The Board of Directors of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation recently evaluated two LA County ballot measures that impose new taxes: Measure M, which adds a half-cent to the current sales tax for transportation improvements, and Measure A, which increases property taxes for park improvements. The discussion of each couldn’t have been more different.
First off, let me say that the SCVEDC Board of Directors is an amazing group of business and civic leaders who are committed to the future economic vitality of the SCV. These dedicated individuals give their time, talent and treasure to support that goal.
But their agreement on the importance of economic development doesn’t mean they agree on all things, and certainly not on proposals for new taxes, and this reality showed itself during the debate on Measure M.
You can probably see the different perspectives on Measure M in the opinion pages of this paper – Supervisor Antonovich supports the measure, yet the Signal Editorial Board chose to oppose it.
After a lengthy debate, the SCVEDC Board voted to support Measure M. Let me explain a few of the key reasons why:
Those concerned about the measure were most worried that the promises made in the measure to finish the I5 project would be unfulfilled, a concern similar to that expressed by the Signal Editorial Board. To alleviate these concerns, SCVEDC secured a personalized letter from Metro CEO Phil Washington assuring us that, should Measure M pass, the project would be fully funded without toll lanes. This letter, addressed to me, specifically states that the project “is scheduled to commence construction in 2019. If Measure M passes, the construction project will be fully funded.”
I ask you to vote Yes on Measure M.
The conversation by the SCVEDC Board on Measure A had a different tone entirely. Unlike the extensive community engagement process followed to design Measure M, Measure A was hastily put on the ballot following the Independence Day holiday. In order to meet a deadline for the ballot, the measure was pushed through with limited analysis and virtually no public outreach.
Measure A would add a 1.5 cent per square foot parcel tax on all property in the County. The owner of a 2,000 square foot home would see a tax increase of $30/year, which will adjust upward each year with the cost of living. The money will be spent based on a Needs Assessment of which areas need the most park improvements. It’s not surprising that the Santa Clarita Valley, which has made creating parks a significant part of its development plan, is not a priority for funding. The tax will burden SCV residents and businesses without seeing much value to our region.
The SCVEDC Board conversation on this proposal was relatively straightforward: this measure is not fair in its assessment of tax or its spending plan.
I ask you to vote No on Measure A.
The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC) is a unique private / public partnership representing the united effort of regional industry and government leaders. The SCVEDC utilizes an integrated approach to attracting, retaining and expanding a diversity of businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley, especially those in key industry clusters, by offering competitive business services and other resources.