More in Community Voices:
- Guest Opinion: 7 myths about Measure M September 20, 2020
- Guest Column: The good and the bad about Sac County’s latest budget September 16, 2020
- Guest Opinion: A revealing week regarding business & Measure M September 6, 2020
By Jim Monteton–
In the November election, Citrus Heights residents will be tasked with voting on Measure M, a proposed sales tax increase that, if passed, will take in millions of dollars every single year with no roadmap for where the money will be spent.
In the midst of a global pandemic with residents and businesses struggling to figure out how to make it, this is the worst time imaginable for the City of Citrus Heights to increase your taxes.
As a veteran and member of the American Legion Post here in Citrus Heights, I have seen how veterans who are living on fixed incomes struggle to make ends meet. Having served years in the United States Army Intelligence, I was proud to sacrifice for my country and am blessed to live in Citrus Heights, but the mismanagement of city resources is a burden upon myself and all of my veteran brothers and sisters.
Politicians are constantly making false promises of where taxes will be spent. They raised our gas tax and promised to fix our roads. They raised income taxes and promised to deal with mental health and homelessness. They collected millions of dollars, but the problems got worse because the money gets moved around. We should not give politicians even more of our tax dollars unless they guarantee where the money will be spent.
Unfortunately, with the way Measure M was written, there is absolutely zero guarantee that the money will be spent on the programs they claim. Citrus Heights could have made this a specific tax to ensure the funds would go to public safety and police, street repairs, and homeless programs. But they didn’t. They made it so they could just as easily spend it on pensions, and you have to ask yourself why.
Citrus Heights needs to be encouraging businesses to operate here, instead of choosing to operate in one of our neighboring jurisdictions. Measure M would bring our sales tax higher than Folsom and Roseville, and in line with the City of Sacramento.
Right now, business owners across the country are taking a long hard look at their business operations to figure out what makes the most sense for them. We simply cannot afford to lose our local businesses to our neighboring cities.
We are at a pivotal moment regarding the future of Sunrise Mall. There is a huge revitalization effort being made, and Measure M will kill all of our progress. In a recent survey of hundreds businesses that operate in the Sunrise Marketplace, a large majority of those who responded voted to oppose.
No one knows when the COVID-19 shutdowns will end, but we do know that people are struggling every day. Businesses cannot open and their employees are laid off — and many cannot even get unemployment benefits. But bills are still coming, and deferred rent payments are adding up and will eventually have to be paid.
The bottom line for our city is: stop spending and start managing. We need our leaders to work on getting people back to work and earning a living, not piling on new taxes. I urge you to vote NO on Measure M.
Jim Monteton is a longtime resident of Citrus Heights, a veteran and an active member in the local American Legion Post 637.
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