Business / Economy

COMMENTARY: Measure W increases a tax politicians promised would end this year – so what happened?

Tax extension is a euphemism for a tax increase

According to The Free Dictionary, the definition of extension is an addition that increases … operation, or contents of something: a delay, especially one agreed by all parties, in the date originally set for payment of a debt or completion of the contract, for a publicly funded programs.

The proposed Measure W half cent sales tax extension in Hollister, for all intents and purposes and by definition, is the result of a broken promise or agreement politicians made to the voters five years ago – to set a day certain for its termination. When the Hollister City Council took action to extend the tax and not end it end as promised in 5 years (2016) however, they surreptitiously and unscrupulously are attempting to raise a permanent tax (20 years) by the use of an extension

Therefore, an extension beyond the agreed-to termination date in 2016 is a 20-year tax increase!

Aware that a conservative community such as Hollister would not accept and support an outright tax increase, the “politicians” in their unbounded foolishness offered the voters a “Trojan Horse” – a TEMPORARY five-year tax increase to pay off certain debts in the hopes that you would not notice the shift, shell game or flim-flam.

However, and according to the city’s 2016-2017 budget recently released, the city is doing quite well in that department – revenues are up. The only issue is where they would waste and/or concentrate their spending.

So the only credible explanation, at least to this writer, is that the extra revenue (a 20-year permanent tax), beyond the revenues raised by the Hollister Police Department i.e., (traffic stops at 2,223 in 2015 and parking citations issued in 2015-16) is that it will provide additional money for the council to spend untethered for so-called "public safety" programs (federally-funded), not for the public but for the protection of the police. Even though the programs may be federally-funded, we pay into it through our federal taxes portion.

Just as we have seen in the recent events in Charlotte and Tulsa, police resistance to and reluctance in allowing the public to see is unacceptable. Whereas spending in the much needed and important areas of educational and community projects (youth after-school programs, college and university scholarships, and our library) are being fiscally ignored.

So, in order for the extension to be legitimate, one of several things must have occurred:

1) the original conditions offered for the temporary tax have NOT changed or been met;
2) the conditions have been met, but the temptation is too great and the tax should continue, an extension or a permanent 20-year “increase” in wolf's clothing;
3) or, we are the recipient of a well-perpetrated misrepresentation by our politicians, in the hope that you did not/would not notice the forked-tongue promise made five years ago, that the tax was only a one-time temporary initiative. 

P.S. "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen in the closing credit to the movie “War Dogs.” View and listen.

So, what say you?  

Luis Burguillo

As a student of the media and journalism, I am interested in utilizing the medium in order to assure that the residents of the City of Hollister and San Benito County are alerted, informed and educated on the official actions of their elected officials who are sworn to preserve, protect and defend the US constitution and Bill of Rights. More importantly, their engagement in the political process will hold the leaders accountable for their actions/decisions and lead to an improved governance.