This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Measure T
Amending Business License Measure
City of Richmond

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 15473 / 51.51% Yes votes ...... 14563 / 48.49% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 2 8:18pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (59/59)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the Richmond Business License Act be adopted effective January 1, 2009, to define the category of Manufacturer and to establish a license fee equal to one fourth of one percent (0.25%) of the value of the material used in the manufacturing process during the immediately preceding calendar year for large manufacturers, be adopted?

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
The City of Richmond currently requires businesses in the City to obtain a business license and pay a business license fee, which is a tax for general revenues. The amount of this tax is primarily based on the number of persons employed by the business.

Under this measure, manufacturing businesses would be taxed under a new formula. Manufacturing businesses would pay the greater of (1) the tax that would be paid by other general businesses or (2) a flat fee of one fourth of one percent (0.250%) of the value of the raw materials used in the manufacturing process. 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. The calculation for each tax year would be based on the total value of materials used in the prior year. The measure contains definitions of manufacturing, manufacturing materials and a method of valuation in order to implement this new approach.

This measure, if approved, would result in a uniform business license term. Currently business licenses run a 12 month period from the date the license is issued. This measure would set the term for all business licenses to January 1 through December 31 and provides a mechanism for conforming current business licenses to the new term.

In addition, the measure provides that the business license fee is not a property tax, and requires annual audits of the taxes collected under the Richmond Municipal Code by the Audit Committee of the Richmond City Council.

The City estimates this Measure will generate about $26,462,500 in new revenue beginning in 2009, of which about $26,462,500 will come from manufacturing businesses.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of the Richmond Business License Act Measure T. If you desire a copy of the full text of the measure, please call the City Clerk's office at (510) 620-6513 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you. You may also access the full text of the measure on the city website at the following website address:

This election is archived. Any links to sources outside of Smart Voter may no longer be active. No further links will be added to this page.
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure T Arguments Against Measure T
More than 5,000 registered Richmond voters signed petitions to put measure T, "A Fair Share for Richmond", on the ballot. This is a completely volunteer driven, grassroots effort led by Richmond voters. No paid staff are involved in the campaign.

Measure T would upgrade Richmond's business license fee on large manufacturers. The new fee would be 0.25% of the value of raw materials they process, if this amount is more than their current fee. Large manufacturers, like Chevron, would be required to pay their fair share for operating so profitably in our city. The business license fee for landlords, retail, construction, service providers, restaurants and other non-manufacturing businesses would remain the same with NO increase.

To welcome new businesses to Richmond, the business license fee would be waived for all new businesses for up to the first 18 months of operation.

The City would receive an estimated increase in revenue of at least $16 million each year from Chevron, which refines about 240,000 barrels of oil per day. The Chevron corporation made $18.7 Billion in profit in 2007 and $11 Billion in profit in the first six months of 2008. That is more than $16 million in profit every 7 hours, so measure T will NOT be an unreasonable burden.

Directly invested in Richmond, this revenue could be used to train and employ thousands of at-risk youth, open recreation centers and libraries day and night, fix our streets, and substantially increase violence prevention efforts.

Measure T will not cost individual taxpayers a penny.

A vote for measure T is a vote for a better Richmond.

Learn more at

Tom Butt, Richmond City Council Member

Dr. Jeff Ritterman, Medical Doctor
Chief of Cardiology at Kaiser

Rev. Phil Lawson Richmond, Chair
Richmond Vision

Antonio Medrano, Faith Works and Concilio Latino

Jovanka Beckles, Educator,
Small Business Owner

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Don't be fooled! Measure T isn't a tax on Chevron + it's a job killer that will bankrupt small, locally-owned businesses in Richmond by forcing them to pay higher taxes which they cannot afford.

Measure T raises taxes on nearly every business in Richmond including bakeries, restaurants, and small grocery stores + likely driving these companies out of business or out of town.

Measure T is a tax on all of us + threatening good-paying jobs for Richmond residents. We should do more to keep jobs in our community, not drive them away.

Measure T will increase the cost of everything made in Richmond, including bread, gasoline and other essentials goods and services + unfairly impacting low and middle-income Richmond residents who can afford it the least.

