SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- San Francisco Props J and K are unethical measures that would divert money from needed public services into San Francisco's already bloated General Fund. SaveMuni opposes J and K because they fail to materially improve transportation in San Francisco.
Despite collecting $150 million a year in new San Francisco sales taxes, little if any of the funds raised would find their way to the tasks needed to actually improve Muni and San Francisco's other public transit systems. Even if the mayor and supervisors voluntarily followed the non-binding allocations set forth in Prop J, only 12.6 percent of the money raised would go to the SFMTA to do what's most needed.
SaveMuni opposes both measures and denounces the deceptive manner in which they have been presented to the voters. California State Law prohibits more than one subject from being included in a single state ballot measure, yet Prop J includes four distinct subjects: homelessness, transportation, planning and street paving. Combining different subjects in this manner undermines the ability of the voters to make logical choices. If the framers of J and K had been straightforward, the two propositions would have been combined into a single measure that set forth and described how the money was going to be used.
As now arranged, Prop J and Prop K each requires only a "50 percent plus one" vote, versus the two-thirds majority normally required of tax-raising measures. And, as things stand, Prop J is strictly advisory, meaning that anyone voting yes on J and K is trusting San Francisco's elected officials to use $150 million a year wisely for the next 24 years.
"We cannot endorse what amounts to gamesmanship by city hall," said Howard Wong of SaveMuni. "San Francisco has a $9.6 billion budget, more than that of 13 U.S. states and many countries. In the last few years, people have already contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the SFMTA via property taxes, sales taxes, bonds, fares, fees and fines, but this has not resulted in meaningful improvement in either public transit infrastructure or needed transit services."
According to Jerry Cauthen, also of SaveMuni, "In the last few years, Muni's average 24-hour vehicle speed has dropped by 13 percent, its schedule adherence has hovered around a dismally low 60 percent, its per capita ridership has declined, and the traffic congestion in San Francisco has gotten noticeably worse. What San Francisco transportation needs is smarter priority-setting and better decision-making, not more taxes."
According to the San Francisco controller, "Should the proposed charter amendment be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would significantly increase the cost of government."
Opposition to the sales tax hike comes from multiple groups including: SaveMUNI, the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco Tomorrow, the Chinese American Democratic Club, the San Francisco Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, SF Berniecrats, the District 3 Democratic Club, ENUF, the Bay Area Transportation Working Group, the Council of District Merchants Associations, and the San Francisco Taxpayers Association. The measures are also opposed by San Francisco supervisors Aaron Peskin, Norman Yee and Jane Kim.
Props J and K should be summarily rejected. Vote NO. For more information on these two destructive propositions, go to: www.SaveMuni.org.
SaveMuni was established in 2010 as an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization to help find ways of improving Muni and the other transit services leading into and serving San Francisco. SaveMuni looks for ways to make the transit services more convenient for riders and would-be riders. This involves making the connections between services more efficient, reducing transit trip times, and improving on-time performance and safety. For more information, visit www.savemuni.org.
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