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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

SD Voters Will Decide On Sales Tax Increase

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The campaigns are now under way both for and against a potential sales tax increase in the city of San Diego. The City Council voted Wednesday to put the issue on the November ballot. The half-cent increase would also come with a list of financial reforms the city must make.

— The campaigns are now under way both for and against a potential sales tax increase in the city of San Diego. The City Council voted Wednesday to put the issue on the November ballot. The half-cent increase would also come with a list of financial reforms the city must make.

If approved by voters, the sales tax could not be implemented until San Diego completes a series of financial reforms. Those reforms include reducing the city’s retiree health care liability and reducing pension payments. The city auditor was chosen as the person to decide when San Diego can start to collect the tax.

Councilman Tony Young says the tax increase is not the answer to all of the city’s problems, but he says it will solve one of San Diego’s ongoing issues: the structural deficit.

"And that structural deficit that will be ongoing for the next five years is $70 million or more, ongoing, for the next five years. This will address the structural deficit if it does pass," Young said.

If approved, the sales tax increase would last for five years. It would generate more than $100 million annually for the city.

Councilman Carl DeMaio says the measure is misleading and continues a city pattern of asking the public for more money and providing fewer services.

"This ballot measure in essence continues the failed policies of the past, of saying one thing and doing another, of watering down reforms," he said.

The city’s labor unions have come out in support of the tax increase while many in the business community are opposed to it.

But there may be some potential business support. Both the local Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation support putting the issue on the ballot, but both say they need to study the final ordinance before deciding whether to support the actual increase.

If the tax is implemented it would expire at the end of 2017 at the latest.

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