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Seaside Tax Groups Seeks to Repeal Utility Tax

Press Release No. 1
July 15, 2008


SEASIDE: Today the Seaside Taxpayers Association submitted 450 signatures to qualify a ballot measure to repeal the city’s 6% utility tax. Eugene Lee, a former high school teacher at Seaside High and chairman of the Seaside Taxpayers Association, said that it is time to end this so-called temporary tax that should have expired in the 1990s.”

The former mayor of Seaside, Lance McClair, said “the 6% utility tax was supposed to be temporary tax.” McClair was surprised to learn that the utility tax was still being collected in Seaside.

“Unfortunately,” Lee said “governments do whatever it takes to perpetuate the flow of taxpayer dollars even at the expense of good fiscal judgment and truthfulness.” He said that Seaside has a serious problem with an “over-generous retirement program.” Almost 40 public Seaside employees make over $100,000 a year, an increase of 144 percent since 2006. “Paying more and more in taxes is like trying to fill a bucket punctured with holes,” Lee said.

The Seaside Taxpayers Association also maintains that at least half of the 6 percent tax is illegal; the City of Seaside never put the utility tax up for an official vote of the people, as required under the Jarvis-Gann Amendment.

“Most cities do not have taxes on utilities,” said Lawrence Samuels, vice-chair of the Seaside Taxpayers Association and a leader in the Libertarian Party of Monterey County. “One reason is that it appears that the state of California never gave cities the authority to tax utilities. Only a major court case will settle this dispute.”

“Further, the city just got a huge infusion of money,” Samuels said. Measure R, The 1 cent sales tax increase that was passed earlier this year, is estimated to provide a new revenue stream of approximately $6 million this fiscal year. The repeal of the utility tax will give back a little over $2 million to Seaside citizens.
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Attached: list of city employees making over $100K in 2006 and 2007.

Contact Information: Lance McClair: 831-262-5885 (said utility tax was temporary – former Mayor of Seaside) mcclair4@sbcglobal.net

Rick Pati at 899-6767, Seaside City Accountant, figures for projected $6 million from Measure R

Dafney Hodgson, 899-6718 Seaside’s Deputy Service Manager concerning the revenue stream for the utility (2006-07 at $2.2 million, 2007-2008 at $2.3 million.



Last Updated: Jul 30, 08

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