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why the merc just can’t say the truth

You just got to love the Mercury News editorial. They continue to push the June 6 Measure A, but the reasons they offer become more and more strained as they dance closer to the truth. VTAWatch helps them out a little here.

So it is time to help them out a little.

Nobody likes paying taxes.

Hmmm.. actually no. For the record, I personally don’t mind paying taxes when the common wealth of those taxes are used for the common good.

I do mind paying taxes that used on overpriced, goldplated projects whose only purpose is to provide a ribboncutting ceremony for one of the five most powerful in Santa Clara to attend. In a word, I am frugal and I expect my government to be the same.

And when it comes to our quality of life — our health, our safety, our ability to travel where we need to go — we get what we pay for.

I love this tired phrase, “you get what you pay for”. Yes and sometimes you get less than what you paid for, which is unfortunately the case here. Remember the county only needs a 1/4 cent sales tax to cover all of their social services needs for as long as the county projected. It is for this reason that Sup. Blanca Alvarado called this a “wink-and-nod” tax:

Alvarado said that although she would support a quarter-cent tax increase to fund regular county programs such as health care, she said she would not back a half-cent increase that with a “wink-and-a-nod” would also be used to pay for BART and VTA’s other projects.

(One minor correction here: It would just be BART there would be no other projects, road or otherwise)

So that means that if voters approve this “wink-and-nod” tax, then everybody from undocumented worker to software geek will be paying double what they really needed to pay. (But come on tell me, you don’t really mind paying twice as much as you had to do you?) But don’t worry, SVLG’s got the manufacturers’ back. Thanks to SB1291 (analysis here).

The Mercury continues:

There is a back-room deal, [opponents] say, to divide the money between transportation projects and the county’s health and welfare services.

Excuse me, Blanca also called it a backroom deal. O.k. well she didn’t use those exact words, but “wink-and-nod” tax doesn’t sound like everything is out in the sunshine either does it?

A little later the Mercury almost approaches the truth:

There is no legally binding requirement for current or future supervisors to spend a penny on Valley Medical Center or … [insert your favorite social services here]

Here is a pop quiz “What happens if San Jose has the downtown streets torn up trying to build BART, and is goes overbudget by 1% ($40-70million)?” What is the likelihood that there will be a lot of sad talk as social services get the ax to fill the hole through downtown?

In the biggest bit of misinformation:

Opponents of Measure A dismiss all that, using copious figures to claim the Valley Transportation Authority is a disaster and the county is exaggerating its challenges. But they sometimes misinterpret, or misrepresent, their statistics. A judge forced them to rewrite their inaccurate No-on-A ballot argument.

Of course what this means is that everything on the ballot “No on measure A” has been vetted and agreed as 100% accurate by the proponents of this tax. (we don’t even have to get into the minor issue of there not being significant changes or the fact that VTA is ranked near the bottom nation-wide of all transit agencies)

Posted in 2006-06-06-measure-a, political.

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