No one likes taxes. That’s clear. However, a recent column by Andrea Seastrand eloquently demonstrated how an unhealthy preoccupation of anti-tax ideology can actually cost us more when blocking common-sense solutions such as Measure J. In fact, Seastrand’s fight on Measure J was a direct hit that harmed San Luis Obispo County’s economic health.
Measure J — a nine-year, half-cent sales tax for local infrastructure — was designed in a bipartisan, private-sector effort. Local business leaders worked hard to create a smart, accountable and fair measure to become a “self-help” county.
With its defeat, an estimated $25 million fund, of which 50 percent would have been from the constant stream of tourists, is gone.
Crumbling roads, on average, cost $762 a year per driver, impacting businesses and families; certainly lower-income individuals more than a half-cent sales tax.
While waiting for state or federal governments to fund infrastructure, it costs eight times more to fix a road than to maintain it. Should legislation pass, likely matching grant opportunities will be offered for projects. Measure J would have provided those matching funds.
Bottom line, for every Measure J dollar invested in infrastructure, a $5 return in job creation, improved transport efficiencies and business climate would have occurred for all.
Dawn Ortiz-Legg, San Luis Obispo