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Smart Voter
Humboldt County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Measure I
Transactions & Use Tax
City of Trinidad

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 91 / 51.70% Yes votes ...... 85 / 48.30% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 5 12:44am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (1/1)
63.7% Voter Turnout (176/284)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |
Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
THE PROPOSAL: Measure "I" asks the voters whether the City of Trinidad should approve a 0.75% (three-quarters of 1%) increase to the transaction and use tax rate (commonly known as the "sales tax") for four years. Voter approval of this Measure would implement this 0.75% tax as described below, for a period of four years only, effective April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2013.

THE WAY IT IS NOW: The current 8.25% sales tax on retail goods purchased within the City of Trinidad is actually a combination of (1) the state sales tax and (2) the local sales tax. The state sales tax is 6.25%, and is controlled and spent by the State; the local sales tax is 2%, and is controlled and spent by the City. The local sales tax rate of 2% currently includes a 1% increase approved by Trinidad voters in 2004. This current 1% tax from 2004 is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2008 of its own accord and is not a part of this Measure "I".

HOW IT WORKS: The local sales tax in the City of Trinidad--including the current additional 1% approved by the voters--is imposed only on (1) sales of most retail goods that occur within the boundaries of the City of Trinidad, or (2) certain items (e.g., cars) purchased outside of the boundaries but only if the purchaser lives within the boundaries of the City of Trinidad. The way it is imposed, what it is imposed on, and the procedure for collecting it are all governed by state law. It does not apply to items which state law exempts from sales tax.

HOW IT IS USED: The sales tax is a general tax; all revenue generated by the local sales tax goes into the City's General Fund where it is used to fund essential government services provided by the City. These services include, but are not limited to, police and fire protection, street and public facilities, park, trail and environmental maintenance and protection, and services provided by the Town Office. Police and fire protection support services are also provided through these funds to surrounding communities on a limited basis.

A "YES" VOTE MEANS: A "Yes" vote will implement an additional 0.75% local sales tax through March 31, 2013. This will place the sales tax rate in Trinidad at 8.00%.

A "NO" VOTE MEANS: A "No" vote will disapprove the proposed 0.75% local sales tax. This will place the sales tax rate in Trinidad at 7.25%

REQUIREMENT TO PASS: Measure "I" requires a majority (50% + 1) of those voting in order for it to pass.

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Arguments For Measure I Arguments Against Measure I
At the July 23, 2008, Trinidad City Council meeting, two formerly opposing citizen's groups agreed to compromise on a sales tax increase ballot measure. One group supported a 1/2% increase; the other a full 1% increase. A compromise 3/4% tax increase was agreed upon. If this new Measure "I" passes, the combined tax rate will be 8%, which is 1/4% less than the current rate. This new four-year tax would begin on April 1, 2009.

Trinidad will be entitled to keep all of the funds generated by the 3/4% sales tax compromise, or approximately $110,000 per year. Much of this revenue will support the Police and Fire Departments. The remainder will fund other important local services, infrastructure maintenance, matching funds for grants, and support of Trinidad's civic organizations.

Because of California's current budget crisis, cities will receive less revenue from Sacramento. If residents value the quality of life that is in part due to dependable City services, we need to be self-reliant by generating our own sources of revenue.

Trinidad's small population limits our ability to generate revenue needed to provide important local services. Sales tax is the most effective and equitable way to secure this needed revenue. Purchases by tourists generate a large percentage of the sales tax revenue and helps pay for their use of our town's facilities.

The City Council is committed to eliminating illegal sales tax charges to the residents outside the City limits as they are not allowed to vote on City issues. A Citizens' Advisory Committee will be established to monitor spending of Measure "I" funds.

Join us and many other Trinidad residents in supporting Measure "I" by voting YES on November 4.

s/ Glenn Saunders
s/ Tom Odom
s/ Pat Morales
s/ Kathy Bhardwaj
s/ Stan Binnie
s/ Don Ratzlaff

The proposed City of Trinidad General Revenue Transaction and Use Tax creates an undue hardship and incidental tax burden on the approximately 2,100 taxpayers who reside in zip code area 95570 adjacent to and outside of the City of Trinidad. If approved this initiative, which is intended to only tax Trinidad citizens and levy a tax on purchases made within the City, would require these non-residents (residing in zip code area 95570) to pay an additional of one percent sales tax on merchandise purchased and delivered to them outside of the City. Items taxed include major purchases such as new and used cars, RVs, appliances and also include catalog and internet purchases. While there is a process to recover the additional charged taxes, the process is cumbersome at best and is subject to stringent Board of Equalization rules and procedures and requires vendor cooperation.

On April 8th of this year the citizens of Trinidad wisely voted down a similar one percent tax and the Humboldt Taxpayer's League once again urges a No vote on imposing this unfair hardship and incidental taxation upon your neighbors.

s/ Clifford B. Chapman, Sr. Executive Director, Humboldt Taxpayer's League

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The argument against Measure I is based on a factual error: that it taxes people who live outside the City. This is not correct.

The California Board of Equalization's website clearly states that people living outside the City limits should NOT be charged! They instruct merchants to use street addresses, not zip codes, to decide sales tax charges.

Trinidad will do all it can to eliminate illegal collection of the tax. Here is our plan:

Address database: The Board of Equalization website will link to a list of addresses within the City limits. Merchants can check the list to see if a customer lives in the City.

Wallet card: County residents can show this card to merchants to refer them to the address database.

Outreach to merchants: The City will send letters to local car and RV dealerships, reminding them to charge the sales tax ONLY to City residents.

Information Leaflets: The City will provide information to non-residents to inform them of their legal rights and how to avoid paying the % tax.

Citizens' Advisory Committee: This committee will monitor collection and spending of the % tax revenue.

California's budget crisis has resulted in less revenue coming to the City. We will have to pay more of our own costs if we want to keep Police, Fire and other services.

People living outside the City also benefit from these services. They receive part of their police and fire protection through Mutual Aid agreements with the City, and they use City facilities including Town Hall, trails, and parks

Please vote YES on Measure I to fund public safety and other services that benefit area residents both inside and outside the City limits.

s/ Don Ratzlaff
s/ Stan Binnie
s/ Kathy Bhardwaj

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:33 PST
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