Case Study

City Sales Tax Measure

City of Vacaville

Background

The City of Vacaville responded to the drastic economic downturn and the loss of nearly $60 million in local funding from the State by implementing several cost-saving measures that included reducing staffing levels and cutting employee salaries, benefits and pensions. The City also faced the loss of a critical source of local funding that had been in place for 25 years.

TBWB was hired to assist with packaging and passing a measure to renew the expiring local funding. In analyzing the City’s voter survey, TBWB recommend that the City not only had support to renew local funding (Measure I), but they also had voter support to place a second measure that would generate further revenue through a ¼ cent sales tax increase (Measure M). Because Vacaville draws a large amount of shoppers to the City annually, a significant portion of Measure M would be paid by residents from other cities that shop at the outlet stores and other businesses that serve the entire region.

What We Did

City of VacavilleGetting voters to pass a tax increase or tax extension in a challenging fiscal and political climate is always difficult. By analyzing the fiscal needs, voting history and public priorities within the City of Vacaville, TBWB developed several mailers and collateral materials that the campaign used to educate voters on the two measures.

This strategy included developing a core message that centered on protecting the most essential city services and programs including crime prevention, emergency response times, and programs for businesses, children and seniors. Emphasizing local control of the funds, and the fact that the State is prohibited from raiding these funds, also proved to be key messages that resonated with voters.

Thanks to effective communication of our key messages, the community of Vacaville understood the importance of passing both Measures I and M in order to protect city services and programs. Measure I passed with an overwhelming 80.9% and Measure M passed with 70.1%. Both measures required a simple majority vote for approval.