The City of El Cajon is broke, and according to a July press release, the community is losing nearly $6 million a year. “The City of El Cajon has a fiscal crisis, which is not the result of mismanagement,” reads the press release.
In order to tackle the city’s continuing fiscal failings, El Cajon is cajoling its citizens to approve a ½-cent sales tax. Revenue from Proposition J, on this November’s ballot, would raise an extra $8.5 million each year.
City officials claim the deficit (the largest in the history of the city) is due in part to the state reaching into the City’s coffers, “Over the past 16 years, the State has taken approximately $31 million that belonged to this City.”
The State isn’t the only culprit: much of the deficit is blamed on the struggling economy. “The City of El Cajon is built-out and has been for a number of years. There is no growth in sales or property tax. In addition, the cost of labor, materials, supplies and services have increased and the economy is in the worst cyclical downturn we have seen in years. The City has no way to increase revenue other than by vote of the public.”
If approved in November, the tax will be levied for the next 20 years.
The press release warns what the consequences might be if the tax is not approved: “Without this ballot measure, the City will be forced to make cuts, to include taking emergency equipment out of service, elimination of police officer and firefighter positions, elimination of crime prevention programs and terminating after-school programs that keep kids away from drugs, gangs and crime.”
For additional information on El Cajon’s Proposition J, visit their website at ci.el-cajon.ca.us