City council votes 4-1 to put measure on November ballot
A proposal to increase the Goleta sales tax by 1% — or 1 cent on every dollar — will be on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The Goleta City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to put the measure before voters.
If passed in November, the measure would provide approximately $10.6 million, which the city of Goleta says would be used to complete important unfunded projects, make repairs to aging streets and infrastructure, and fund the community’s priority programs. The city of Goleta moved ahead with the measure after seeing the results of research and a poll of residents.
If approved, the tax increase would take effect Jan. 1, 2024.
Councilman Roger Aceves voted against putting the 1% increase to the Sales and Transaction Use Tax on the general election ballot. He explained why during Tuesday’s meeting.
“I’m not supporting the motion for a number of reasons, and I will spell them out real quickly,” Councilman Aceves said. “I can’t support the tax because we are in an inflationary period, and we will go into a recession.
“The Fed just increased our interest rate by three-fourths of a percent, the highest in 30 years, and they said that they will continue to raise the rates this year at a rapid pace to slow the economy and to combat inflation,” Mr. Aceves said. “This Fed increase affects credit card rates, auto loans and mortgage rates. which are at their highest level since the 2008 recession.
“Gas tax will increase by three cents a gallon on July 1,” Mr. Aceves continued. “The ballot language lists everything we are required to provide with some exceptions, and we are saying we cannot budget to provide these services.
“As we proceed through these inflationary times, perhaps leading us into a recession, our constituents are going to have to find ways to reduce expenditures and provide for their family,” he said. “We must do the same. We must tighten our belts. It is for these reasons, among many, that I am not supporting placing this measure on the ballot.
“But should it go on the ballot, I would ask the council to allow me to provide a rebuttal argument against this tax,” Mr. Aceves said.
Councilman James Kyriaco, who’s running for re-election this year, explained why he supported putting the tax increase on the ballot.
“In the final analysis, I agree with the business community that I have spoken with, the environmental community that I have spoken with, the 16 businesses, owners, customers, managers, and staff, over 30 people that I spoke with along with a member of the public engagement commission in Old Town over this weekend,” Councilman Kyriaco said during the council meeting.”Twenty said yes (for the tax increase). Six said no, and four said maybe.” He said the people he talked to included Spanish-speaking residents.
“I agree with the Old Town community that I spoke with, the business community that I spoke with and the environmental community that we should put this on the ballot as not just a choice but a recommendation that they (the voters) will make the decision on,” Mr. Kyriaco said.
Councilman Aceves said he found a different result from his conversations with constituents.
“I polled, at this point, about 50 people, and I am continuing to do it every day. And of the 50, not one — not one — is supporting the tax measure,” he said.
Councilman Kyriaco responded, “And that’s why we let the professionals do it, (polling).”
Staff analysis, meanwhile, has led city council members to believe that inflation will have dropped dramatically by the time the tax increase takes effect in 2024.