Some of our Mayoral and City Council candidates have described Hayward’s proposed sales tax increase as “nothing to cry about” and a mere “a drop in the bucket.” Apparently they view this tax as nothing more consequential than losing a few pennies from their pockets.
A more considered perspective would be to view the proposed increase from 9 to 9½-percent for what it really is: a 5½-percent tax hike. And should the November county transportation sales tax measure also be successful, the move from 9½ to 10-percent (the highest rate in the state) will equal an additional 5-percent increase or an overall 11-percent increase of our sales tax in just 6-months.
Consider the ramification in the context of cumulative spending over time. Over the course of two decades (the duration of the proposed tax), a typical household will spend many tens of thousands of dollars on the purchase of taxable items, such as: vehicles, vehicle fuel, parts and supplies, home remodeling, home maintenance items and tools, appliances, furniture, TVs, computers, cell phones, clothing, toys, gifts, carbonated and alcoholic beverages, dining out, pet food and supplies, etcetera. All this adds up. The typical household will wind up spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more in sales tax.
Also consider the consequences in the context of business operations. Hayward is fortunate to have a large commercial/industrial business sector that generates much of the city’s sales tax revenue. Many of these companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on materials and supplies every single year. And most of them are competing in a global market where every penny counts. Aside from decreasing the desirability of their products among California buyers, increasing our city’s sales tax discourages them from making any substantial business-to-business purchases in Hayward.
Don’t expect others to shop Hayward first either. Never mind those who will shop out-of-state retailers via the Internet. Consider those families in San Lorenzo who currently prefer to shop Hayward’s Costco, Home Depot, Macy’s, Kohl’s, etcetera over those very same stores located in San Leandro simply because Hayward’s sales tax is currently a quarter percent less than San Leandro’s. Such frugality might seem incredulous to some, but in the context of cumulative spending over time, the savings are measureable and obviously desired. And possibly more motivating to those who make this choice is the principle of supporting more efficient governance by voting with their wallets. Approving Measure C reverses this equation, as Hayward’s sales tax will wind up being a quarter-percent more than San Leandro’s. Hayward’s sales tax will also wind up being a half-percent more than Pleasanton’s and Newark’s, thereby putting retailers at Southland Mall at a disadvantage to those located at the popular Stoneridge Shopping Center and the increasingly attractive NewPark Mall.
Hayward building contractors competing with contractors that commute in from outside of the county are going to find themselves at a greater disadvantage as well. The sales tax rate in Modesto, for example, is only 7.625-percent. Should Hayward’s sales tax be 10-percent by the end of the year, contractors commuting with their supplies purchased from the Modesto area will have a 2.375-percent purchasing advantage on top of their already lower cost of doing business. And believe it or not, contractors are commuting into Hayward from as far away as Sacramento.
Finally, consider that the Measure C tax is just one of several we’ll be facing in short order. By the end of the year we can also expect the aforementioned transportation sales tax as well as other new taxes proposed by AC Transit and the Hayward Unified School District. Of these, Measure C will be the only one whose outcome will be decided solely by Hayward voters. This, in conjunction with the expectation that voter turnout will be abysmally low, means that your vote in this election will greatly influence the amount of future sales tax you pay in Hayward; so be sure to vote.
And when you do vote, should you find yourself wondering if Measure C represents anything more than a few pennies from your pocket, keep this incredible fact in mind: it will take nine-Billion pennies just to pay for the City’s promised library. It will take many more to deliver on the City’s other Measure C promises. Do you really have that much spare change?
Vote No on Measure C