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Oakland Residents To Vote On New Parcel Tax Measure

OAKLAND (CBS SF) - The Oakland City Council has voted to place a parcel tax measure on the June ballot that would raise $11 million a year for the next five years to help reduce the city's $46 million budget shortfall.

City Council President Larry Reid said Tuesday that he thinks the measure, which would authorize a tax of $80 per single-family home, has a good chance of passing because it's a much lower amount than the $360-per-parcel tax proposed in the Nov. 2 election as Measure X.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected that measure, with just 28 percent voting in favor of the extra expense.

Reid said a poll commissioned by Mayor Jean Quan indicates that the new proposed parcel tax has a good chance of garnering the two-thirds majority it needs for approval.

Reid was one of five council members in favor of placing the measure on the ballot Monday night. Two council members, Ignacio De Le Fuente and Libby Schaaf, opposed the idea.

The tax would help pay for police and fire services, parks and recreation, library services and youth violence prevention.

The parcel tax measure will only go on the ballot in June if state legislators call for a special election at that time.

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to have the state's voters consider whether to extend temporary tax hikes at that time, but lawmakers haven't yet approved putting his proposal on the ballot.

Reid said that if the state's special election doesn't happen, Oakland officials could still arrange a mail-in election on the proposed parcel tax by August.

The council on Monday night failed to approve two other tax measures proposed by Quan last week.

One would have been a telephone tax identical to Measure W, an item on the November ballot that would have raised $8.2 million annually but lost by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent.

The other was a proposal to increase the real estate transfer tax on large commercial transactions. It was expected to raise about $1.6 million annually.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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