The fate of a proposed countywide sales tax to benefit Fresno State is in the hands of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors now that sufficient signatures were gathered to certify the measure for the ballot, County Clerk James Kus said Thursday afternoon.
Kus said that if the supervisors decide to ask for a fiscal impact study on the proposed tax, preparation of the study could take 30 days and that would mean missing out on the November ballot. The measure would still be certified and eligible for a future ballot, he said.
Proponents of the proposed ballot measure, the “California State University, Fresno Facility and Academic Program Improvement Initiative Measure,” needed to collect a minimum of 25,331 signatures but gathered 39,360, Kus said. A random sampling of the signatures determined that there were at least 28,095 valid signatures of county voters, or more than enough to be certified for the ballot, he said.
Supporters estimate the proposed two-tenths of a penny sales tax could raise $36 million yearly, or $720 million over 20 years, that would pay for facilities improvements and scholarships at Fresno State. Two-thirds would be dedicated to academics and the remaining one-third to athletic facilities under the bond measure proposal. If the tax passed, it would be overseen by either a citizens committee or a Joint Powers Authority.
Fiscal Impact of New Sales Tax
But whether the supervisors will want a fiscal impact study remains to be seen. Several other taxes are already being considered for the November ballot, including a renewal of the 0.5% Fresno County Transportation Authority sales tax and also Measure V, a new 0.125% sales tax to benefit veterans in the city of Fresno.
If approved by voters, the Fresno State improvement sales tax would be the first of its kind to benefit a specific California State University campus.