Tax-sharing plan softened to ease critics

The Associated Press
Wednesday January 16, 2002

SACRAMENTO — The turf war over a novel tax-sharing bill proposed for metropolitan Sacramento turned a new direction Tuesday when Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, unveiled a compromise bill to mollify opposition. 

Opponents say they aren’t budging. 

Steinberg, who introduced a bill last year requiring cities and counties of the capital region to share sales tax revenues, produced a rewrite Tuesday, requiring them to share only the growth in sales taxes after 2002. 

Flanked by supporting council members from Davis, Citrus Heights, Sacramento and Loomis, Steinberg called the state’s sales tax system “an addiction to poor planning.” Backers say cities fight each other for stores and car dealers instead of cooperating toward a regional vision. 

Steinberg also added language calling for a study of the tax-sharing experiment in 2010. Responding to critics who fear the bill will spark similar proposals statewide, Steinberg says they should wait until the 2010 study. 

“The bill ought not be replicated in the state until that review takes place,” he said. But the suggestion carries no binding authority. 

Steinberg, facing a Jan. 31 deadline to move the bill out of the Assembly or see it die, also announced a report by a Bay Area think tank, Policy Link, supporting the tax-sharing vision. The idea is bitterly dividing cities in the six-county region, pitting older neighborhoods against new suburbs rich with auto malls and regional shopping centers. 

Craig Robinson, assistant city manager of suburban Roseville, said afterward he sees no problem with competition among cities. Roseville and other opposing cities are putting up $90,000 for a public relations offensive against the bill. Sacramento and Sacramento County have pledged $120,000 for the same.