Early Returns Indicate Thumbs Up for SF Bay Restoration Measure

Residents from Sonoma to Santa Clara appear poised to approve their first ever nine-county ballot measure in a bid to protect and restore the San Francisco Bay. Early returns Wednesday morning indicated a victory for Measure AA, which would impose a $12 per year parcel tax throughout the 9 Bay Area counties—the first tax to be levied throughout an entire region of multiple counties in the history of the state.

Revenue from AA is projected to come in at around $500 million and would be earmarked for marsh restoration and public access improvements along the shoreline. It was supported by the region’s environmental advocacy groups, as well as the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.

“Everybody in the Bay Area loves the bay, and tonight they’re saying they’re willing to pay to help take care of it,” said Executive Director David Lewis of Save the Bay of the early returns.

Critics of the measure have questioned its fairness, since it would charge all property owners at an equal parcel tax rate, regardless of just how close to the Bay they live. Furthermore, they argue that a parcel tax is inherently regressive because it charges the same amount for a small residence as it does a mansion or a building owned by a corporation.

If approved, the parcel tax would be assessed for a period of 20 years, beginning July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2037.

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