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Smart Voter
San Mateo County, CA November 3, 2009 Election
Measure L
Sales Tax Proposal
City of San Mateo

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 8,258 / 61.2% Yes votes ...... 5,227 / 38.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 29 12:09pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (61/61)
27.8% Voter Turnout (77,340/277,759)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To maintain and protect City services and facilities, such as street and sidewalk maintenance and repair, fire protection and emergency medical services, police protection, neighborhood watch and crime prevention programs, libraries, community centers, recreation programs, and parks, shall the City of San Mateo be authorized to enact a one-quarter cent tax on sales for eight years with all proceeds placed in the City's General Fund with independent annual financial audits?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney of the City of San Mateo
If approved by a majority of the voters, Measure L would authorize an additional 1/4-cent tax on sales to be levied within the City of San Mateo. This 1/4-cent tax on sales would be a "general tax", meaning that the revenue raised from the tax would go into the City's general fund and may be used for any municipal governmental purpose. Municipal governmental purposes may include police and fire protection, library facilities, public works, street maintenance and repair, programs for seniors, parks and recreation services, and other governmental functions and services. This measure does not bind the City to use the proceeds of the tax for any particular services, facilities, or programs.

The 1/4-cent tax on sales would be levied in addition to the current sales tax and would be collected at the same time and in the same manner as the existing sales tax. Currently, the sales taxes in San Mateo (including state and local taxes) are nine and one quarter (9.25%) percent of the purchase amount. If this measure is approved, the sales tax in San Mateo will be nine and one half (9.5%) percent of the purchase amount.

As proposed, the authorization to collect this tax on sales will expire in 8 years. After that time, the tax on sales authorized by this measure would no longer be imposed.

State law authorizes the City of San Mateo to levy this 1/4-cent tax on sales (technically referred to as a transaction and use tax) following approval by two-thirds of the City Council and a majority of the voters voting in an election on that issue. The San Mateo City Council unanimously approved this tax on July 13, 2009.

If approved by a majority of the voters at the November 3, 2009 election, the 1/4-cent tax on sales would become operative on April 1, 2010.

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Arguments For Measure L Arguments Against Measure L
Save our Services! YES on L and M!

The Legislature's decision to balance state finances on the backs of local governments is a threat to essential City services and our families.

Amid the worst economic climate in a generation, our City employees and their families have voluntarily agreed to wage concessions and unpaid furlough days to help minimize the impact on local residents.

The City has managed its finances wisely. Difficult cuts have been made. The only way to prevent long-term harm to our community is with a temporary revenue increase.


If Measure L fails, the only places remaining to cut are indispensable frontline services like police, fire, emergency medical services, street maintenance, libraries, and parks. All are at risk for deep cuts. Recreation programs for youth and seniors would face complete elimination or substantial reductions in hours.


Measure L temporarily increases the local sales tax by 1/4 penny to help the City weather the crisis. That means someone spending $100 would pay only 25 cents more.


If passed, 100% of the revenue from Measure L will be returned to the City's general fund to help save essential services.


The City Council has already approved $4 million in budget cuts. Combined with the proposed tax on hotel visitors, Measure L will result in an equal amount of new revenue to the City. That's the kind of balanced, thoughtful money management people expect from government.

San Mateo firefighters, police officers, business owners, homeowners, and the entire City Council agree.

Let's finish the job!

Vote YES on L and M!

/s/ Brandt Grotte, May, City of San Mateo

/s/ Linda Asbury, President/CEO, San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce

/s/ Matt Turturici, President, San Mateo Fire Fighters Association

/s/ Rick Lenat, President, Library Board of Trustees

/s/ Melodie Law, Former Chair, San Mateo City Senior Commission; Former Member, San Mateo-Foster City School Board; Member, San Mateo County Commission on Aging

Rebuttal to Arguments For
None Submitted

No one could have predicted that the second half of 2008 would see the economy collapsing, unemployment rising, and home prices dropping. That is, no one could have predicted the timing of the bubble bursting. A recession following a boom is as inevitable as a politician asking for a tax increase and proper financial planning would have left the city able to weather the storm without having to adjust spending at all.

Eight years is too long. Even if saddling San Mateo residents who may already be struggling with layoffs and foreclosures with an additional expense were a good idea, eight years it not a temporary measure. Eight years ago we were in the midst of the dot-com collapse. Eight years from now today's high school freshmen will be done with college, will the city council finally have learned to spend within their means?

Vote NO to more taxes.

/s/ Kevin Dempsey Peterson, Treasurer, Libertarian Party of San Mateo County

/s/ John J. Hickey

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The two Libertarian Party politicians who oppose Measure L don't know our City or our track record. San Mateo has a history of making hard choices while providing residents with an opportunity to choose the quality of life they desire. The City prudently started imposing fiscal constraints and making significant budget cuts seven years ago - long before anyone was talking about a global recession.

Since 2002, we cut City payroll by 100 positions. Four years ago, the City reduced ongoing operating expenses by 15%. This year we cut another $4 million with City employees taking furloughs and giving up compensation increases.

Measure L is about choice for our residents. Before adopting the budget, the City Council surveyed residents to find out whether the shortfall should be solved by cuts alone or include tax revenue options. People overwhelmingly favored a balanced approach.

Measure L has broad support. Homeowners, renters, businesses, Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike all support Measure L because it's a modest, fiscally responsible and temporary response to the current economic situation.

A 1/4 cent is a small price to keep our community safe, keep libraries and fire stations open, keep recreation programs for seniors and youth operating, and ensure other services families depend on remain strong.

Draconian cuts that would result from defeat of Measures L and M would put our community at risk today and put homeowners and residents at a disadvantage once the economy recovers.

Cast your vote for a prudent balanced budget.

YES on L and M!

/s/ Brandt Grotte, Mayor, City of San Mateo

/s/ Linda Asbury, President/CEO San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce

/s/ Richard K. Decker, President, San Mateo Police Officers Association

/s/ Andrew Martinez, District Vice President, San Mateo Firefighter Association

/s/ Rick Lenat, President, San Mateo Library Board of Trustees

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Created: December 29, 2009 12:09 PST
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