STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton voters will go to the polls on Tuesday and decide on a three-quarter-cent sales-tax increase that would help the bankrupt city start to right its ship.
If passed by more than 50 percent of voters, Measure A would increase Stockton’s sales tax to 9 percent. Measure B would tell city leaders to spend 65 percent of that new revenue on law enforcement, and 35 percent on getting out of bankruptcy.
City leaders say they would be forced to make drastic cuts, including closing all libraries and reducing fire department funding if Measure A fails.
“If the tax doesn’t pass, we are facing an $11 million deficit,” said City Councilman Michael Tubbs. “We’ve been cutting for the past four years. What else do we have to cut?”
But opponents aren’t sold on that argument, saying other cuts can be made through the bankruptcy process, including reducing public pension payouts.
“We don’t buy it,” said David Renison with the San Joaquin County Taxpayers Association. “We think they are going to find a way. We think that if the measure does not pass, the city will be forced to doing what should have been done in the first place.”
In September, Measure A supporter Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) wrote a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama calling on Washington to support Stockton like it did bankrupt Detroit.
McNerney said a liaison to Congress talked with him for a half an hour, and they have another meeting planned later this week.
If the tax measure is approved, it will go into effect on April 1.