Don Gage is right: it’s doomed, so …

County Supervisor Don Gage couldn’t be more right: Any proposal
for increasing the countywide sales tax to pay for transportation
and social services is doomed.
County Supervisor Don Gage couldn’t be more right: Any proposal for increasing the countywide sales tax to pay for transportation and social services is doomed.

There is no point in pursuing a sales tax increase at this time. The economic climate in the valley is tepid at best and voters are expecting organizations like county government and social service agencies to have to do more with less just as they have been expected to do. Layoffs, pay cuts and benefit reductions have been the rule not the exception.

That’s the reality of the times, a reality that demands county government, social service agencies and particularly the Valley Transportation Authority stop asking for more.

We single out the VTA for two good reasons: The scathing grand jury report on its inefficient operations and the dogged pursuit, whipped on by the misguided Silicon Valley Leadership Group, of bringing BART to San Jose no matter the cost.

All signs indicate the SVLG is working hard in the background to bring another sales tax before voters, and we’d bet that when push comes to shove, the social service component of a possible ballot measure will get shoved aside. Bringing BART to San Jose has, unfortunately, become nothing more than a future campaign ego boost for San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales and his cronies.

The costs to build and operate BART to San Jose are so astronomical and so implausible that only those blinded by ego are supportive.

The VTA should be concentrating on road and Caltrain improvements that are doable right now – even in the face of an economy that isn’t providing the projected sales tax numbers. Instead, energy is being spent on BART to San Jose. We don’t believe county residents are in tune with that drum beat. Supervisors should not be quick to get on the sales tax bandwagon regardless of what engineered survey the SVLG puts before them.

Proposing another county sales tax increase when VTA has not delivered on what it promised for the last tax increase is a recipe for trouble that has the potential to drain the goodwill of voters. BART at any cost isn’t worth that.

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