Local News

Sales tax lawsuit hearing set for Thursday

By From page A1 | March 26, 2014

A Yolo Superior Court Judge ruled Tuesday that two local men suing the city of Davis over a sales tax measure’s ballot language will have their day in court.

Judge David Reed set the hearing for 9 a.m. Thursday in Department 6.

Referencing a hectic morning in which the matter was moved to different courtrooms twice Tuesday morning, Reed said he was still unsure whether Department 6 would be where the hearing would take place.

Jose Granda and Thomas Randall are suing the city over the way it worded its ballot language for Measure O, which would extend the life of an existing half-percent sales tax set to 2020, and add another half-cent sales tax to raise Davis’ total sales tax to 8.5 percent from 8 percent.

The lawsuit contends that “half-percent” and “half-cent” are not interchangeable.

“These are two completely different things,” the lawsuit reads. “It conveys (to) the voter that no matter what you buy, even a $30,000 car purchase or a $30 shirt currently you pay only one ‘half-cent,’ while the reality is that a $30,000 car purchase (you) will pay one half of one percent (0.5 percent) or $150 and for the shirt you will pay $0.15.”

Granda and Randall are most famous for opposing school parcel tax measures in Davis.

The city says the two terms are used interchangeably throughout the state. In Woodland, for example, a proposed quarter-cent sales tax using that same term is on the June 3 ballot. So far nobody has sued them.

The lawsuit also alleges the city permanently damaged public perception by having a poorly worded ballot measure passed in February. In March the city changed it to: “Shall Ordinance No. 2432, which would authorize the city of Davis to reauthorize and extend the existing half cent sales and use tax for general government purposes and increase the sales and use tax by an additional half cent, for a combined one cent tax, through December 31, 2020, be adopted?”

While Granda’s lawsuit pushes for a hearing as fast as possible, and city lawyers were on board with that plan, Granda briefly wanted to delay a hearing that would have been set for Friday to Monday so he could go to his niece’s wedding in Los Angeles.

“I think we need to hear this as soon as possible,” Granda said.

After a bit of back and forth, Thursday emerged as the scheduling winner.

— Reach Dave Ryan at 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Dave Ryan

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