In our ten questions for the candidates running for City Council, Santa Barbara View asked… What new revenue sources do you envision for the City of Santa Barbara?
“The city has less of a revenue problem, and more of a spending problem. However reining in our spending does not insulate us from our dependency on the world economy. I believe that the City of Santa Barbara has become entirely too dependent on the ebb and flow of tourism—and the all-important TOT—when it comes to revenue. Santa Barbara has incredible resources, including monetary capital, human capital from both its residents and the universities based nearby and a deserved environmental brand name. The city should capitalize on this incredible trifecta, making Santa Barbara a destination for research and development companies seeking to create sustainable green technologies. By broadening our economic base, we create opportunities for investment, middle-skills jobs, and the ability to perpetuate true environmentalism into the rest of the world.
By making Santa Barbara a place friendly to new companies, and existing businesses, we can create a more stable economic base, and increase our tax revenues.” – Jason Nelson
“As the economy has improved city revenues are increasing. The first order of business is to make sure future budgets are balanced and reserves are restored. During my previous terms on the City Council I served as the Finance Committee Chair and was able to consistently support balanced budgets, fully fund city reserves while delivering quality services.
The biggest financial challenge facing the City in the long term is deferred capital needs. The city’s streets, sewers and many municipal building are in need of significant repairs. These capital assets are very valuable and must be properly maintained for use by future generations. The State of California has taken revenue from the City to balance the state’s general fund deficits. That revenue would have helped address the city’s capital needs.
If the City Council must consider increasing revenue to fund long term capital projects the first step should be to convene a broad based citizen’s task force to evaluate projects that are necessary from those that would be desirable. The next step would be to ask residents directly, through a poll, if there is support for increasing revenue to meet the identified critical capital needs. If there is support from voters I could support placing a tax measure on the ballot for consideration by the voters of Santa Barbara.” – Gregg Hart
“The temptation is to raise taxes to boost revenues, a temptation to which governments too often succumb. When you raises taxes, you stop looking for other solutions, such as greater efficiencies in providing public services, or an entirely new way of providing them (privatization). Ultimately, only a healthy, prosperous local economy will resolve our fiscal challenges. To that end, we should make doing business in Santa Barbara as simple and as easy as possible. That is one reason why I encouraged increased cruise ship visits, which have boosted the local economy by $6-$8M.” – Frank Hotchkiss