Friday, July 20 , 2018, 12:18 pm | Overcast 66º


Letter to the Editor: Bob Geis’ Fiscal Impact Statement Short on Real Numbers

To: Mr. Bob Geis, Santa Barbara County Auditor-Controller

Cars Are Basic (CAB), a nonprofit public interest group, has read your Fiscal Impact Statement for Measure M. We believe you are required to prepare the impact statement pursuant to the requirements of California Elections Code 9160 (c). Under 9160 (c) your office is required to estimate the fiscal impacts of Measure M.

CAB believes you have failed to meet the legal requirements of 9160 (c).

We failed to locate any dollar estimate of the impacts of Measure M on the county budget, as a whole or on any specific part of the county budget. Instead, we have located vague references to impacts with wording such as “may have,” “may,” “could” and other generalized expressions. Inference is a far cry from a true estimate. If a licensed contractor were to give a homeowner an estimate such as “this may cost a lot of money,” the contractor would be in violation of California law. Contractors (and motor vehicle repair shops) are required by law to give written estimates, in monetary units, of labor, material and outside labor costs. We believe your office is required by 9160(c) to give an estimate, in monetary units, of the impacts on the county budget as a whole as well as individual departments.

We believe your office is required to provide in the impact statements at least the following facts:

1)  The estimated county budget (approximately $844 million)

2)  The estimated budget for Health and Public Services and Public Safety (approximately $585 million)

3)  The estimated cost to fund the requirements of Measure M (approximately $18 million-$21 million)

4)  The estimated reduction in the combined budgets of Health and Public Services and Public Safety if Measure M funding was taken exclusively from those departments (an estimated 3.6 percent reduction in funding for Health and Public Services and Public Safety).

Please be aware that CAB is a nonprofit organization the does not take positions on ballot measures. We do, however, provide impartial analysis of ballot measures. As your Fiscal Impact Statement is currently written, neither CAB nor the voters will be able to use the statement as a tool for determining the fiscal impacts of Measure M. We believe you do have time to correct the legal deficiencies of your impact statement before the public review period begins on March 11. Please remember that your office was made aware of many of these deficiencies on Friday, March 7, and have had Friday, Saturday and Sunday to work on addressing those deficiencies.

Thank you.

Tom Becker
Cars Are Basic

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