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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- To increase the sales tax or to decrease it? That's the controversial question Sacramento voters will be answering on Election Day.
The proposal is known as "Measure U" (yeah, you've probably seen the "yes" and "no" signs around the city). If passed, it would extend the city's half-cent sales tax increase, enacted in 2012, and increase it by an additional half-cent; instead of the 8.25 percent that it is now, it would jump to 8.75 percent.
The City of Sacramento says the 2012 increase, which expires in March, has brought it nearly $50 million in revenue annually and has helped pay for police officers, firefighters and parks. They say the additional sales tax hike would double the revenue and be used for important projects like community programs and affordable housing.
Critics are not so convinced. Those against it say it is a financial burden for working folks and that they don't believe the city will use the extra money for all the things they say they will.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that will not be the case, but, even so, critics say they believe the measure is just too vague.
Measure U doesn't require the money be spent on anything specific. That vagueness is, in part, a strategy. It means the measure only needs a simple majority to pass, not two-thirds of the votes.
Bottom line: If you vote YES on Measure U, you're voting in favor of an increased 8.75 percent sales tax in Sacramento. If you vote NO, you're in favor of decreasing the sales tax to 7.75 percent.
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