Voters in Fresno are deciding on three sales-tax measures that would help with Fresno State, veterans and transportation projects.
Measure C is a countywide measure to extend the current sales tax for transportation projects; Measure E is also a countywide measure for funding programs and facilities at Fresno State; and Measure M is designed to fund veterans services in the city of Fresno.
The fist update after 8 p.m. when polls closed saw Measure E lead 62%-39%, Measure E trail 52% to 48%, and Measure M lead 62%-39%. However, C and M need two-third to pass.
The measure would renew the existing half-cent transportation tax for another 30 years, from 2027-2057. The current Measure C, approved in 2006, expires in 2027. Because it was placed on the ballot by a government body, in this case the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, it needed two-thirds to pass.
Supporters said the tax renewal would generate $228 million annually — or $7 billion over the 30-year life of the tax.
Measure C divided the community, pitting businesses and like-minded politicians against environmental and social justice advocates. It also split both ways along party lines.
Supporters include Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, R-Fresno, four members of the Fresno City Council (Democrats Esmeralda Soria, Mike Karbassi and Luis Chavez; as well as Republican Garry Bredefeld), and four members of Fresno County Board of Supervisors (Republicans Buddy Mendes and Nathan Magsig, along with Democrats Brian Pacheco and Sal Quintero).
Those opposing Measure C include elected leaders like Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias, D-Fresno, Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, and Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau, R-Fresno.
Both the Fresno County Democratic and Republican parties also opposed Measure C.
Opponents complained that even the process to develop Measure C was unfair. Among their claims was that organizers did not have enough meetings to gather community input.
The No on C group’s arguments included that the measure did not provide enough programs to clean the air and offer mass transportation.
Measure E would add one-fifth (0.2%) of a percent to the county sales tax for programs and facilities at Fresno State. Supporters say at least two-thirds would go to academics, with up to one-third to athletics.
The tax increase would raise $36 million annually and would last for 20 years.
The measure was solely funded by the company of Richard F. Spencer, the Fresno-based developer magnate. Financial disclosure reports show that Spencer was the only Measure E financial backer, at $1.6 million.
Measure M would add one-eighth (0.175%) of a percent to the city of Fresno sales tax for veterans programs and facilities. Because it was added to the ballot by the City Council, it needs two-thirds to pass.
It is estimated to raise $19.5 million annually and would last for 20 years.