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Measure U

Sacramento voters on Nov. 6, 2018, approved a new version of the City’s Measure U sales tax, extending it and raising it from a half-cent to a full cent.

The original Measure U was approved by voters in 2012 as a temporary tax. Its revenues have been used to restore essential City services that had been cut or scaled back since 2008, including those provided by Sacramento fire, police, parks and libraries.

Measure U is a general tax, and the revenue it produces goes in the City’s General Fund and can be used for any municipal purpose. Mayor Darrell Steinberg and members of the Sacramento City Council have said new Measure U funds could be used to build and bolster an inclusive economy, grow jobs and provide housing that is affordable to all.

When does the Measure U sales tax go up from a half-cent to a full cent?

The original half-cent Measure U tax approved by voters in 2012 expires on March 31, 2019. The 1-cent tax that replaces it takes effect the next day, on April 1, 2019.

When will the City begin seeing money from the new Measure U?

The City is expected to start receiving funds from the new Measure U in June. Merchants who collect the money from consumers send it to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, which then remits it to cities. The process takes about two months.

How much money is Measure U expected to produce for the City?

The current half-cent Measure U sales tax produces approximately $47 million a year — an amount that’s expected to double with the full-cent tax. This projection will be refined when the City adopts its 2019/20 budget around June 2019.

How were funds from the first Measure U used?

Voters passed the first Measure U as a temporary half-cent sales tax to restore and protect police and fire services, park maintenance and other essential City services (including library) that were cut between 2008 and 2013. That sales tax took effect April 1, 2013.

The previous Measure U paid for 195 positions in the Police Department, 90 in the Fire Department and 137 in Youth, Parks & Community Enrichment (YPCE). The current version of Measure U will maintain these positions as well as allow for new investments for the City.

Who will decide how the new Measure U money is spent?

It’s up to the Sacramento City Council to decide how to spend money from Measure U. But residents can have significant input through a new Measure U Community Advisory Committee.

As approved by the Council on Oct. 2, 2018, the new Measure U Community Advisory Committee will have 15 members, nine appointed by the Mayor and Council members from each council district and six by the Personnel & Public Employees Committee.

The application period for potential applicants opened on Nov. 20, 2018 and will remain open until 5 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2019.

The makeup of the committee will include:

  • One member between 16 and 24 years old
  • One member with experience in affordable housing, homelessness or rental housing issues
  • One member representing a taxpayer organization
  • One member with experience with business, economic development or workforce development
  • One member with experience in community trauma, mental health or community-based crime reduction
  • One member with professional experience with youth-focused adult education, public health or environmental justice groups

The Mayor and City Council, together with City staff, also are working to establish a group of investment experts that will provide input to the City Manager, the Measure U Community Advisory Committee and the City Council on which investments will lead to inclusive economic growth.

The City Council is expected to vote in December 2018 to adopt specific performance metrics, which will be used to evaluate potential Measure U investments.

How can I get involved?

The application period for potential Measure U Community Advisory Committee members will be open from Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018 until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

Visit Boards & Commissions to submit your application.

Mayor and Council offices will hold four informational sessions for potential applicants between Dec. 1, 2018 and the first week of January 2019. Dates will be announced as soon as the sessions are scheduled.

When will the City decide what to spend the money on?

Decisions about the first round of expenditures under the new Measure U will be made as part of the City’s budget process for the 2019/20 fiscal year.

What has the City done over the years to become more efficient?

Since Measure U was passed in 2012, the City has taken actions to contain costs and become more efficient.

The City currently employs 9.3 employees for every 1,000 residents of Sacramento. That compares to 11.5 employees for every 1,000 residents in 2007/2008. The City also has eliminated retiree health benefits for new employees in every union except firefighters.

In addition, since 2015, all City employees are required to fully fund employee contributions toward their retirement costs. All public safety employees pay an additional three percent of the City’s retirement cost, while all but 160 non-safety employees pay an additional 1 percent.