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New Voter Approved Sales Tax Could Fight Crime Surge

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) First District Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood says “crime is on the rise” as the State of California continues to release more criminals from prison and reducing penalties.

Lovingood is calling for the public to discuss local solutions, including a possible voter-approved sales tax dedicated to public safety.

“Unfortunately, Sacramento policies are creating these problems,” Lovingood said. “Until voters change the State’s soft-on-crime stance, we in San Bernardino County will need to create our own solutions. If we don’t, we are going to lose the battle.”

Crimes that once were felonies are now misdemeanors, Lovingood said. Sheriff’s officials, he said, have recounted instances where shoplifters have carefully tallied up just under $950 in merchandise, knowing that if they are caught, under California state law, they will only receive a ticket to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge. Lovingood said Propositions 47, 57, AB 109 and AB 953 are a boon for criminals and make California families less safe.

“My sense is that San Bernardino County residents are getting fed up with crime and are ready for solutions,” Lovingood said.

One option would be to consider a voter-approved sales tax dedicated for public safety to add more County Sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors, and finish opening the new County jail. To its credit, the Victorville City Council recently put a public safety sales tax measure on the ballot.

“Are taxes already too high? Absolutely,” Lovingood said. “I don’t want to pay more taxes. But the question is whether we are going to fight back or not. This is about starting a discussion on a local tax to combat local crime with local control and accountability to taxpayers. As a community, we need to tell the crooks that San Bernardino County is cracking down with more law enforcement officers and jail space.”

Lovingood outlines the proposal in an opinion piece to be released later this week.

It is too early to say whether a ballot measure would be for a quarter-cent, half-cent or three-quarter cent sales tax. On a $100 purchase, a quarter-cent sales tax would cost consumers an additional 25 cents and generate an estimated $81 million a year.

In June, the County Board of Supervisors allocated $1 million for special operations to combat crime. The Board also restored funding for fire camp work crews.

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