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The Madera Tribune

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Letter: Why I’m voting No on Measure L

February 28, 2017

The primary role of government, whether national, state or local, is to protect its citizens and enforce the law. As such, fire and police protection should be the first priority of our county’s discretionary funds.  Without safety and protection, nothing else matters.


But First means “First.” Spending on fire and crime protection should not be subordinate to increasing county workers’ salaries and pensions by millions over the past two years, and not subordinate to other county spending projects such as the proposed spending of over a million dollars on a Madera county monument sign off Highway 41, $311K to help finance an OHV park or leasing this property and opening up the county for massive liability suites, $185K to hire a consultant to tell Madera taxpayers they need to accept Measure L, over $100K for a special March 7, 2017, election and other frivolous discretionary spending.


I recently received my 70-page Voter Guide for the March 7, 2017, special election. Seventy pages! The June 7, 2016, voters’ guide I received only had 60 pages and covered multiple propositions, a whole slew of candidates and Measure C the $485 million bond for State Center Colleges. Measure C will generate more than double the projected $164 million from this sales tax, and yet got 1/3 the coverage of Measure L. This voter guide read like a propaganda piece in favor of Measure L and in my opinion a form of electioneering, and a complete waste of $100K+ of taxpayer money!


ISO fears: The major reason the ISO rates increased in 2015 for some property owners was because the Madera County Fire Department didn’t provide ISO with the requested information by the cutoff date. (Ref: Madera County Fire Marshal Deborah Keenan before BOS in April/2015) Now that those have been filed, the County’s ISO rates will adjust downward.  Madera County cannot guarantee property insurance rates will decrease if Measure L passes.


Government can never tax its way out of a problem. Giving more tax to bureaucrats is like giving drugs to an addict.


If Measure L passes it will only fund 25 percent of what the county fire fighters need to fully man all fire stations. Pennies per day add up to massive debt.  Next will come another scheme to take more of your money.


Higher taxes discourage people from moving or doing business in an area. People vote with their feet and wallets. According to the current statewide sales tax rates in California, if Madera County passes a 1% sales tax increase, the county sales tax in unincorporated areas will be 8.75%.  That would be one of the highest in the state — higher than SF or the Central coast.  And Madera County is a poor county!


Madera residents are already facing increasing taxes and fees such as the fire tax, the recently passed Measure C bond, a 12 percent increase in trash fees, a car registration fee increase of $65 per car which will go into effect in July, a 42 percent increase in gas taxes, not to mention the previous bond measure on Elementary, High School, State Center Community College and other bond measures and special assessments passed by voters in previous years.

 

Solution
It is not the role of government to run businesses, but to encourage them.  County governments, like households, need to operate within their budgets and come up with creative ideas to bring businesses to our county by keeping regulation and taxes at a minimum. Raising our sales tax will hurt this effort.


For more information go to: www.NoOnMeasureL.org


— John Pero,
Oakhurst

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