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Impartial analysis of Measure D

Dana McRae, County Counsel
By Jane M. Scott, Assistant County Counsel

If this measure is approved by at least two-thirds of those voting on it, it will enact ordinance no. 2016-01 of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission.   The ordinance will cause the retail transactions and use tax rates (“sales tax”) imposed within Santa Cruz County to increase by half of one percent for a thirty-year period in order to pay for the transportation projects described in the ordinance and its expenditure plan which are printed in the ballot pamphlet.  If approved, it is expected to take effect in or around April 2017.

The ordinance sets out accountability requirements, as well as exemptions and exclusions from the new tax.   It also establishes that the constitutional appropriations limit will include the taxes which are collected.The sales tax increment proposed by this measure would apply within the cities as well as the unincorporated areas of the County.    Those jurisdictions have differing sales tax rates for the transactions within their boundaries.   Currently and prior to this proposed increase, the sales tax rates are:   8.75% within the cities of Capitola, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley; 9.0% within the City of Watsonville; and 8.25% in the unincorporated areas of the County.   Following this election, the rates would be subject to further change as might be permitted or required by State law. 

This election was requested by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, and was called by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors as requested by the Commission.

A “yes” vote is to adopt the ordinance and approve the increase in the sales tax. 

A “no” vote is against the increase in the sales tax.