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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Fresno County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Measure L
Library Upgrade and Improvement
County of Fresno

2/3 Approval Required

Fail: 163865 / 63.41% Yes votes ...... 94573 / 36.59% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Fiscal Impact | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To add books, separate homework areas for children/youth, work with neighborhood schools to increase after school and job search programs, improve, upgrade, repair, and construct urban/rural Fresno County branch libraries; including disability access, fire safety, remove asbestos, improve energy efficiency and technology, shall Fresno County voters amend the one-eighth cent sales tax with a one- quarter cent sales tax for sixteen years with independent public review of expenditures?

Fiscal Impact:
This ballot measure is to amend the current one-eighth of one percent (0.125%) Retail Transaction and Use Tax in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Fresno County, which expires March 31, 2013, to one-quarter of one percent (.25%) effective for a period of 16 years. The State Board of Equalization will continue to administer this sales tax if approved by at least two-thirds of the electors voting on the measure.

The tax equates to 25 cents for a $100 purchase. This ordinance will generate approximately twenty-eight million dollars ($28,000,000) annually, with the growth of this revenue generally following the economic trends within the local community.

The revenue from this Public Library Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance will be used exclusively for public library services within Fresno County. In accordance with the provisions of the Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance, the tax will terminate on March 31, 2025 or 16 years after the first day of the first calendar quarter following the execution of the amended contract with the State Board of Equalization.

s/ Vicki Crow
Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector

Impartial Analysis
State law authorizes a county board of supervisors to propose a special countywide sales tax ("transactions and use tax") for public library construction, acquisition, programs and operations within the county. The tax proposal may be at the rate of either 0.125 or 0.25 percent for up to 16 years.

In 2004, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors proposed, and the voters approved, a special library sales tax at the rate of 0.125 percent for 7 years. This tax became operative on April 1, 2006, and will expire on March 31, 2013.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors has adopted an ordinance (Ord. 08-020), amending the current special library sales tax ordinance, by increasing the current special library sales tax from 0.125 percent to 0.25 percent, and by extending the term of the special sales tax, to March 31, 2025, subject to an affirmative vote by two-thirds of the voters voting on this measure. Under the proposed amended sales tax ordinance, if two-thirds of the voters voting on the measure approve, the tax would be imposed at the rate of one-fourth of one percent (0.25 percent) for 16 years, commencing on April 1, 2009, and expiring on March 31, 2025.

The Fresno County Free Library and the Coalinga-Huron Library District shall share the total transactions and use tax revenues collected Countywide according to their proportions of County population, with about 97 percent going to Fresno County Free Library, and about 3 percent to the Coalinga-Huron Library District. Their respective shares shall be determined by their proportions of the total population of the County, as certified on or before June 1, 2009, June 1, 2013, June 1, 2017, and June 1, 2021 by the State Librarian, pursuant to Education Code section 18021.

The proceeds from this tax shall be used exclusively for public library purposes, and shall only be used to supplement existing funding or services for the support of public libraries, and shall not be used to supplant or replace those existing funding or services.

As required by state law, the ordinance includes an expenditure plan, that describes the specific purposes for which tax revenues may be expended, including: continuing expanded library hours and increasing open hours further where possible, at branches; providing current technology in libraries and for remote use; continuing to add and to replace worn and out-of-date books and materials; continuing to add new books and other materials; adding new technology as needed to serve residents; continuing current expanded programs and services, and expanding programs and services further, for children, young adults, parents, adults, seniors, and job seekers; working with neighborhood schools to increase after school programs and job search programs; continuing locally funded literacy services; maintaining and repairing urban/rural public libraries throughout the County, including disability access, fire safety, and removal asbestos; improving of energy efficiency and technology; improving, upgrading and constructing new urban/rural libraries throughout the County; requiring that proceeds from the sale or trade of any library constructed with funds from this Measure shall be reinvested in future libraries; and paying the administrative expenses of the State Board of Equalization and the County's election expenses, including the expense of another library tax, if one is placed on the ballot.

The tax revenues would also be used to reimburse the County for election costs and to pay the fees charged by the state in administering the tax.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors and the governing board of the Coalinga Huron Library District would be responsible for the specific expenditures of their respective shares of the tax revenues, under the general laws governing each type of entity. The Citizens Review Panel established by the Board of Supervisors to monitor the County Library's expenditures under the current tax would continue to provide independent public review of expenditures for the amended tax.

s/ Janelle E. Kelley
Interim County Counsel

  News and Analysis

The Fresno Bee

Partisan Information

Yes on Measure L
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Arguments For Measure L Arguments Against Measure L
Measure L is a proposed 25 cents sales tax on every $100 spent and would be used for library operations and facilities.

Measure L would add more books, computers, improve technology and provide separate homework areas for our children. This will support working closely with our neighborhood schools to increase after-school and job search programs. 83% of Fresno County residents will receive a new or improved library in their neighborhood. Improvements would include repairs and construction, fire safety, asbestos removal and improve energy efficiency in urban and rural branch libraries throughout the county. Measure L is for sixteen years with independent public review of all expenditures.

