Monday, February 24, 2014

City campaign to increase Hayward's sales tax

Last week the Hayward City Council approved a contract amendment for political strategist Clifford Moss who's working toward the apparent goal of increasing the City’s sales tax. By doing so, a good $114,000 in consulting fees and an untold amount of staff costs will likely go to waste, as it's hard to believe Hayward voters will approve another tax.

It’s not that the proposed ½-cent increase is particularly steep; it’s the fact that we are facing the proverbial death by a thousand cuts. A little tax increase here, a special assessment there, mix in a bunch of new government fees, and we’re left choking on a long term financial burden for services we supposedly already fund by other means.

Aside from the usual property and sales taxes that fund essential services like police and fire fighting, we in Hayward have a special Emergency Facilities Tax and a 5.5-percent Utility Tax. Both of these are supposed to provide additional support to the City’s police and fire fighting capability. But somehow it's still not enough. So now, yet again, we are being asked to pony up even more.

But this won’t be the only sales tax proposal we'll face this year. According to a Contra Costa Times news article, the County Transportation Commission will be promoting an increase as well.

And have you reviewed your property tax bill lately? I have. In addition to my regular property tax, I have to pay over $300 for a dozen special assessments on my single family residence. This includes an assessment for “Mosquito Abatement,” “Mosquito Assess 2,” “Vector Control,” and “Vector Control B.” All of this begs the question: How many times do we have to pay for the very same thing?

Then of course there’s the government imposed fees on every bottled drink, every electronic screen, every stick of lumber, and every paper grocery bag just to name a few. And if those are not enough for you, don’t worry; there are plenty more on the way. Here are a couple you should be directing your immediate attention to:

Prior to last week’s meeting I sent a letter to the council members urging them to abandon this sales tax campaign to no avail; the item passed unanimously without discussion. Apparently, if this is to be nipped in the bud, the community as a whole is going to have to push-back and push-back hard. It’s time to get vocal and rally your neighbors and friends. Tell your Council members, and particularly those running for mayor, enough is enough; let’s live within our means and avoid an expensive campaign.


  1. Thank you for that, Larry. Very well written post and letter to the council! I totally agree.

    Furthermore, I believe the city's vision for Hayward is beyond our means. As a result of their actions, the streets of Hayward are meaner. Hayward's people are suffering.

    People showed up when the Council voted to stop feeding the hungry at city parks. They showed up when the city wanted to cut the wages of their own lowest paid staff once again. Who will show up now? How many will it take?

    Is this the last straw or the fatal cut?

  2. There is no end to the needs of our government as they continue their expansion and tax to meet there vision. The tax-paying population is shrinking smaller and smaller yet the government wants to grow bigger and bigger to implement and support their ever-expanding list of "things" that will be good for everyone. Of course this concept is unsustainable. If you support more taxation you are supporting this failed concept. Please do not support the increase in sales tax.

  3. Remember back in 2009 when radio station KNTS wished to build four radio towers on city of Hayward property near the Hayward Regional Shoreline close too 4 existing radio towers; not far from the Russell City Power Plant and not that far from the Dow Chemical "stack".

    For their 4 towers, KNTS would make a $5,000,000,000.00 "fee payment" and annual $60,000.00f lease payments of the City of Hayward.

    For a variety of reasons (mostly bogus in my opinion) the offer was rejected. I guess at the peak of the "Great Recession", Hayward didn't need the money. although about the same time the 5.5% utility tax went into affect which to date has cost me well over a $1,000.00.

    And now we need a .05% "temporary" sales tax increase. I don't think so.