This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Santa Barbara County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Measure X2004
Tax Sunset Initiative
City of Buellton

605 / 31.73% Yes votes ...... 1302 / 68.27% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 2 8:23am, 99.9% of Precincts Reporting (355/3)
Information shown below: Official Information | Arguments | Full Text

Should an Ordinance be adopted approving a new section 1.16.020 to be added to the Buellton Municipal Code to require a public vote on all City of Buellton taxes, in order of age, the oldest first, by placing one on each General Election ballot until all have been reconsidered by the voters?

Official Sources of Information
Suggest a link related to Measure X2004
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure X2004 Arguments Against Measure X2004
Do not be misled by scare mongering. Sunsetting Taxes does not repeal any tax the people want to keep. Nor does Sunsetting Taxes prevent government from imposing any new tax.

What Sunsetting Taxes does do is hold tax collectors accountable. For the first time it makes government justify old taxes at least once every 25 years. It puts an end to the practice of ?taxation in perpetuity? with which current generations enslave future generations. That is a power the people need, especially our children and grandchildren.

Why now? Because of rolling bankruptcy in Sacramento! Every day we see state government getting more and more arbitrary about what they tax, whom they tax, and what they do with the money. Usually Sacramento is stealing tax revenues from the local community.

If you don?t fight back, Sacramento will take your property taxes, your sales taxes, your Redevelopment Agency taxes, anything that is not nailed down. Until you implement Tax Sunsetting, your community will not have any real defense against Sacramento?s endless appetite.

With Tax Sunsetting, future generations can stop paying a tax that is merely being drained off by Sacramento. With Tax Sunsetting local government can either shift to fees, fines and volunteerism to fund local services, or implement new taxes that are more relevant to new times and local conditions.

To stop the enslavement of future generations with undeserved debts and tax elections from decades past, let each generation of new voters decide what they will or won?t continue paying in local taxes.

Taxation without representation is un-American. Give future generations the representation that ?taxation in perpetuity? denies them. Sunset unpopular taxes.

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The proponents claim that the Tax Sunset Initiative will not repeal any taxes the people want to keep. This statement is untrue. The repeal of municipal taxes, in order of age, is automatic unless 66% of the voters allow them to continue. Allowing the City to retain municipal taxes requires more that a simple majority of what Buellton residents want.

The proponents seek accountability, yet there is no evidence of mismanagement. The City of Buellton is financially sound. This is the result of prudent fiscal practices coupled with the unusually large contributions of sales, use, and transient occupancy taxes paid by non-resident visitors.

The proponents levy their attack on Sacramento, yet their solution is to penalize local government. The prospective loss of local revenues would handcuff the City. Buellton would become more dependent, not less so, upon non-local revenue sources. This would leave the City highly vulnerable to shifting tax policy in Sacramento.

The proponents wish to stop ?taxation without representation.? Local taxation is not un-American. To the contrary, resident representatives elected by Buellton voters govern all budgetary matters. All five members of the City Council are directly accountable to Buellton residents. State legislators are not.

Don?t be fooled by out-of-town tax crusaders. Elimination of municipal taxes would shift the financial burden from non-residents to those who live and work here. Approval of the Sunset Tax Initiative would enslave, not free, Buellton residents from unpopular taxes and Sacramento politics. The Sunset Tax Initiative is a bad measure, pure and simple.

The undersigned authors of the rebuttal argument to Argument in Favor of Measure X2004 at the Presidential General Election for the City of Buellton to be held on November 2, 2004 here state that such rebuttal argument is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.


Mayor Bill Traylor

Mayor Pro Tem Russ Hicks

City Manager Steven L. Thompson

Simply put, the proposed Tax Sunset Initiative of 2003 is bad law. It is poorly thought out, is not applicable to many of the taxes railed against by the proponents and could actually shift the tax burden from non-residents to those who live or own property in Buellton.

The proponents of this Initiative have stated that Buellton is only an ?experiment? in order to pursue their ideas as to how government should fund its services.

The Initiative will not affect State taxes, only Buellton tax revenues. These are the local sales tax, the transient occupancy tax, a real property transfer tax, and a business license tax on specific businesses. The City does not levy taxes on utilities or gasoline, nor does it receive revenue from personal income taxes paid to State and Federal government. Furthermore, property taxes do not constitute a ?municipal tax? and are strictly governed by Proposition 13.

Buellton tax revenues are used to provide law enforcement, library support, street sweeping, recreation programs, City parks, senior programs and planned improvements to the Avenue of Flags.

The proponents of this measure suggest using ?fees, fines, and volunteerism? to fund local services, or even to implement new taxes. This vague subterfuge should not replace the appropriate, and locally advantageous, revenue system now in place.

This Initiative would be disastrous for Buellton. Loss of Buellton taxes, of which non-residents now pay 77%, would mean Buellton residents would shoulder the added burden or face the loss of current services. This is too dangerous for an ?experiment.?

Buellton was incorporated by the desire to maintain local control and provide for our own destiny. An outsider?s selfish ?experiment? must not threaten our community.

Save our City. Vote NO on the Tax Sunset Initiative of 2003.

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Without tax sunsets every generation, you, your children, and their children will never have a chance to review old tax policy. This perpetuates general ignorance of tax impacts. When City Council first heard about this tax sunset proposal, they admitted that even they did not have any idea of what the existing tax structure is like. Everybody gains awareness when referendums bring the books out of dusty storage every generation.

Only the tax and spend crowd sees a problem with giving voters a periodic veto power. Tax Sunsetting does not repeal taxes, nor prevent newer/better ones being imposed. It only widens public access to the process. It's democratization of the process that the tax and spenders fear. Letting you vote on the continuance of old taxes discomforts their exclusive control. They fear accountability to a better informed public!

Why do they distract you with a list of taxes that are not sunset by this proposal? Would they like it better if our measure did threaten state taxes? I doubt it. Why also do they automatically presume that you will immediately avail yourself of the opportunity to repeal all local taxes? If current taxes are so popular, and so responsibly spent, why be afraid of public review? Do they have something to hide? I guess we'll only find out when mandatory tax referenda becomes law and politicians actually have to justify their policies on occasion.

Signed: Robert Bakhaus

Submitted August 4, 2004

Full Text of Measure X2004
Title 1, Chapter 1.16 of the Buellton Municipal Code shall be amended to include Section 1.16.020 Tax Sunset Elections, requiring public referenda on all municipal taxes, in order of age, the oldest first, placing one on each general election ballot until all have been reconsidered by the voters. The process is to start with the first general election after this proposal wins voter approval. Taxes not receiving at least 66% supermajority voter approval are therewith repealed. The process is to repeat every 25 years for surviving taxes. If voters fail to renew a tax collected by another jurisdiction on behalf of the City of Buellton, the City's share of that tax revenue will be returned to City taxpayers upon its receipt by the City from the other jurisdiction.

Santa Barbara Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: December 15, 2004 13:33 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.