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Election 2013: Voters in California locales to decide on tax increases
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Voters in four communities in Marin County, Calif., will decide next month on sales tax measures that would benefit transportation work.

The locales north of San Francisco each have a sales tax rate of at least 8.5 percent. The state gets 7.5 percent with another 1 percent routed to the county.

On Nov. 5, voters in the city of San Rafael will cast ballots on whether to renew a 0.5 percent sales tax, or 50 cents per $100 purchase, and add another 0.25 percent to benefit the city’s general fund. The taxes would be collected for 20 years.

Implemented in 2005, the tax raises about $7 million annually for repairing city streets and maintaining emergency services.

Measure E on the ballot would put the total sales tax rate in the city of 58,000 people at 9.25 percent.

Supporters say if the question doesn’t pass the city would likely be forced to make cuts to services that include police and fire.

Ballots in neighboring San Anselmo will ask voters about adding 0.5 percent to the sales tax rate for the next 10 years.

Measure D on the ballot would benefit efforts to repair potholes, repave roads, reduce traffic congestion, as well as maintain and improve street medians, sidewalks and drainage.

In nearby Larkspur, voters can cast ballots to determine whether another 0.5 percent will be added to the 8.5 percent sales tax rate. Measure C would supply the city with revenue for local streets and roads for five years.

City Manager Dan Schwarz said the increase is needed to address the “poor condition” of local streets and roads.

“It is fiscally responsible to address these critical street and road needs now, before they become more expensive in the future,” Schwarz said in a news release.

Voters in Corte Madera will decide whether to increase the city’s 8.5 percent sales tax rate to 9 percent. Approval of Measure B would provide another 0.5 percent from the sales tax to address local needs that include street repairs.

The community off the 101 Freeway would be charged the higher tax rate for six years.

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