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Fresno Mayor Announces Tax Proposal That Might Compete With Other Parks Tax Initiative

Laura Tsutsui
Valley Public Radio
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand announces his new tax proposal to raise money for public safety and parks.

The Fresno mayor announced a sales tax initiative he will propose to the City Council on Thursday. The proposal could end up competing with another measure that’s vying for a spot on the November ballot.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand wants to raise money for public safety and parks. He’s proposing a half-cent sales tax. If approved by the city council and voters, it could raise up to fifty million dollars a year for the next 15 years. Half of the money would go to local law enforcement and the other half would implement long-awaited improvements to Fresno's parks system.

“I did not make this decision lightly,” says Brand. “I believe my 10 year economic plan for creating at least 10 thousand new jobs in Fresno will dramatically improve our economic base, and eventually fund many of these improvements, but we can’t wait ten or fifteen years.”

Another initiative, Fresno for Parks, has been gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would impose a three-eighths cent sales tax to support parks, arts and trails. Larry Powell, with Fresno for Parks, says that he hopes the two initiative don’t have to compete.

"If you have two initiatives on the ballot, at the very least it’s gonna be confusing for everybody,” says Powell. “So it makes sense for us to try to find common ground and come together on something. ”

Powell says Fresno for Parks will attend Thursday’s City Council meeting, and continue gathering signatures in the meantime. Mayor Brand’s proposal will need five votes from the council to end up on the November ballot, and two-thirds voter approval to take effect.

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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