San Rafael Sales Tax Extension: Would You Vote for it?

Should San Rafael city officials ask voters to continue a half-cent sales tax after it expires in 2016? How would you feel if the tax was increased? Tell us in the Comments!


The San Rafael City Council unanimously OK’d Tuesday night the city spending $92,510 to have consultants assess if San Rafael officials should continue a half-cent sales tax beyond its 2016 expiration.

The consultants will also determine if the city should consider placing a higher tax measure on the ballot. 

Voters passed half-cent sales tax Measure S in 2005. It expires in 2016 and will need voter approval in either 2013 or 2015 to be continued, according to city officials.

The tax currently generates more than $6.5 million annually and funds elements of city services including police, fire, public works and library. The city’s annual general fund budget is roughly $58 million.

To pursue continuing the tax, the San Francisco-based TBWD Strategies will receive $70,000 from the city to produce educational materials and ballot language. TBWD will subcontract San Rafael City Schools board president and former San Rafael council member Paul Cohen of PMCohen Public Affairs to provide outreach to San Rafael business and residential communities.

Cohen has been on the school board since November 2007 and was a San Rafael council member from 1991 to 2007.

San Mateo-based Godbe Research will be awarded $22,510 to “coordinate closely with TBWD and PMCohen,” according to the San Rafael staff report.

Godbe Research has worked with the two latter firms in the past, conducted citizen satisfaction surveys and implemented a past tax measure feasibility survey for San Rafael.

Godbe will conduct a poll in late June and the council would decide in July if a tax measure should be put on the 2013 ballot. 

Most San Rafael voters will already be voting on another tax measure this year — San Rafael City Schools is holding a special spring mail-in election asking voters to renew a 24-year-old parcel tax.

In November, Marin voters approved Measure A, a quarter-cent sales tax increase, to preserve open space and farmland and repair park facilities. Measure A’s approval has brought San Rafael’s 2013 sales tax rate to 8.75 percent. 


How do you feel about these taxes? Would you support renewing the sales tax, or do you need more information about if? 


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    Leonard Ginsburg February 21, 2013 at 09:09 PM
    Why pay any tax simply go on the Internet and put brick and mortar businesses out of business. Almost a dime per dollar goes to the bottomless pit of government nine dollars per one hundred eighty eight dollars per one thousand...
    Kely Clarke February 21, 2013 at 11:09 PM
    I live in San Rafael, but go to other cities to do my shopping because of the lower sales tax. San Rafael needs to lower the sales tax and stop wasting our money!
    Harold H. February 22, 2013 at 05:23 AM
    Yes. I would vote AGAINST it.
    Reginald "Rex" Henderson February 22, 2013 at 07:17 AM
    And you, madame, are wasting money by driving distances, sitting im traffic, etc. just shop locally and pay the sales tax. you will be helpimg to keep a cop on the beat, and a teacher employed.
    Lynn M February 23, 2013 at 06:44 AM
    Poor plan - always more expense. It won't get my vote. The $92K plus consultation about this is another example of poor use of our tax dollars. Will governments ever learn to live within their means? Tax payer pockets have been well picked.
    Stephen K. Whittemore February 24, 2013 at 12:08 AM
    There is NFW a continuation of this sales tax after 2016 is justified. The mayor &city council are in the back pocket of the public unions and refuse to live within their means and lower the exceedingly high unfunded debt now hanging over the taxpayers head. The obvious need is to reduce expenditures, not increase revenue by adding additional taxes. If this thing gets on the ballot it should be met with a resounding NO. Stephen K.Whittemore San Rafael
    Mike Euritt February 25, 2013 at 03:04 PM
    I don't take a special trip out of city limit, or the county for that matter, to make purchases that cost me less. I make these purchases while I am out for other business. I dispute the sales tax income has helped them at all. My own business pays sales tax collected from customers, 5 years ago I was paying 3000 per quarter to the state, last year no quarterly was even half that, and based on the number of vacancies in the business dist, and talking to my own clients, business folks all, none of us are paying anywhere near what we used to. note to all governments: live within your means.
    Michael February 25, 2013 at 04:30 PM
    time to trim our sails and cut this tax. And we just started getting the spam from the school district on their attempt to add yet another assessment to our property tax bill. I already pay $194/yr for SR Elementary school bonds and $132.50 for SR High school bonds. Voters (not me) voted to approve pop 30 and all of the millions Gov Brown claims will go to schools (remember their claim (lie) about lottery money to schools). No more money to schools. No way we will accept more taxes even when they call them bonds. Marin county needs only 1 school district and administration. Until they make these administrative cuts and prove they are using all money 100% towards actual teaching, I say no more of my money to support schools. enough is enough. .
    Michael February 25, 2013 at 05:37 PM
    From the Marin IJ story today: **WHEN MICHELLE Garcilazo of Fairfax gave birth to her first son six years ago, she immediately placed him on a wait list for subsidized child care.** See the problem? This person has a child (and another) knowing she can't afford to take care of the child so she immediately runs to get on a waiting list for taxpayer subsidized child care? Why aren't we holding people like this responsible for their actions? Why would a person have a child knowing they can't afford to take care of it unless they have been so conditioned to believe that the taxpayers will simply give then what they can't provide. People like this now expect these handouts and give nothing in return for them. Nothing. Why am I as a taxpayer supposed to be responsible for this person's child care? This must end. Obama continues to promise everything to everybody and people like this simply line up for the taxpayer handouts. Enough is enough. No new taxes unless it is for common infrastructure used by all citizens. The taxpayer handouts to irresponsible people are insane.,
    Anne Adkisson March 01, 2013 at 05:29 PM
    Well said! I completely agree.


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