Sacramento’s business community issues strong rebuke for Measure U tax money projection

The Sacramento business community is already pushing back on a city budget projection that Mayor Darrell Steinberg said indicates Measure U funds will be used to cover increased pension and labor costs for the city.

The future budget projections, released last week as part of the city’s overall budget, suggest money raised by the 1 percent Measure U tax will be moved into the city’s general fund, which funds most basic city services, employee salaries and pensions. The mayor said Tuesday that plan runs counter to a campaign that promised none of the money would go to cover pensions, and would instead go toward increased spending on social and business infrastructure.

The newly formed Sacramento Economic Growth and Equity Coalition sent a letter last week to City Manager Howard Chan, whose office develops the city budget.

“Members of this coalition supported Mayor Darrell Steinberg and the half cent increase of Measure U because of the promise that the additional revenue raised would be used to intentionally grow Sacramento’s economy,” the group’s letter said. “Many took the leap of faith to support this measure and the city owes it to them to follow through on the vision of a city that values the potential of its citizens. This is your opportunity to build trust and create measurable impact for the citizens that look to your leadership in times of need.”

The letter – signed in part by the leaders of Sierra Health Foundation, Visit Sacramento and the Metro Chamber of Commerce – calls for 100 percent of the money to be used to address “sustainable and inclusive prosperity.” The letter focuses on lower-income neighborhoods that voted heavily for Measure U. It calls for “intentional investment” that will create high-wage jobs.

“Sacramento voters did not support raising the Measure U sales tax to see their money diverted to pay for pension benefits or traditional government services – important as those needs are,” the letter said.

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