Perhaps the one thing worse than paying higher taxes is having so little to show for it.
In 2008, the City Council asked voters to raise the sales tax by a half-cent for each dollar we spend.
We were told this was needed to “to protect, maintain, and enhance vital city services,” such as “increasing street paving and sidewalk/pothole repair to improve traffic flow.”
Based on the language of the measure and the marketing campaign promoting it, we the voters agreed to adopt Measure O, and made Oxnard’s sales tax rate the highest in the county.
This extra tax generates in excess of $10 million each year at great cost to poor and middle-class families.
Are we getting our money’s worth? Not if the condition of our roads is any indication.
Our streets, sidewalks and alleys are in terrible condition. Not only have City leaders broken their promise to the voters, but their refusal to properly maintain city streets is a failure of their responsibilities as stewards of our tax dollars. Because it is far less expensive to keep a road in good condition than to repair it once it has deteriorated; the long-term impact of this neglect is to deprive residents of other vital city services—such as public safety.
Another consequence of our poorly maintained streets is the negative impact it has on Oxnard’s ability to attract businesses and jobs.
Poorly maintained streets and sidewalks also jeopardize the safety of children and senior citizens and significantly increase the danger of accidents for Oxnard motorists.
Other cities in Ventura County – which don’t charge an extra sales tax – are managing to maintain their roads. Why doesn’t Oxnard?
It’s time to tell the City Council that they cannot collect the extra tax if they don’t fix the roads.
And that is why we are working to qualify the "Higher Priority for Oxnard Streets Act" on next year’s election ballot. It requires the City of Oxnard to improve and then maintain our city streets in good condition – or else they will no longer have the legal authority to collect their extra sales tax.
Think of it this way. If you get a paycheck, it’s because you perform a valuable service. You got paid because you earned the money.
Now it's time to make City Hall earn its paycheck.