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Contra Costa County Measure X: Sales Tax Increase

freeimageslive.co.uk, used under CC BY 3.0
A pile of receipts and till slips.

This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

Measure X is a sales tax measure that’s expected to generate $81 million dollars a year for the next 20 years. If it passes, sales tax would increase by half a percent on most goods, but not on necessities like food and medicine. That would bring Contra Costa’s sales-tax rate up to around 10 percent.

The state and federal government would not have access to these funds. Instead, the money would go into the county’s general fund, which means the Board of Supervisors gets to decide how it’s spent.

A coalition of local business owners, community groups, and labor unions supports the measure. They say that the money will be spent on the county’s health and safety services. They say passing Measure X is especially critical right now, so that the county can support people who need help during the pandemic. And they also point out that even after Measure X is passed, Contra Costa County will still have a lower sales tax rate than neighboring Alameda County and many others in California. 

Measure X was put on the ballot in a 4-1 vote by the board of supervisors. The “nay” vote came from Candace Andersen who said that it is not the time to be raising taxes. It’s also being opposed by the Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association, which opposes most of November’s ballot measures. It worries the money will be spent on raises and pensions for county staff, and it says the funds aren’t even needed. They say Contra Costa County has $345 million unassigned dollars, and even more money coming in over the next few years. 

So now it’s up to you, Contra Costa County Voters. Vote yes on Measure X if you want to approve a half-percent sales-tax increase to fund health and safety services. Vote no if you don’t want sales taxes to be any higher than they already are. 

Wren Farrell (he/him) is a writer, producer and journalist living in San Francisco.
Ben joined KALW in 2004. As Executive News Editor and then News Director, he helped the news department win numerous regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He also helped teach hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today.