In 1998 and in 2004 the voters in Fresno County passed Measure B by over 70% and 71% respectively. The results: people are using the improved services (up 150%). Measure L would keep all these service improvements but many of our branches cannot sustain the success of Measure B without new and renovated facilities. The increase in people using libraries has led to the need for Measure L to help renovate existing library branches and build new ones.

Passing Measure L would incorporate the current sales tax, Measure B benefiting 100% of county residents, so that the increase would only be 12 cents per $100 spent!

So why is Measure L so important? Measure L will have a direct impact on nearly every neighborhood and citizen in Fresno County. Estimates for Measure L range for additional revenue from $225 million to $335 million and will help us receive matching funds from the state and private donations earmarked for library branches.

A Measure L yes vote means taking local control and improving the quality of life in Fresno County. years

For improvements in our education, literacy and technology, please vote yes on Measure L. (http://www.yesforfresnolibraries.com).

s/ Larry Powell
Superintendent
Fresno County Office of Education

s/ Steve Magarian
Former Sheriff
Fresno County

s/ Deborah J. Ikeda
Chairperson
The Citizens for 21 Century Libraries

s/ Sally M. Caglia
Businesswoman

Rebuttal to Arguments For

WHY NOW?
THE CURRENT SALES TAX WILL NOT EXPIRE FOR 4 MORE YEARS.

The current tax of 1/8 generates approximately $12.5 million per year exclusively for the Fresno County Library until April 2013.

Measure "L" will increase what the library receives to approximately $25 million, raising our taxes by 1/4 for each taxable dollar we spend for the next 16 years starting in April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2025. Yet, nothing is to be spent on expanding the main library in downtown Fresno.

The money from the current sales tax in addition to its current share of the property tax and the state funds it receives, will allow the county library to do just fine for the next few years while we are going through these very difficult and trying economic times.


The proponents argue it's just 1/4 added to each dollar we spend now. In light of all the skyrocketing costs for gasoline and everything else we need for that matter, while the State is contemplating additional taxes to balance its budget, it seems it's just the wrong time to ask us to raise taxes.

NEW - The county will be assessing an additional fee of up to approximately $4,400 for almost every new home constructed in the cities and the county.

A big portion of the approximately $115,000,000 generated by this new construction assessment in the next 5 years is slated to be spent on county library construction.

We don't need this additional sales tax now.

VOTE NO

BY:

s/ Doug Vagim
San Joaquin Valley Taxpayers Association,
Former member, Fresno County Board of Supervisors

JUST NOT NOW

The County Library tax adopted in 1998 added a .125% sales tax to every taxable dollar we spend for a 7 year period. In 2004 the voters authorized the tax for 7 more years until April 2013. In other words the current sales tax is not to expire for 4 more years.

The current tax generates approximately $12,500,000 per year exclusively for the Fresno County Library. The new and additional tax will generate an additional $12,500,000 for a total of $25,000,000 a year for the next 16 years.

Measure "L" does this by increasing the current .125% sales tax by another .125% to = .25% for each taxable dollar spent for the next 16 years starting in April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2025.

The money from the current sales tax in addition to its current share of the property tax and the state funds it receives, will allow the county library to do just fine for the next few years while we are going through these very difficult and trying economic times.

The proponents argue it's just another 1/8 added to each $1.00 we are currently taxed on now. In light of all the skyrocketing costs for gasoline and everything else we need for that matter, while the State is contemplating additional taxes to balance its budget, it seems it's just the wrong time to ask us to raise taxes.

The county will be assessing an additional fee of up to approximately $4,400 for almost every new home constructed in the cities and county.

A big portion of the approximately $115,000,000 generated by this new construction assessment in the next 5 years is slated to be spent on county library construction.

We don't need this additional sales tax now.

VOTE NO

BY:

s/ Doug Vagim
San Joaquin Valley Taxpayers Association,
Former member, Fresno County Board of Supervisors

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The Citizens for 21st Century Libraries would like to respond to the misleading claims of the argument against Measure L.

1. Measure L is about local control and improving our quality of life.

2. During tough economic times, library usage increases because of the free services they provide to students, senior citizens and families, saving them money right now.

3. Long term stable funding that keeps tax dollars at work here in Fresno County is important.

4. More after-school and job search programs, helping to keep kids in school and out of gangs are needed.

5. The very small 12 cent increase on $100 will upgrade and renovate libraries which have not been improved since the 1950's, 1960's or 1970's.

6. Renovation and construction of new library branches located closer to your neighborhood and will help create new jobs.

7. Public libraries will receive only 11% ($485) of the $4,399 assessment on new homes. This will not cover the cost of even one library branch.

8. Measure L will allow our libraries to receive matching funds from the State, funds that Fresno citizens would otherwise lose to other counties.

9. It will capture income from tourists and visitors and be used exclusively for our libraries.

10. Food, medicines and other non-taxable items are exempt from Measure L.

Consider the facts! NOW is the time to join teachers, law enforcement, business and community leaders and the citizens of Fresno County and vote...

YES on Measure L

s/ Dr. Pete Mehas
Former Superintendent
Fresno County Office of Education

s/ David Mas Masumoto
Farmer & Author

s/ Betty Rodriguez
Past-President
League of Mexican-American Women

s/ Hal McKinney
Former Sheriff
Fresno County

s/ James Hallowell
Businessman


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