Oakland's Iffy Landscape Tax Axed, City Broke in All Kinds of New Ways



You can't say it any better than the San Francisco Chronicle, so let's go to the tape: "Oakland's fiscal problems got $12 million worse Tuesday, when the City Council rejected a landscaping and lighting tax increase approved by property owners two months ago but challenged for improperly weighting votes." The iffy legality of the tax was first documented in a column in the Express, which called into question the methodology initially used to conclude that the tax had passed.

Oakland now faces a much more dire budget deficit, to the tune of at least $50 million of roughly 10 percent of the entire budget. Once again, this can be attributed to the judgment of former city administrator Deborah Edgerly, as a Finance Department report claims that she overestimated revenue by about $38 million. Electioneering hanky panky doomed this particular tax, but the Chron also notes that a recent state Supreme Court decision could jeopardize future voter-approved property taxes, a considerably more troubling development.