Oct 5 2020

OPINION: Vote No on Flawed Measure TT Property Sales Tax Increase

I oppose Measure TT, the thirty-five percent increase in the Real Property Transfer Tax (“RPTT”), as  Measure TT is fundamentally flawed.
Proponents claim the city faces a “maintenance deficit” and this is based on the city’s assumption that RPTT revenue will remain flat at $2.8M for the next 10 years.  The data reveals that over the past 10 years the tax revenue has already averaged $3.3M annually. A conservative projection shows by 2030 the RPTT will be $4.4M. Despite  expected volatility Piedmont’s RPTT revenue will continue to grow because of rising Piedmont home prices, consistent sales volume and macro-economic forces.
Measure TT is proposed as needed for facility maintenance and repair; the text of Measure TT allows taxpayer dollars to be used for any City service. If a tax is needed for facilities, then it should be written that way. Further, Piedmonters are already taxed at high levels by our City services and sewer taxes.  Additionally, our School tax is the highest in the State and School bonds are at the maximum legal limit. Our total City and School financial burden is at the highest State wide level. Keeping City taxes at a reasonable level allows more generous volunteer contributions to our Schools which makes future school tax increases unnecessary and supports the many retired seniors on fixed incomes.
All City long-term needs including sewer replacement, equipment replacement and pension obligations are stable.  Plainly at this time, there is no reason to permanently raise the transfer tax.
Vote no on Measure TT.
Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

3 Responses to “OPINION: Vote No on Flawed Measure TT Property Sales Tax Increase”

  1. The Facilities Maintenance budget has $5M in it, the highest balance of any city fund. It doesn’t need a tax increase to be funded. And recall that the parcel tax was raised in the previous election to bring in $500,000 for facilities maintenance.

    TT is based on a flawed financial projection, which would be ok if the tax were dedicated to facility maintenance. The TT tax increase can be spent on any city service – salaries, benefits, cost overruns. It’s too bad the city didn’t coordinate with the school district and share this tax increase – the district could use the maintenance funds. Vote no on TT and tell Council to structure the parcel tax so the district gets a share.

  2. I’m not the expert on budget balances, but I do know that Measure TT will make Piedmont’s real estate transfer tax become tied for the highest in Alameda County. I’m also not an expert on how to plug a link into something I’m currently typing, but go to the East Bay Times website, find editorials, and you will find an editorial about 3 days ago which calls out Piedmont for what it says will be the highest such tax in California. That’s not a distinction that I’d want Piedmont to be known for.

  3. I think the editorial Mike is referring to is available on this website:


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