Most Sales Tax Initiatives Passed in California

As the dust settles on the November 2016 election, our city leaders have vowed to move on and reconvene to live within our means. The wide margin failure of Measure D – the proposed half-cent general sales tax increase intended to boost funds for public safety – has many in the community scratching their heads in search of future solutions for safer streets and neighborhoods.

In the thirty days following the election, I looked at fifty-nine other cities in California that proposed similar revenue increasing measures to see if I could find any clues as to why most cities were successful in asking for more funds for public safety and other services. After all, 85% of the other proposed general sales tax measures in the state passed.

Initially, I was inclined to share my full analysis of the election. Upon further reflection, I have decided that it is more important to look to the future rather than dissect the past. Our community needs to heal the divide between our leadership and its citizens in order to move forward. This will happen if we come together in the spirit of collaboration and start to use successful strategy found in other cities as a guidepost for our own operations.

For this reason, I wish to publish the raw data of a portion of my findings to allow the public to draw its own conclusions. I hope it provides additional insight that will be useful in elections to come.

The following database is a collection of data from sixty cities that had a general sales tax ordinance on the California November 2016 ballot. The highlighted rows depict cities that split their sales tax proposal into two measures – a tax measure and an accompanying advisory measure. Political preference data was determined by county using a map provided by the Public Policy Institute of California. The marketing column shows what other cities did to promote or oppose their measures. More marketing may exist. This information was what was readily accessible on Google.

If anyone has any questions on my specific findings, please message me on Facebook at Facebook.com/rockyslaughter

I wish you warm and happy holidays!

Rocky Slaughter

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