PLEA has been fielding numerous questions about our support of Prop 104 also referred to as the “Transit Tax”. There are two main reasons PLEA is in support of Proposition 104.
First, it will create a restructuring that will end all General Fund monies being used to support Transit. Currently, the General Fund supplements Transit dollars by about 16 million dollars a year. Under Prop 104 this will end. With the elimination of support from the General Fund, Transit will be run in a fashion similar to the Airport or the Water Department. This is important because it will relieve pressure from the General Fund and will open up additional financial resources that can be better utilized elsewhere within the City.
Second, 100% of the 16+ million dollars that will be freed up within the General Fund will be redirected for the express purpose of hiring and getting more officers on the street. This money will be used to hire 125 additional officers this year. These 125 officers are on top of the ones already approved by Council under the Public Safety Balancing Plan. It is projected that these extra officers will get the Department back to 3,125 sworn positions by FY 2018. This is a significant increase from the number of officers we have today which is around 2700. As a side note, no other City Department including Fire will receive any of the money that will be freed up in the General Fund as a result of this proposition. The Police Department is slated to get 100% of these funds in order to overcome our critical staffing shortages.
If this proposition is passed, an existing tax of 4/10 of a cent will be raised to 7/10 of a cent. The Transit Tax is projected to raise approximately 30 billion dollars over 35 years. A recent news article stated that thirty thousand dollars in union support was thrown behind Prop 104. While true, this figure is a combined total contributed by ALL city labor groups to support this proposition.
For the above reasons PLEA is advocating a YES vote on Prop 104.