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Citizens for YES on Measure B promote road tax

Citizens for YES on Measure B promote road tax


POSTED July 31, 2014 7:02 p.m.

Most locals are familiar with the ragged condition of Turlock roads characterized by cracked pavement and potholes in many areas, but there is now an official committee making a concerted effort to make better roads a reality in the community by spearheading the passing of the half cent road tax on the November ballot.

Should the proposed road tax pass, 50 cents of every $100 dollars spent on taxable purchases in the City of Turlock would go towards repair of the roads, ultimately generating an estimated $5.6 million per year. While few citizens would dissent that the roads need repair, convincing them to pay a tax to do so may pose a challenge for the members of the new committee, Citizens for YES on Measure B.

“Our key thing is that usually in some sort of election or ballot measure you have a big issue of trying to explain the need for why we’re doing something. This one we don’t,” said Jim Theis, chair of the Steering Committee for Citizens for YES on Measure B. “We are working to educate the public on the tax specifically and get the word out because we cannot rely on state and federal funds since we’re hardly getting anything back from them.”

Discussion of a city-wide road tax began earlier this year when the Stanislaus County Council of Governments — the regional transportation planning agency — opted against pursuing its third attempt at a countywide transportation tax. The City of Turlock in turn pursued a road tax that would have a lifespan of seven years, but include a provision that should a countywide transportation tax be approved in the future — an item that the Stanislaus Council of Governments hopes to bring back before County voters in 2016 — the City tax would in turn be terminated.

According to Theis, between the deteriorating roads and lack of general funding available in the City’s budget, passing Measure B is the citizens’ only option to ensure that roads will be fixed since the funds generated by the tax will be solely spent on restoring existing roads and not building new ones or financing transportation efforts.

While the period to file ballot arguments to the county clerk has passed without any filed opposition, the Citizens for YES on Measure B are currently in the preliminary phases of their campaign to encourage citizens in opposition or on the fence about the issue to condone the road tax. By formulating a social media campaign, creating signs for yards, and scheduling to speak at service clubs, the committee hopes to induce citizens to vote yes on the November ballot.

“You can’t kick the can down the road anymore; it’s going to fall in a pothole. This is an issue that needs to be addressed,” said Theis.

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