Measure J will appear on your November ballots in the guise of putting Truckee first by improving arts and recreation. In fact, Measure J increases local bonded indebtedness by more than $8 million and must be repaid by yet another special assessment on property owners in the local recreation and parks district in Nevada and Placer counties. This a perk for the few paid for by everyone. And this is no role for government.
When I wrote the argument against educational funding levies contained in Measure A in the March 2011 election, a measure that barely but successfully passed, it was no assault on education. Instead, it was intended to — and did — shine a spotlight on the questionable accountability and effectiveness of the then-current TTUSD administration, since replaced. Once agreements for measurable outcomes were in place with school district administration, it was easy to support Measure A, as I did.
Like infrastructure and public safety, education is a central role of government. Discretionary spending on performing arts centers and pools is not.
The proponents of Measure J are impassioned in their cause, laudable but fiscally suspect. If the need and demand for these facilities is so great, why wouldn’t the proponents seek investor funds for a private facility to be paid for over time with user fees? Why ask thousands of property owners to support what is essentially the facilities’ limited benefit for a few?
At last count there were 95 local and county tax increase measures scheduled to appear on November 2012 ballots throughout California, excluding proposed statewide tax hikes (National Taxpayers Union, ntu.org), Measure J among them.
For voters, these incessant assaults on your wallet will only stop when you choose to make them stop. A “no” vote on Measure J is a good place to start.