The San Diego Association of Governments is collecting far less revenue from a sales tax hike than it told voters it would, but the watchdog group created to oversee the tax says that’s not its problem.
When voters in 2004 approved the half-cent sales tax TransNet, they also approved the creation of an oversight group called the Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee. It was intended as a sweetener so voters could be sure the new money would be spent efficiently.
But the growing shortfall between the $14 billion forecast when voters approved the 40-year tax and the actual revenue SANDAG has collected hasn’t drawn the attention of that group.
No one on the oversight committee asked SANDAG staff any questions on the shortfall at a meeting this month when the group discussed the document in which the shortfall was disclosed.
Nor was the shortfall mentioned anywhere in ITOC’s annual report to SANDAG’s board of directors, delivered in a presentation Friday. The elected officials from around the county on the board didn’t ask a single question about ITOC’s annual review – not on TransNet’s revenue shortfall, or any other topic.
The chair of the committee, Stewart Halpern, says the group’s responsibilities don’t include monitoring the growing disparity between the projected revenue and the actual revenue it’s brought in so far.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Whatever source, oversight, who is responsible,form of funds, its the performance that counts.
In the long range plan, extending to 2050, the plan's own analysis shows it doesn't make sense to sped $ billions, up to $40 billion, to cover the landscape with obsolete mass transit. About 20% would come from Measure A sales tax increase.
Long before 2050 we are seeing on-call personal service that will replace mass transit's expensive scheduled service. NO on Measure A.
We all know how government funding priorities can change from year to year on a whim. With multiple agencies and funding sources involved, it is only common sense that SANDAG needs an annual revenue update as well as their expenses. That is Finance 101. Sheesh. I guess that is the benefit of being a government agency instead of a business.
No government agency verifies adherence to promises that politicians or government agencies make to the public.
This is why I always vote NO on bond measures/tax hikes. The "oversight committee" doesn't track where the money goes. So what are they actually overseeing?
@Eric Johnston They most certainly do track where it goes. They don't track how it comes in and that's what this article is about.
So in case no one has noticed there is no such thing as a crystal ball. A forecast is an educated guess with many things to consider. No where in this article is a mention of the worst recession we've seen in several generations. That is a significant consideration that no one could have predicted.
Our regional transportation system is a complicated balance of regional and local needs with a responsibility to move people and preserve the environment. There will be successes and failures and the plan is reviewed and revised constantly all in the public's view. Sandag juggles the interests of 18 different cities,the unincorporated communities of the county, and the tribal interests in the region. It's understandable that not everyone will be happy with the agency but everyone has a seat at the table. To stifle the inevitable growth needs of a vital infrastructure while waiting for a better plan is not realistic. Prince Charming, like the crystal ball, is a fairy tale that will have us sitting in LA style traffic in fewer years than we think.
@Jerry Jones Hi Jerry.
In previous stories, I spent more time on the causes of the revenue shortfall -- the recession is obviously the biggest one, but it isn't the only one. I also looked at reasons to doubt the projection for Measure A.
This story is not about what caused the issue, but how the agency and oversight group publicly disclosed the revenue shortfall and its potential consequences once it had already materialized.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
@Jerry Jones Easy there, Mr. Jones.Haven’t you heard Los Angeles SOLVED their traffic problems by building both a subway and a fixed rail above ground transit system? So……wait a minute, I was in L A traffic last month, and it seemed worse than ever.What went wrong?Let me guess that answer, they didn't spend enough and didn’t lay enough rail.
Is there a lesson here for SANDAG planners? Maybe, but they’ll never find it because their primary expertise is in reinventing the wheel. More buses? It might be more flexible but it’s old technology……