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Measure P – Green Party Voter Guide

Excerpts from the Green Party Voter Guide, as pertains to Alameda:

Measure P—NO

Raising Real Estate Transfer Tax

The City Attorney’s analysis of Measure P states:“Real property located within the City of Alameda has been subject to the real estate transfer tax since 1967. This tax applies only when real property is sold and is paid into the City’s general fund, which is allocated by the City Council through the annual budget for general city services.” Unlike some other areas of the Bay Area, Alameda has widespread home-ownership and its citizens have worked to keep it a livable place for families, which means they even vote to raise taxes on themselves, when necessary. Because of this, coming to Alameda is like entering a small town in the Midwest—the streets are lined with sidewalks and shady trees, the speed limit is 25 mph on the entire island, the Victorians are well maintained, and the small downtown is full of life. Unfortunately, in recent years, developers have succeeded in courting local officials and the voice of residents has increasingly been silenced.

With this shift has come increasing mismanagement and debt. Rather then being deeply in debt for bonds for redevelopment, the City of Alameda ought to have a surplus of income from Alameda Point—instead, $10 million dollars goes to the coffers of the Redevelopment Agency where it is spent at the sole discretion of that agency, un-available to the general fund.

Alameda Power, although well-intentioned and a genuine city asset, also ought to produce a large surplus for the city and the schools, but does not, and instead, has cost the taxpayers millions. And of course, the proposed transfer tax (raising the existing tax of $5.40 to $12.00, per $1000 of real estate value) will primarily only make the already unaffordable homes of Alameda even further out of the reach for average Bay Area residents, and is an unreliable source of funds, given the fluctuations in the real estate market. Debt and development run amok are symptoms of serious and costly mismanagement by city officials. Given the current battles going on around development and taxation already, rather than try to solve our problems by raising taxes again, maybe the City should examine what went wrong so far to get us where we are. We recommend you vote NO of Measure P.

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