Special to the RNH
Measure L is a ballot initiative to support the Solano County Library, which includes the Rio Vista Library,by continuing the existing one-eighth of one percent library sales tax approved by voters in 1998. The
measure would extend, with no increases, the tax for another 16 years, expiring in 2030. It would take effect only when the current measure expires on Oct. 1, 2014. Important taxpayer protection written into the measure includes: it provides funding for libraries that the State cannot take away; and an independent oversight committee to monitor the funds to ensure they are spent properly.
According to library officials, since the 2007-08 fiscal year, the library system has lost $4.5 million in property tax revenue, and $2.5 million in sales tax revenue along with $524,000 in state revenue reductions. These budget cuts are coming at the same time as library use in Rio Vista is growing. Visits to the Rio Vista Library have soared from 48,000 in 1997 to 70,150 in 2011. During these economic hard times, more people are borrowing DVDs, books, and music CDs rather than buying or renting them. Residents also use the public computer terminals and free Wi-Fi for job searches, paying bills, sending emails, research health questions, and many other online activities.
If Measure L is not passed on June 5, the libraries in Solano County will lose $5.2 million. This means cuts in the budget to purchase books, DVDs and other materials, fewer computer resources, reduced adult and senior programs, and a decrease in the current operating hours. The Solano County Library, which includes the Rio Vista Library, receives 22 percent of its budget from the initiative passed in 1998.
The Solano County sales tax rate of 7.375 percent, including the one-eighth of one percent for libraries, makes it among the lowest sales tax rates in the nine Bay Area counties. Shopping outside our county costs you money. In Brentwood, you pay 8.25 percent sales tax; Stockton is 8.00 percent; and Concord or Berkeley is 8.75 percent. The IRS State Sales Tax Deduction Calculator estimates a sales tax of one-
eighth of one percent costs a couple earning $40,000-50,000 under $12 a year. Compare that to the cost of purchasing a book, movie rentals, buying eBooks and CDs, or movie pay-per-view charges.
Think about how much is available to you from the Rio Vista Library for such a small investment. Study the issue carefully and be sure to vote on JUNE 5.