Top 10 Flaws in the San Diego Sales Tax Hike

Carl DeMaio Carl DeMaio 1 Comment


Not surprisingly, the City Council today advanced the dubious Sales Tax Ballot Measure.

Put simply, San Diego taxpayers deserve better than a tax increase masquerading as “reform.”  That’s why we are putting together a broad-based campaign to defeat this deceptive measure – and to articulate a bold and effective reform agenda.

If you are willing to help with the campaign, please email our campaign at ASAP!

As we are getting started, if you could consider a donation, I’d appreciate it!  Here’s an online link:

In the meantime, here’s a TOP TEN LIST of the FLAWS IN THE SALES TAX HIKE


Top 10 Flaws With the San Diego Sales Tax Proposal

City politicians and their labor unions friends support the “Dash for Cash” Ballot Measure.  After years of resisting common-sense reforms and pursuing expensive civic projects, they have run out of time and money.  Their only solution is a desperate “dash for cash,” seeking to raise the sales tax on San Diego’s working families.

The ballot measure shamefully uses a veneer of so-called “reforms” to try to sell the tax increase to the public that hungered for reforms for years.  Politicians are willing to use the language of reform, but have cleverly concocted a ballot measure with intentional flaws and loopholes.

Flaw #10: It’s A Bailout Without A Return-on-Investment for Taxpayers

Taxpayers are being asked to shell-out $103 million in higher taxes each year, but the proposal offers no concrete cost savings guarantee in return.  Putting aside the fact that the so-called concessions in the measure are things politicians should already be doing, there is no dollar-for-dollar match between the higher taxes for San Diegans and concrete cost savings in the city’s budget.

Flaw #9: A Blank Check With No Accountability for Reforms

There are zero guarantees that most of the reforms in the ballot measure will actually be implemented. Worse, the ballot measure contains highly nebulous, and in most cases patently meaningless, language or standards for reform. Many of the so-called “concessions” merely require a “study” or “guide” be completed rather than actual implementation.

Flaw #8: Taking Credit For Reforms Already Underway

Taxpayers should be offended that the reforms in the ballot measure are offered as “concessions” even though most of them already are the law of the city.  The City Charter requires “substantially equal” pension contributions; municipal code already calls for a DROP cost neutrality policy, labor contracts already have “me-too” requirements to reform safety pensions, bids for IT services and landfill operations already have been sought.

A labor union official let the cat out of the bag when he admitted during the hearing “Most of these issues don’t apply to us because we are already ahead of the game on that.”  In referencing the reforms, another labor union chief admitted taxpayers already obtained the so-called concessions in the ballot measure when admitting: “We already dealt with them in our first round of negotiations.”

Flaw #7: Retiree Health Care Provision Is Trojan Horse Reform

Instead of committing to reform the health care liability down to the current cash-funded level, the ballot measure merely calls for a reduction in the liability – not a reduction in the cost of the benefit.  This provision of the ballot measure is significant and may actually lead to increased costs to taxpayers rather than any savings.  Worse, it may result in a “binding” deal on taxpayers.

Flaw #6: Fails to Reform City Employee Pension Contributions

In addition to requiring taxpayers to foot the bill for the entire employer pension payment and the entire unfunded pension liability, the ballot measure explicitly continues the practice of subsidizing a portion of the city employees’ expected contribution for the pension.  This violates the spirit of the City Charter – and would put San Diego behind other cities leading the way on pension reform.

Flaw #5: Politicians’ Pensions Still Will Get Subsidized

The ballot measure carefully chooses words to protect a massive subsidy by city taxpayers on the pensions of city politicians – a subsidy that is not covered in the “pick-up” cost but in a rate structure mandated by city politicians on the pension system.

Flaw #4: No Commitment to Fair and Open Competitions

The ballot measure relies on a flawed and unfair process for managed competition that gives city employees numerous advantages over outside bidders.

Flaw #3: Beware Bait and Switch – No Prohibition Against Salary Increases

City labor unions have repeatedly asked for salary increases to replace any elimination of “pick-up” on pension contributions.  The ballot measure provides no prohibition against salary increases for city employees.

Flaw #2: Sales Taxes Are Regressive – Hit Working Families Hardest

The ballot measure selects the most regressive of tax increases that will hit San Diego’s working families the hardest.  Worse, there are no guarantees that city politicians will give up on other tax and fee proposals still being considered – such as trash fees, storm water fees, parking fees, etc.

Flaw #1: Sales Tax Proposal Does Not Solve City’s Fiscal Problems

Sales tax proponents falsely claim that the measure will “finally fix the ongoing budget deficits.”  This is patently false – as the measure does not address the skyrocketing annual pension cost increases in the city’s budget.  Taxpayers can expect more service cuts and tax increases.

It Only Gets Worse: Check Out Our 100 “Unanswered and Troubling” Questions About the Blank Check Sales Tax Proposal!

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