Friday, March 24, 2006

SVLG operative files suit to hide its SB552 involvement

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Yesterday, a petition was filed against the authors of the ballot argument against Measure A, which include Greg Perry, in an attempt to try to change or delete sections of the ballot argument. The petitioner, Rick Callender, who is the Government Relations Manager for the Santa Clara Valley Water District and also the head of the Silicon Valley NAACP, filed the law suit as an individual. Callender is claiming that the No on A argument contain five "false or misleading statements of fact." However, most, if not all the complaints against the No on A arguments, are baseless.

The first three so called misleading facts cited by Callender is related to the SVLG's support for SB552 and other sales tax exemption bills through the state legislature. Although SB552 have not granted a hearing since April 2005, supporters of SB552 have continued to lobby for the bill in September, as evidenced by SF Chronicle.

The other tax exemption bills listed by Callender, AB2218 and SB1291, as introduced, would not provide exemption on a local sales taxes. However these bills were presented in late February at about the same time as the county sales tax was being considered. Whether local taxes are exempted or not, SB552, AB2218, and SB2191 would lower the sales tax rate for companies with or without Measure A (less than the current rate of 8.25%), while everyone else would face a higher sales tax burden if Measure A passes (more than 8.25%).

Callender also claims that it is misleading to state that "Santa Clara County will have the highest tax rate in California." Currently, Alameda County, and cities of Alvalon and Richmond have the highest tax rate in the state of 8.75%. If Measure A passes, Santa Clara County will join these jurisdictions of having the highest sales tax rate in California. There is nothing misleading about this statement. If 8.75% is not the highest rate in the state, then what is?

This move to try to mess with the No on A ballot argument is also a sleazy counter-attack to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Assoication against the county, over the timing of the election. HJTA is arguing that the June election doesn't fit the legal definition of the general election, therefore Measure A, a "general" sales tax, cannot appear on this ballot according to Prop. 218.

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