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– Sacramento Business Journal  –


The Sacramento Region Business Association is voicing doubt about area governments’ ability to responsibly spend revenues generated from proposed new sales taxes.

That’s why the group has come out in opposition to three proposals, to appear on ballots in November, that would raise sales taxes in cities across the Sacramento region.

Region Business’ positions contrast with those of other local business groups. The Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership are supporting a sales tax increase in Sacramento to help fund services such as police and fire and to invest in the city’s underserved neighborhoods.

“Our concern is that we’re providing a blank check with no accountability,” said Joshua Wood, CEO of Region Business, in an interview with the Business Journal.

The measures opposed by the organization are Measure U in Sacramento, Measure E in Folsom and Measure B in Roseville. Each would increase the city’s sales tax as a general tax, which means the city cannot predetermine how the revenues are spent. While this grants cities flexibility to determine where there is the greatest need for additional investment, critics say it could result in tax revenue being diverted from uses preferred by residents.

Wood said that the increased taxes will strain area businesses.

“We have skyrocketing costs on businesses, on top of wage increases and new regulations,” he said. “The higher taxes will result in even more costs having to be passed on to customers, which will make it harder to sell products and services.”

The tax increase would bring the city’s sales tax to 8.75 percent — the highest in the region, tied with Isleton.

“I think they’ve lost their compass,” Region Business’s Wood told the Business Journal. “You don’t grow a private-sector economy by raising taxes.”