Voters agreed with opponents of Measure Z that one cent sales tax was not worthy of their support given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic along with the absence of a specific spending plan.
The latest updated count on Friday widened the “no” vote lead to 1,221 votes effectively killing the proposed City of Manteca sales tax increase.
The no voters were at 14,365 (52.22 percent) against and 13,144 (47.78 percent) in favor.
The no forces led by Manteca businessman David Tenney stayed focused on their message. They crafted a professional quality campaign arguing against the measure drawing extensively on comments by City Council members who had voted unanimously to place the tax increase proposal on the ballot and then tried to distance themselves from it. Council members opted not to say they favored the tax increase, but instead insisted “it was for voters to decide” and not them.
The only exception was Mayor Ben Cantu who actively campaigned for the passage of the tax measure.
When it was originally placed on the ballot in July, it was framed as a measure that would generate $12 million to help address streets and public safety needs as well as help provide additional amenities.
Just under a week before the election, the city was able to get a clearer picture of the financial hit the city’s general fund is taking from the economic fallout from the pandemic. Sales tax revenues are taking at a rate of 14.7 percent and other losses of revenue such as hotel room taxes has created at least a $6 million shortfall in projected general fund revenue needed to pay for police and fire services, streets, and other city services such as parks and recreation.
The assumption that Measure Z would raise $12 million was based on the one cent the city already collects in sales tax for the general fund.
The earliest the City Council could place a tax measure on the ballot under state law that requires tax measures only appear on general election ballots is 2022. That happens to coincide with the next Manteca mayoral race.
The city would have two shots at a sales tax measure — the primary election in March 2022 and the general election in November 2022.
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