After careful consideration, I’m encouraging Morro Bay residents to VOTE NO on Harbor Tax B-22.
Over the past several years, Morro Bay voters have voted for measures that increase taxes on residents, small businesses and tourists for severely underfunded departments. These departments have undoubtedly provided crucial and necessary services for Morro Bay. There is no doubt, in my mind, that our harbor needs millions in improvements. But the proposed harbor tax is merely a band aid solution that will eventually require another band aid solution in perpetuity — that is, until we uncover the fundamental issue as to why the harbor is underfunded and in a constant state of disrepair. Without a sunset provision, there is no endgame.
Morro Bay needs to get out of the habit of squeezing blood from a stone by taxing residents as stopgap measures during an inflationary period and unrealistically expecting a rosy outcome. The City of Morro Bay has not only failed to reconcile decades of neglect to establish proper funding sources for the harbor, they’ve refused to have any discussion on meaningful reform. If proponents of this regressive harbor tax want to push this forward, the City of Morro Bay has to explain to voters what they would do to ensure the harbor is properly funded. The City has certainly not fulfilled their end of the bargain.
Meanwhile, Morro Bay’s working class and seniors on fixed incomes are forced to grapple with rising utility costs, leaving them without a discretionary spending budget that they would use to support our local economy. And future generations of Morro Bay residents will be left in a more dire situation. As renters, they will be forced to reconcile with increased rent costs as landlords will inevitably pass property tax increases down to them. As homeowners, they will face an insurmountable burden of paying for the same tax increases in a continuous loop.
As a millennial Morro Bay resident, I work not one, not two, but several jobs to adjust to the extraordinary costs of living here. The $120/year parcel tax increase may break down to the equivalent of a monthly Netflix subscription for someone like me, but the costs won’t end there. If the majority of voters vote no, we will put a stop to the stopgap measures and require the City of Morro Bay to properly govern. Should the majority approve this parcel tax, my generation and future generations will have to live elsewhere, leaving Morro Bay with an uncertain and fiscally unsustainable future. If you think labor shortages are bad now, wait until tax increases like these are passed. People like us won’t be part of our local workforce.
I support the Harbor Dept., but I do not support this parcel tax increase. VOTE NO on B-22.