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yes on prop a
 

Proposition A – FAQs
(Prop A is a proposed 1% increase in sales tax in Chula Vista)

Will I get to vote on Prop A?
How much is the sales tax now?
If the sales tax is increased by 1%, does the state or the city get it?
How does an 8.75% sales tax compare to other cities?
How long would the 1% increase last?
Does the city really need this additional revenue?
How will the new revenues from a sales tax increase be used?
If Prop A passes, will the Nature Center, city libraries and recreation centers be kept open?
What cuts will be made if Prop A does NOT pass?
West Chula Vista has been neglected. Will any of the increase in revenues be used to correct this?
What guarantees do we have that these new revenues will be used the way the city says they will use it?
If the sales tax in Chula Vista is increased, won’t people just shop in San Diego instead, thus hurting Chula Vista businesses?
I have heard that the state has already raised the sales tax. What’s up with that?
What long-term fixes is the city committed to so that we don’t find ourselves in this situation again?



Will I get to vote on Prop A?
Yes. Ballots will be mailed out beginning in early April. To vote you must return the ballot to the County Registrar of Voters by May 5. There will be no poll voting.


How much is the sales tax now?

Chula Vista’s sales tax rate is 7.75%, Of this 7.75% total, 1/2 % goes to SANDAG for transportation projects. 1% stays with Chula Vista and is a part of our annual budget. The rest goes to the State of California.


If the sales tax is increased by 1%, does the state or the city get it?

The entire additional 1% stays in Chula Vista. None of the increase goes to the State or any other public agency.

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How does an 8.75% sales tax compare to other cities?
Vista is 8.25%. El Cajon is 8.75%. La Mesa is 8.25%. National City is 8.75%.


How long would the 1% increase last?
Ten years, unless it is repealed by the voters.


Does the city really need this additional revenue?
Yes. Chula Vista’s revenues on a per-person basis are among the lowest in the region. We have fewer police officers and fire fighters per capita than any city in the County. Since 2006-07, the city has eliminated 165 positions and cut its budget by 24%. Unionized employees have agreed to give up their next two contractual annual pay raises. Employees not represented by unions have also given up their next two scheduled pay raises. The Mayor and Council have reduced their budget again, this time by $250,000. The new City Manager had merged eight departments into three, thereby eliminating duplicate positions. Despite these savings and many others, we still have a deficit of close to $15 million.

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How will the new revenues from a sales tax increase be used?

City Manager Jim Sandoval plans to use the increase for three things: 1) During the early years, the money will be used to keep important services in place that would otherwise have to be cut; 2) As the economy begins to recover, some funds will be used to establish an operating budget reserve of at least 15% to protect us from future economic crisis, and; 3) Finally, the sales tax increase will help address our $400 million deferred infrastructure maintenance needs, particularly on the West side.


If Prop A passes, will the Nature Center, city libraries and recreation centers be kept open?

Yes. In the case of the Nature Center, continued city funding is seen as a short term bridge until the Nature Center is able to become self-supporting.


What cuts will be made if Prop A does NOT pass?

A few of the consequences if Prop A fails are: 1) there will be fewer Police Agents to investigate financial and auto theft crimes; 2) city funding for two after-school diversion programs for at-risk youth (STRETCH and DASH) could be cut; 3) unless it is able to become self-sustaining very quickly, the Nature Center will be closed; 4) operating hours and programs at libraries, recreation centers and pools will be reduced, and; 5) streets and parks will not be adequately maintained; 6) an entire fire department engine company could be cut – despite staffing levels which are already the lowest of any city in the state.

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West Chula Vista has been neglected. Will any of the increase in revenues be used to correct this?

During the second half of the 10 year period of the tax, revenues would be dedicated to infrastructure improvements mostly on the west side.


What guarantees do we have that these new revenues will be used the way the city says they will use it?

There are no guarantees. However, Prop A requires creation of an Independent Advisory Committee which will study all expenditures and make recommendations to the Council. Also, an annual audit to oversee how the funds are spent is required. At the urging of some groups, several Council members are considering a resolution to bring the measure back to the voters in five years. If the Council does this, the citizens will get a chance to vote on repealing the tax after five years if they don’t like the way the city is spending the money.


If the sales tax in Chula Vista is increased, won’t people just shop in San Diego instead, thus hurting Chula Vista businesses?

All the evidence we have shows that raising the sales tax will have virtually no effect on local businesses. This conclusion is backed up by studies from the University of Chicago. National City Mayor Ron Morrison has testified that when they raised their sales tax 1% several years ago, the increase had no effect on businesses in National City. Food and medicine are not subject to sales taxes.

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I have heard that the state has already raised the sales tax. What’s up with that?

The state sales tax increase will be used to close a state budget deficit. It will not solve Chula Vista’s budget crisis. Proposition A funds will stay in Chula Vista to fund critically needed local services including public safety.


What long-term fixes is the city committed to so that we don’t find ourselves in this situation again?

City Manager Jim Sandoval will take several steps bring long-term financial health to the city.
These include:
1.Find and implement operating efficiencies within the organization by conducting a detailed audit of each department. 

2.Implementation of a new zero-base budget to more accurately reflect the City’s true operational costs.

3.Work with the Nature Center to implement a new self-sustaining business plan.

4.Development of a city-wide economic development strategy to bring a larger job base to Chula Vista, thus eliminating the city’s current over-reliance on the real estate sector of the economy.


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