Santa Clara County Measure T: Nature Preservation Parcel Tax | KALW

Santa Clara County Measure T: Nature Preservation Parcel Tax

Sep 23, 2020

 

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

Santa Clara County Measure T is a $24 parcel tax designed to raise funds to protect and preserve natural open spaces in the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority district. This covers the eastern foothills of Santa Clara County, south of the US-101 corridor. The tax would apply to real estate in the cities of San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, Morgan Hill, and the unincorporated portions of the county. It requires a supermajority to pass and would generate almost $8 million each year for projects in those areas. 

 

The measure is not a tax increase because it would renew an existing parcel tax, known as Measure Q. Voters approved that in 2014 and the Open Space Authority has used those funds to protect more than 26,000 acres of open space. It has also used the money to increase public access to these spaces, improve area parks and protect wildlife habitats around the county.  

 

What’s the difference between the 2014 tax and Measure T? Well, the earlier measure was set to expire in 15 years. Measure T would remain in effect until “ended by voters.” So, it could go on forever.

 

Supporters include a host of current and former elected officials, community and conservation groups as well as the Santa Clara County Democrats and the San Jose/Santa Clara League of Women Voters. They argue that preserving natural open spaces is critical in the fight against climate change and pollution.

The Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association is the main opponent. Though it has not issued a formal statement against Measure T, it did decry the 2014 parcel tax as “coercive.” 

 

So, Santa Clara County, here’s the deal: Vote yes on Measure T if you want to continue funding open space preservation until you decide not to. Vote no if you want to let the parcel tax expire in 2030.