Builders, unions want tax hike for infrastructure

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Wading into the contentious debate over how to pay for billions of dollars in repairs to California’s crumbling roads and bridges, an alliance of unions and builders Wednesday proposed hiking the state’s sales tax by a quarter-cent to help finance a massive infrastructure bond next year. The California Alliance for Jobs – composed of 1,700 construction companies and 50,000 union workers – believes voters would support a bond in the $30 billion to $40 billion range, supported by a quarter-cent sales tax hike and new user fees, among other revenue sources. The sales tax increase alone would generate about $20 billion over 30 years, the group estimates. “We feel the voters are ready to accept this measure now, if they are presented with a comprehensive, well-thought-out plan,” said Alliance executive director Jim Earp. “We don’t think you need to have a tax increase as part of a responsible plan for infrastructure,” said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the governor’s Department of Finance. “Funding options include general-obligation bonds, lease-revenue agreements, public-private partnerships and user fees.” Similarly, a $10 billion proposal by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, also does not include a tax increase. Earlier this year, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, D-Los Angeles, put forth a complicated bond proposal that raised some taxes and lowered others, but he was unable to make much headway in the Legislature. Nuñez is working on a new plan to be issued next month that addresses transportation, education, flood control and affordable housing, but his aides said he has not determined the total amount yet or whether it would include new taxes. Nuñez spokesman Steve Maviglio said any new tax proposal would depend heavily on Republican acceptance because of the two-thirds vote requirement to get it on the ballot. Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge, who has been active in infrastructure issues for several years, suggested the state needs to look beyond bond measures to include improvements in project planning. “I’m concerned that we recognize that our infrastructure needs are much greater than a ten, twenty or 30 billion dollar bond,” Richman said. “What is critically important is we put in a process for long-term planning and investments in infrastructure so we can meet our needed infrastructure investment needs.” He added that he would not support a sales tax increase but would support user fees. — Harrison Sheppard, (916) 446-6723 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The proposal is the latest in a growing number of efforts focused on boosting funds for California’s infrastructure, including roads, hospital retrofits, schools, bridges and flood protection, which needs hundreds of billions of dollars of work, according to some estimates. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he plans to dedicate next year to working on infrastructure issues and is currently crafting a major bond to propose next month to help fund roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and other projects. Democratic leaders in both legislative houses are also each working on their own proposals. Schwarzenegger has not said how much his bond would be, though he acknowledged it could be as much as $50 billion. Democratic leaders are looking in the $10 billion range. Schwarzenegger has consistently opposed tax increases since taking office and would oppose an increase to help finance the bond, his spokesman said.last_img read more

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