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Other Voices: Measure T, taxes not right for Grass Valley

The proposed Measure T tax is an unneeded burden for Grass Valley which was written by the backers of the Dorsey Drive/State Highway 49 interchange. When they realized this was not likely to be approved by the voters, they hastily threw in other projects in order to appease everyone and get their interchange funded. They claim this measure is so wonderful, but let’s take a look at that.

California is an oil producing state, yet because of state taxes on gas, we have some of the highest gas prices in the nation. We already pay plenty of gas tax and these monies should be used to build an interchange on a state highway. The politicians at City Hall and the county need to work with our state legislators to get our share of the monies being collected and not burden us with any more taxes. It is interesting to note that neither of the legislators representing Grass Valley, Sam Aanestad or Rick Keene, have come out in support of this tax. In fact, on Keene’s Web site we find, “I am steadfast in my opposition to tax increases because we are already overtaxed.”

The city and state have not even reached an agreement about the size of the interchange. The funds allocated in Measure T are for a substandard interchange compared to current state standards. If the state does in fact require their standard interchange, which of the other projects promised by the Measure T backers will be cut? Furthermore, even if approved by the state, why would we want a substandard interchange anyway? Cost overruns? Will the state pick up those costs, or do we get stuck with them and have to cut the other promised projects?



The interchange is the wrong priority for both the county and city. Countywide, the worst problem with Highway 49 is the high accident and fatality rate. Therefore, the first priority needs to be a center divider on Highway 49. For the citizens of Grass Valley, our existing roads are long overdue for repairs and improvements and that should be the first priority. With Measure T, our roads are last on their list.

Measure T provides control of about $70 million (yes, that is 70 million) by the politicians at City Hall and their political appointees. There are not adequate safe-guards built into the measure to protect us. For example, to get ahead of repairs and improvements of our existing roads, current road funding levels should kept and then supplemented by funds from the measure’s taxes. Although they state they intend to do this, there is no real guarantee in the measure that this will happen. Nothing to prevent them from cutting back on the current road funding and divert those funds into pet projects, which will in effect leave our roads in their current poor condition.




As for the proposed Wolf Creek trail and the downtown parking garage: Where are the actual plans? What are the true cost projections? Which of our neighbor’s private property will be condemned and taken? How much litigation will condemnation involve and how many years will that take. There are just too many unanswered questions here.

This tax would cost us hundreds of dollars extra for a purchase like a car or home improvement. Why would anyone shop our local home improvements stores when they can go the new Home Depot in Auburn and pay hundreds less in taxes? How will that be good for our local business?

It seems like the only thing they got right is that T is for tax. This measure is just wrong for us and so I am asking you to vote no on Measure T.

ooo

Michael Wilkie lives in Grass Valley.


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