Measure T unfairly taxes local businesses that provide Richmond residents with good-paying jobs, while letting out-of-town corporations who operate in our community pay nothing.

Richmond has worked hard to attract good-paying "Green-collar" jobs, including solar manufactures. Measure T will drive those businesses out of town by making it too expensive to operate in Richmond.

We are facing difficult economic times with many small businesses in Richmond struggling to make ends meet and avoid laying off local workers. Measure T will likely put many of those small, family-owned businesses on the brink of bankruptcy.

Richmond faces serious problems that require creative solutions. But Measure T is the wrong approach to solving the problems we face.

Richmond simply can't afford Measure T. Vote No on Measure T.

Alan Baer, President
Armor Locksmith Service

Rafael Madrigal, President
23rd St. Merchants Assn.

Paul Levitan, President & CEO
Galaxy Desserts

Mark Quilici, Operations Manager
California Casting Inc.

Cassandra Simmons, Owner
Cassandra's Wedding Cakes & Beyond

Measure T exempts low-wage retail businesses... and raises taxes on good manufacturing jobs.

It's not right to raise business taxes by a full .25% on all the manufacturing materials and then let low-wage companies pay nothing more.

Many low-wage employees have to take some form of welfare. Measure T exempts companies that pay those "welfare" wages.

Manufacturing jobs in Richmond - bakeries, refineries, solar panels, kitchen counters and cabinets - pay solid wages. Thousands of these jobs pay $20-plus wages with real health benefits.

The economy is in trouble. Manufacturing businesses are trying to avoid layoffs. We are fighting tough competition from foreign countries that pay lower wages. Do Richmond politicians think local manufacturing businesses can afford a .25% business tax on materials and not need to lay people off?

An August 7, 2008 the Contra Costa Times article reported the East Bay has lost 23% of its manufacturing jobs since January 2001 and the closing of yet another East Bay manufacturing facility.

Measure T's .25% tax will drive more manufacturing jobs away from Richmond and to other countries.

Both candidates for President say we should be bringing jobs back to America. We want to keep the good manufacturing jobs we still have in Richmond.

If the City wants to raise business taxes, then they ought to raise them a little bit for everyone... not a .25% increase just for manufacturing.

Vote NO on Measure T.

Rafael Madrigal, Owner
Rafael Madrigal Insurance

J.L. Hatchett
Sims Metal Management

Alan Baer, President
Armor Locksmith Service

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Measure T, "A Fair Share for Richmond," will bring hundreds of new jobs to Richmond: new service jobs, contracts with local companies, and partnerships with local non-profits.

Measure T will help Richmond advance towards a new and sustainable economy. Richmond residents could be employed in city services (libraries and recreation), fixing streets, solar installation, and servicing at-risk populations with crime and violence prevention tools.

Measure T will affect only a tiny fraction of Richmond's 68 licensed manufacturers. Companies will only be affected if 0.25% ( of 1%) of the value of their raw materials exceeds their current fee.

Green businesses like solar panel distributors and installers will not be affected. A manufacturer of countertops from inexpensive recycled materials is unlikely to be affected. A bakery with 200 employees would have to spend over $3.4 million on ingredients like sugar and flour before being affected.

By far the largest manufacturer in Richmond is Chevron, which continues to make record profits ($46.5 billion, January 2006-June 2008) while operating its refinery in a prime location on the Richmond shoreline. Less than 5% of Chevron employees are Richmond residents. It is fair to require that Chevron do more for Richmond.

Investing in Richmond will enhance the quality of life in the community, providing an environment that gives young working families a reason to stay while attracting new businesses to Richmond.

Measure T provides funds for job creation, a cleaner community, and a brighter future.

Vote YES on Measure T for Richmond's fair share.

Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor
City of Richmond

Jeannette Mahoney
El Sobrante Hill Neighborhood Council

John Gioia, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors
District One

Timothy Manhart,
San Pablo Ave. Merchants Association

Millie Cleveland, Service Employees Intn'l Union
Local 1021

Contra Costa Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: January 24, 2009 10:31 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.