Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sales Tax Election 2010

One of the two local measures on the November election is a re-authorization of the current 1/2 cent 4B sales tax for economic development. We plan on publishing a series of articles where we look at the issues surrounding this measure in depth and get some little known and critical facts before the public. We will try to fill in some of the missing numbers to help create context and clarify real impact. We will cover subjects like what's at stake in this election, what is a 4B sales tax and what can it be used for, local water history, local tax history, the Hickory Aquifer and alternative long term water possibilities, the impact of this proposal on our water bill, and a look at the special projects that are part of the measure we will vote on in November.

A disclaimer is needed here. I actively campaigned against the previous 2 sales tax propositions. Conchoinfo grew out of the last sales tax campaign. I am not automatically against optional sales taxes such as the 4B sales tax we have today. They can be useful and do have their place. Still, I have some serious concerns about what is being put before the voters, and I keep finding problems with the Hickory Aquifer and how they are trying to fit it into a dependable long term water supply for San Angelo and the Concho valley. I will try to make it clear what is fact, what is analysis, and what is just my opinion. I also welcome your feedback, analysis, and opinions. Just keep it relevant to the topic of the post, and don't make it personal.

In my opinion, you seldom get a good election result without good information and discussion of all the issues. This isn't about selling a position to the voters. The long term water supply and economic health of our community shouldn't be marketed like just a fancy box of Cracker Jacks.


  1. I'm looking forward to your analysis on this one! Maybe after we vote this down in November we can form a citizens coalition to put together an economic development plan that voters will approve. No fancy consulting firms or outside "experts" - just the members of the community ... who better to determine what is in the best interest of San Angelo than the people who live here?

  2. Interesting thought. An economic development plan by itself wouldn't go before the voters unless we did a petition drive to get it made into an ordinance. We might want to do that, but need to think about that for a while first.

    Any change to the current economic development sales tax, on the other hand, does have to be put before the voters, and can only be voted on once per year.

    I will keep your ideas in mind while I do my research and analysis. Just a hint: part of the analysis will show how much (or little) of the 1/2 cent sales tax goes to helping provide good paying jobs with a future and benefits. How much of it goes to candy store projects that only benefit special interests and creates low wage jobs. In my opinion San Angelo's main economic problem isn't unemployment, it's under employment.

  3. Another thing to remember is that the ConchoInfo facebook group will be following this discussion. You might want to also comment there as well as here.