Supervisors Approve Arena Sales Tax Increase Measure

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
It was an overflow crowd at the county building…with some people having to watch the meeting in the hallway on closed circuit monitors.
Supervisors heard about three hours of public testimony on the sales tax increase and arena issue:
Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to take a step back and reflect on what’s truly important.  There is value in seeing a smile of happiness on the face of a child attending a Kings game.
When you put something on the ballot for the voters’ consideration, it’s got be a public good – our schools, our libraries, our roads, those are public goods.  Tractor pulls, rock concerts, those are private. We all enjoy them, we all want them, but they’re private goods.
I believe this new sports and entertainment complex will revitalize our downtown and that it will bring new business, jobs and civic pride to the community.
Therefore, the owners have personally come to you, a government entity to forcibly extract money from the 90 percent of us who would rather spend our income on something else.
Joe and Gavin Maloof, owners of the Kings, sat through the entire five hour meeting and heard the testimony too.  The issue centered on whether supervisors should increase the sales tax by a quarter cent for the next 15 years.  It would raise a total of one-point two billion dollars, with about half the money going to build a new arena for the Kings.  The rest would fund public projects around the Sacramento region.  Supervisor Roger Dickinson helped negotiate the deal with the Maloofs and spoke in favor of the increase:
The ultimate question is whether we wish to invest in making ours a first class community.  My answer is yes, I’m willing to make that investment…I believe we’re worth it.
Supervisors approved placing the tax increase on the November ballot by a four to one margin.  Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan voted no, saying a new tax for the arena should require two-thirds approval by the voters instead of 51 percent.
But MacGlashan conceded Arco is outdated:
I do agree that Arco Arena is obsolete and that a new arena is needed. 
After the vote, Kings owner Joe Maloof said he was happy with the outcome:
All we’ve ever wanted is to bring this to the public and let them vote on it and let them decide whether or not they want it. Fine, if not, we understand.
Supervisors must take a second vote on the issue to formalize their decision.  They’ll do that at their meeting next week.