After a heavy dispute about how the city of San Luis Obispo has used funds from a sales tax first approved eight years ago, voters have given the nod to yet another round of supplementary funds.
Measure G, which adds a half-percent sales tax to all purchases within the city, passed by a comfortable margin. The tax will generate many millions for a general-use fund, becoming a continuation of Measure Y, approved in 2006. Measure G came under fire from opposition that included previous supporters of Measure Y who said the city didn’t use the $36 million generated from Measure Y as they said they would. Some funds went to raises and new salaries for city employees, said opponents of Measure G. Funds have been used for stated services, including enhanced fire and public safety, downtown beautification, road repairs, and increased city services (some of which required new staff positions). There was some gray area in how funds were used, sparking a debate. Measure Y’s extra funds were a bit of a lifeline for the city in tough times.
This time around, Measure G will create an oversight committee to watch over the nest egg that the tax will generate for eight years before eclipsing. There’s a good chance that the continued half-percent sales tax will generate more than $36 million this time, as the economy is again in an upswing—but then again, who knows what the future will bring?
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay