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November 7, 2017 — Local Elections
Local

City of Brisbane
Measure D - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passed

831 votes yes (75.1%)

275 votes no (24.9%)

100% of precincts reporting (3/3).

47,173 ballots counted.

Business License Tax on Soil Recycling Establishments
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To pay for general municipal expenses, shall the City impose an annual business license fee on a soil recycling establishment of up to twenty (20%) of its gross receipts or up to two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) whichever is greater?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

We encourage you to vote yes to establish a new business license tax for soil processing businesses, such as the Brisbane Soils Processing business which operates on the Brisbane Baylands. This new business license tax will increase city revenues to promote communitywide services.

Why do we need the Business License Tax? Over the past several years, our community has adopted several measures to expand our tax base and solidify our revenues. These include new business license taxes on high gross receipts businesses, increased taxes on hotel guests and new business license taxes on recycling businesses and liquid storage facilities. 

Does this mean that we will always have this type of business in town? The answer is NO but it does provide for revenue for the City as long as it does exist. The business license tax is for revenue purposes only; it does not grant any short term or long term permit to operate. A five (5) year interim use permit is currently under review by the Planning Commission.

What is the Fiscal Benefit? The tax is up to 20% of gross receipts or a minimum of $200,000 per year, whichever is greater. Based on current activity, it is estimated that the tax will generate approximately $400,000 more per year than what is currently generated through an existing fee structure. The financial impact may go up or down depending on the economy and the amount of activity in the construction trades, but in all cases the tax will generate more revenue than if we maintain the current fee structure.

Is this tax fair? This tax is set at a rate that allows for both profitability for the business owner as well as steady and predictable revenue in the short term for the City. 

/s/ Lori S. Liu, Mayor, City of Brisbane

/s/ W. Clarke Conway, Mayor Pro-Temp, City of Brisbane

/s/ Madison Davis, Councilment, City of Brisbane

/s/ Clifford R. Lentz, Councilmember, City of Brisbane

Arguments AGAINST

This is a right way and a wrong way to do things, even for the government. This proposed tax is wrong and should be voted down because it is (1) discriminatory - it singles out one business all by itself to pay a huge tax. (2) double or triple taxation - it overlaps City taxes we well as the sizable truck hauling fee, (3) unfair - it taxes a regional facility for business done outside this city, and (4) overreaching -  it levies a tax more than 20 times greater than ordinary businesses in Brisbane. 

(1) Discriminatory.  We all know there is only one soil recycling business in Brisbane, and there will never be another one because of the constraints of land, zoning, and environment. It is against the law to single out one specific business for a punitive tax. 

(2) Double or triple taxation. First the soil recycling business already comes under the tax classification of Brisbane Code 5.20.180 for businesses "conducting or carrying on the business of recycling non-water-soluble, non-decomposable wastes and industrial wastes." This proposal would be a new second tax. And third, a "truck haul fee" - a tax in its own right - is already charged and nets the City over $600,000 a year.

(3) Unfair. The soil recycling takes dirt from construction excavations and turns it into clean fill dirt, not just in Brisbane but sites scattered all around the Bay Area. But this unfair tax presumes that all of this business activity is confined to Brisbane alone. 

(4) Overreaching. This tax would take 20% of the gross receipts of this targeted business. The tax for ordinary businesses in Brisbane is under 1% of gross receipts. There is no rational reason given for this overreaching amount. 

If you beluieve in fair and balanced taxation, please vote NO on this tax.

 

/s/ Lisa Snyder 

 

Replies to Arguments FOR

IF YOU ALLOW CITY GOVERNMENT TO IMPOSE ANOTHER TAX THAT IS FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR TO ONE TAXPAYER, WHAT STOPS THEM FROM COMING UP WITH ANOTHER TAX UNFAIR TO YOU?

One taxpayer now pays over $600,000 per year and, per the City's projected budget, the same taxpayer will pay $780,000 in FY 2016/17 and $796,000 in FY 2017/18 in "truck haul fees."

Now the City wants to add another tax to the same taxpayer of no less than 20% of gross revenue or $200,000 per year. Could you sruvive financially if the City used the same formula to add another tax on top of all the other taxes you pay? Even the City's "Impartial Analysis" projects that this new tax will actually impose $300,000 - $400,000 per year additional tax burden to the same taxpayer over-and-above the truck haul fees it already pays. This new tax will hit a single taxpayer to pay well over a million dollars a year! Do you think that's fair?

The City's justification seems to be that it is simple to stick it to this one taxpayer and is betting that acting unfairly against a "less-than-popular" taxpayer will be a cinch to sell to the voters. Don't buy it. Put a stop to discriminatory, duplicative, and unfair taxation. Vote NO.

/s/ Lisa Snyder

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Residents of Brisbane have lived with businesses that provide services and benefits to the entire Bay Area since its founding. Brisbane provides these businesses with a well-run government and services at the highest level. It is only right that regional businesses assist residents in paying for these services.

As most businesses do, the tax will be passed along to its regional customers. Soils processing provides support to many projects throughout the Bay Area and therefore the tax will be borne by these projects and businesses, not solely the soils processor. 

The City will no longer collect truck haul fees from businesses affected by this new tax - therefore it is not double or triple taxation. 

The activity of turning waste dirt from other areas into clean fill does in fact take place in Brisbane, as anyone who drives on Highway 101 can plainly see.  We are affected by trucks damaging our roads, creating traffic problems, and polluting our town. We need to ensure that businesses that impact us pay their fair share.

Businesses of varying sizes and types pay a wide range of taxes. Larger businesses that are regional should pay more than small local owned businesses since their impact is far greater. 

We request a Yes vote on Measure D to ensure that Brisbane continues to be a jewel in the Bay Area where people and businesses want to locate.

 

/s/ Mayor Lori S. Liu, Mayor of Brisbane 

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