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Backers of Sales Tax for Fresno State Prep for Second Ballot Try



Richard F. Spencer wants another crack at passing Measure E, a sales tax benefiting Fresno State. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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If, at first, you fail at the ballot box, try again.

“I’ll have the wine ready and we’ll discuss the future of our city/county and Fresno State as we achieve what has never been tried in California before. We will take our ‘economic driver’ which is Fresno State — to a new level.” — Measure E leader Richard Spencer

Last year, Fresno County voters said no to a two-tenths of a cent sales tax to support programs at Fresno State. Measure E failed, 53% to 47%.

Richard F. Spencer, construction magnate and the sole funder of the 2022 version, is trying to pass Measure E 2.0. He is gathering community and elected leaders at his office near Fresno Yosemite airport on Thursday afternoon.

“I want you to add things which you think Fresno State really needs to grow, prosper and drive this community forward. This list will become the substance of our new — and successful — effort to pass this measure,” Spencer wrote in his email invite.

Costa, Dyer, Patterson Among Meeting Invitees

Among the elected leaders invited to attend are Congressman Jim Costa, state Assemblyman Jim Patterson, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, Supervisor Sal Quintero, and Fresno City Council President Tyler Maxwell.

Patterson, an ardent Measure E supporter, serves on the Assembly accountability, and audit committees.

Several Fresno State administrators are on the invite list, including president Saul Jiménez-Sandoval.

The goal, a Spencer spokesman told Politics 101, is to ask voters again on the March 5, 2024 ballot. The new Measure E will collect signatures to place the item on the ballot. Entering the ballot by signature means that only a simple majority is needed to pass. Measure E backers established a separate committee just to raise money for the petition.

“I’ll have the wine ready and we’ll discuss the future of our city/county and Fresno State as we achieve what has never been tried in California before. We will take our ‘economic driver’ which is Fresno State — to a new level,” Spencer wrote in his email.

Only Fresno County Voters Asked to Raise Taxes

The 2022 version was projected to raise $720 million over 20 years and revenues were to go to Fresno State programs and facilities, with two-thirds slated for academics and the remaining third for university athletics.

While 56% of Fresno State’s students are from Fresno County, no other county was asked to share in the tax burden. School figures show 82% of the student body comes from a six-county region (Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Madera, Merced, Mariposa).

Details of how large the 2024 Measure E tax proposal will be and how long it would last are being worked out.

Critics of Measure E questioned why Fresno County taxpayers should be on the hook for a state-funded school. Spencer’s motivations were also questioned, wondering if he would receive the contracts to build new facilities that would be funded by Measure E.

Yes on Measure E sign for the November 2022 election. (GV Wire File)


Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email