Measure C is misrepresented on the Santa Barbara city ballot as “ … shall the City of Santa Barbara enact a one-cent sales tax providing approximately 22 million annually unless ended by voters.”
Is this a one-cent per purchase tax as stated? No! It is in fact a proposed additional one percent tax on every sale, or 10¢ per $10. How can the vote on this proposed increase stand legal challenges when the ballot so blatantly misrepresents the actual financial impact to the buyer?
The conspiracy theorist in me asks why the city would purposefully mislead the voters. Is it possible that the city employees who wrote and proofread the ballot language would potentially benefit from the availability of the additional $22 million to the city coffers? Or is the misrepresentation not purposeful but blatant ineptness?
Increased salaries are “lawful purposes” for which these monies could be used by future city administrations, and you can be sure that all the employee unions will be pointing to the $22 million windfall in the next round of salary negotiations and wanting “their share.” While salary increases may not be directly taken from these specific additional funds, they can be taken from funds and budgets that the $22 million will supplement.
If the ballot wording is a purposeful misrepresentation by City Hall, it is reprehensible. If it is not purposefully misrepresented, it is paradoxical that a city that cannot make an accurate representation on thousands of ballots is asking for more money to perpetuate incompetence.