The city of Yucaipa with a large cash reserve and boasting for years as doing a great job with their budget wants more in sales tax on the upcoming March 3 ballot. Approving Measure E will make Yucaipa the highest sales tax rate in our entire region at 8.25%.
As a Yucaipa resident and property owner for more than 30 years, I have witnessed our city government grow from a small and efficient operation to what it is today ... Entrusted city councils have lost their focus to provide essential services as being the most important. They have approved lavish office facilities, increase staff size in multiples, increase management pay and pensions to very expensive, and increase the overall cost of operations.
It is very disturbing that funds from Measure E can be used as general funds and will further attract spending concerns. Even worse, the city council routinely does not accept citizen input aimed at keeping services affordable.
Although it was well known back in 2015 that revenues to operate the paramedic program were no longer sufficient, the city council has made the program a main argument to increase our sales tax. Yes, we do expect staff to cover expenses without interrupting the quality of service and to stay within the approved budget. An approved subsequent budget for the following year should include adjustments made from the previous year. Additionally, city staff should always be prepared to adjust and balance spending and to anticipate pitfalls.
Taxing us more should not be the only option ... Increased taxes have consequences. An increase in city sales tax will impact all business in Yucaipa, especially small business owners and the Historic Uptown District. An increase will be felt immediately by all of us at the gasoline pump and more by those on fixed income buying essentials. Increasing property taxes is highly unfair, it affects only property owners and business in an unfair manner by placing the added tax burden on them and not everyone that benefits from the services being provided.
To help cover on-going inflation and unexpected expense, our city government should seek added opportunity to increase revenue without increasing taxes. They should gather information from agencies that don't rely on placing taxes on citizens, business, and property owners. Like CalPers and SBCERA, many successful agencies do well to generate substantial revenue from cash accounts.
We as voters and taxpayers must decide if we allow further run-away taxes with Measure E for there will be no turning back if it gets approved. Vote No on Measure E.