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How Much is Marin's Natural Beauty Worth to You? Could Be Time to Pay Up

If county supervisors give the OK, there will be a nine-year sales tax increase on your November ballot.

How much are you willing to spend to preserve Marin's parks, open space and farmland? How about a quarter of a penny for each dollar you spend? How about doing that for nine years?

Voters, it's looking like that proposal will be on your November ballot.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors decided this week to schedule an Aug. 7 hearing on the merits of the temporary tax proposal to float Marin County Parks. That day is a make-or-break day for getting it on the Nov. 6 ballot.

According to a county staff report, it's taken decades of community effort to build and maintain a collection of land set aside for pastoral assets. The argument could be defended that such undeveloped lands and parks are a big reason why people want to live here.

Take a quick inventory and decide what you tend to use: McNear's Beach Park, Stafford Lake, Point Reyes Playground, Tiburon Uplands, Agate Beach, Indian Tree Preserve, Rush Creek Preserve, Bothin Park, Baltimore Canyon, Bald Hill, Mount Burdell ... the list keeps on going.

Now, a funding crisis has hampered the county's to take good care of that land. The annual budget of $12 million is considered insufficient to cover the scope of services and maintain what's been set aside. Parks staff has polled more than 600 voters and held three public meetings to gauge support, and the prevailing response was "take care of what you already have," according to the report.

Over nine years, the proposed tax increase would yield about $10 million per year for the cause. The money could allow the county to increase its land acquisition, too.

The deadline is approaching to get ballot language to the county registrar's office. The Aug. 7 meeting is only three days before the door is closed.

What are your thoughts about this? Read the language of the attached proposal. Share a comment below and vote in our survey.

C Ross July 30, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Ha ha, Don't think I could have said it better myself! But, I think there's a point being missed here. Why should I have to pay a tax to enjoy "natural" beauty? I'm tired of supporting self-serving and mismanaged bureaucracy. If our supervisors care about preserving our parks let them get out there and volunteer to do it themselves. PS They've already made it clear that they don't listen to people like me -- Eh, Susan? So, it figures they scheduled a hearing on a day I've got jury duty. ;)
Chad July 30, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Michael, I totally agree with you 100%. The way the government pays employees' and gives them all of these special perks totally erodes the idea of the American Spirit. Why would anyone run a small business, or try to be an entrepeneur if you could just get a government job and retire with benefits. The way things are going, everyone is going to either work for the government or be a slave of the government. It's pretty scary to me.
John Ferguson July 30, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Thanks Brent - the temporary tax proposal is pretty straightforward but there's no detail to how the money would be spent. That appears to be referenced as 'Exhibit A' within the proposal text. Any chance of getting that attached as well? In any case, this seems to be a 'run it up the flagpole' sort of effort. Because the bar is high (2/3 vote), they are probably floating the proposal now not because they think it will pass in the current election but because having it appear in successive elections makes it seem more crucial and thus more likely to pass the 2nd or 3rd time around. I wouldn't worry about this one just yet..
Rico July 31, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I say, do away with all retirement pensions. That means (especially) no 401 K's or any other type of money sucking scam. Let all workers and free agents, both public and private, pay for and manage their own retirement plans, or choose not too, and take care of their own financial situations. Let's face it, the financial system is in the toilet. Why do people insist that everyone participate in money looting 401K's. It really doesn't matter if a worker is self employed, works for a corporation or the government, NOBODY should be losing money by paying into retirement scams, and the same goes for private health care insurance scams. Just do what I did, JUST SAY NO TO ALL OF IT. There is no law that requires all citizens of the U.S. to donate to these criminal corporate welfare funds
Michael July 31, 2012 at 03:07 AM
I can't disagree with you Richard. The days of the company pension are long gone. Now it is only government workers who are getting these benefits all at the expense of the taxpayers. Our government has even robbed social security to pay for its own programs and nobody stops them! And government workers are continuing to receive standard pay that is higher than the private sector. And what the hell do all of these government workers do for the taxpayer? The real problem we have is there are now so many government workers either receiving or waiting to receive these benefits it will be challenging to get any elected officials to work for the taxpayers who fund this because we are now in a minority! Look what happened recently when they tried to put an end to the insane government benefits in Wisconsin. You would have thought we were going to go to war. Look at what Obama is doing. He continues to allow the fed to create money out of thin air to pay for our debt. He spends spends spends and for what? The majority of our debt and spending is to fund our HUGE government and our employees including lucrative retirement benefits. It is total insanity and there is not a single elected official doing anything about this. Why would they as they themselves are government employees. I am open to any idea that might work on how to take back control.

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