Money

Tomorrow night, the council will receive (and likely accept) the 2nd quarter sales tax Collection report. I’ve been meaning/trying to put together a quarter by quarter sales tax spreadsheet for the last few years, but other things keep cropping up and I haven’t even really started.

The key issue in the six page staff report are that the 2nd quarter of 2007 dropped at 0.7% over the same time last year, and really it was increases in construction and food that appear to have offset decreases in every other category.

Unfortunately, the old saw of “South Shore/Towne Centre is under construction” doesn’t necessarily speak to the concern in dropping sales tax, as it was under construction in both 2006 and 2007, and in fact, some of the new stores have come on-line.

That said, the construction is well underway and major construction will be complete by this time next year. With Bed Bath and Beyond (does anyone else’s mind jump to the Simpson’s Halloween special that featured a trip to Bloodbath and Beyond when they hear that name?) opening, the theater coming on line in March, Borders, and other new, long-planned projects gearing up, perhaps we really are about to turn a corner.

With the huge public service union issues (Firefighters are up next!) It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out. Page 6 of the report shows that Police and Fire use nearly 60% of all general funds in the city.

With Action Alameda endorsing the use of state and regional laws to overcome local planning issues, perhaps they’ll start looking at supporting regional sales tax sharing laws in Sacramento. There was movement about four years ago, but it went no where. Now may be the time to look again. Check out the graph on Page 5 that compares sales tax collection per capita in Alameda County.

Alameda beat Piedmont (Yay us!) and the unincorporated areas of the county (Wohoo, we’re on a roll). And they we get our butts handed to us by the rest of the cities in the county (It’s like we’re the Cal Bears of city sales tax collection!) Check out Emeryville. There’s some serious redistribution that needs to at least be talked about.