San Mateo County Measures Fail, Would Have Assessed New Business License Taxes on Rental Car Companies

The nationwide economic turmoil is at least partly responsible for the defeat of two San Mateo County tax measures that would have raised $11.5 million through new business license taxes on rental car companies and parking facilities in the county's unincorporated areas, county supervisors said in an article by Bay Area News Group.

Most of those businesses are near the San Francisco International Airport.

Voters on Nov. 4 rejected Measure Q and Measure R on Nov. 4, a setback to the county's effort to close a $28.6 million structural deficit. The measures’ chances for passage dimmed as the country’s financial crisis worsened. Supervisor Rich Gordon, who proposed the measures along with Supervisor Mark Church, said “I think we felt that it was going to be certainly a difficult time to ask people to have businesses dig deeper.” Measure Q, an 8 percent tax on parking companies, failed with 52.6 percent of voters opposed and Measure R, a 2.5-percent tax on rental businesses, failed with 52.9 percent opposed, according to the elections office. They each needed a majority vote to pass. Gordon said voters may be more receptive to the business license taxes in 2010, the next year that general purpose taxes can be placed on the ballot, if the economy has recovered and the budget issues persist. County budget officials say the deficit could grow to more than $90 million if no action is taken. Len Almalech, vice president and general manager of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, who spoke out against the taxes, said supervisors should not try to balance their budget “on the back of one single industry” that is also struggling. “We’re glad the voters of San Mateo County saw this as an additional burden on an industry that was unfair and unjust,” Almalech said.

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