This election season, Alameda County has put two tax-related measures on the ballot. Measure V would sustain a 6.5% sales tax on unincorporated areas of the county to continue raising funds for crucial services, while Measure W would further the county’s goal of securing affordable housing for all with a 0.5% sales tax increase.
Here are The Daily Californian’s takes on these two fundraising measures and how folks should vote on them this November.
Measure V — YES
Within Alameda County, there are six unincorporated areas: Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo and Sunol. These regions depend on the services that the county provides, and Measure V will guarantee they get funding they need to keep running.
If passed, Measure V will simply sustain a 1992 6.5% sales tax on these unincorporated areas — or neighborhoods without a governing body — until June 30, 2033. No tax increase would be imposed, and existing tax exemptions for low-income residents would be extended.
Although opponents argue that Measure V will deposit tax revenue into the county’s general fund where they could be used for any purpose, since its implementation this measure’s revenue has wholly been committed to services for Alameda’s six unincorporated areas.
Residents of Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo and Sunol are wholly reliant on the county, including for COVID-19 testing and other vital services. To perpetuate the deliverance of these services, vote “yes” on Measure V.
Measure W — YES
Alameda County has an ambitious goal to secure available, affordable, diverse housing for all by 2026. But it’s going to need some funding to get there.
If passed, Measure W will levy a 0.5% sales tax for a 10-year period within Alameda County, generating about $150 million each year. This funding would predominantly go to housing and services for unhoused people, including mental health services and job training.
It is true that there is no clause within the measure ensuring the money would go directly to ameliorating the county’s housing crisis — it is currently written to go straight into the county’s general fund. But continuous oversight from Alameda County’s Citizen Oversight Committee and annual audits will ensure that this money will go where the people want and need it to go.
Overall, Measure W will substantially bolster Alameda County’s social safety net, allowing us to combat homelessness more effectively than ever.
Vote “yes” on Measure W.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the fall 2020 opinion editor, Katherine Shok.