one additional dime to make Richmond's streets safer or hire additional police officers and firefighters.

Consider the facts:

  • Measure T unfairly punishes renters.
  • Measure T endangers local jobs, both existing and new.
  • Measure T gambles with the economic improvement that Richmond desperately needs.
Measure T sends a message to employers to take your jobs and tax payments and go elsewhere; Richmond is closed for business.

What about support for Richmond charities? Each year, local businesses contribute millions of dollars to fund vital services in our city, including public safety programs. What will happen when local businesses leave town because they can't afford to pay any new taxes?

Measure T is NOT the answer to Richmond's issues. Please join Richmond residents, renters and small business owners and Vote No on T.

Kris Hunt
Executive Director, Contra Costa Taxpayers Assoc.

Cheryl Maier
Contra Costa Opportunity West

Marsha Tomassi
Point Richmond Business Assoc. President

Theresa M. Karr
Calif. Apt. Association, Contra Costa County Division

Bishop Carleton Leonard
Word of Life Church

Measure T increases taxes by 300% hitting renters, seniors and those living on fixed incomes the most!

Vote NO for the following reasons:

    1. Higher taxes will be passed on to Richmond residents. That will increase the cost of the Richmond goods and services you buy, including the cost of renting a house or apartment.

    2. Measure T is anti-job, anti-business and tells Richmond employers to go elsewhere and take their jobs with them.

    3. Measure T includes automatic annual inflation adjustments meaning the cost of Richmond goods, services and rents will continue to increase year after year.

    4. Tax experts say parts of Measure T are illegal. This could mean that Richmond will face years of costly litigation. Don't let the City waste your tax dollars paying lawyers to defend an illegal tax.

This new tax could end the "Richmond Renaissance" everyone desires by driving away employers and jobs and increasing costs of living and doing business within the City.

Please join us in Voting No on Measure T.

John W. Ziesenhenne
Chairman, Richmond Chamber of Commerce

Theresa M. Karr
CAA (Calif. Apt. Assoc.), Contra Costa Division, Regional Division Director

Kris Hunt
Executive Director, Contra Costa Taxpayers Assoc.

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The arguments against Measure T have been filed by a majority of highly paid out of town lobbyists for corporate interests. They are wrong on the facts and consequences.

Richmond residents will pay zero on Measure T, unless they own huge manufacturing companies, are landlords or own a Richmond business.

A small retail business with 10 employees under Measure T would pay approximately .21 cents more per day.

    1. Taxes do not set rents; landlords can't charge more than the real estate market will bear. Corporate landlords fight to keep their big profits. They resist paying their fair share. Small landlords may get a tax break.

    2. Don't be fooled, Measure T provides real support to our community for public safety which will keep jobs in Richmond.

    3. The opponents are wrong. The truth about Measure T is there is no inflation rate for landlords or rents.

    4. The city of Richmond retained one of the most qualified, experienced tax law firms in the United States to consult on this measure and they testified at a public hearing that Measure T was legal.

Measure T is a carefully crafted amendment to the old Richmond Business License Ordinance that will shift the burden from residents and small businesses to large corporations while creating additional resources that Richmond desperately needs for public safety, streets, library and services to our seniors and youth.

Please join us in Voting Yes on Measure T.

Rosemary M. Corbin
Former Mayor and Apartment House Owner

Torm Nompraseurt
Laotian Organizing Project

Marilyn Langlois
Tenants' Rights Advocate, Richmond resident

Carmen Mariscil I am a small landlord, Have 3 units

Jeannette Mahoney
El Sobrante Hills Neighborhood Council

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Created: January 4, 2007 09:31 PST
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