Oakland Puts Parcel Tax on the Ballot

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    The Oakland City Council voted to give voters the option of enacting a public safety parcel tax, cannabis tax and/or telephone tax when they vote in the November general election.

    Oakland voters will have a chance to weigh in on new taxes that could help the cash-strapped city stay afloat and keep cops on the streets.

    The Oakland City Council voted Monday night to put three tax measures on the November ballot that, if approved, would help close the city's budget gap -- projected to reach $50 million next year.

    The council voted to give voters the option of enacting a public safety parcel tax, cannabis tax and/or telephone tax when they vote in the November general election, City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente said.

    The parcel tax measure, known as Measure Y, would impose fees of up to $360 per year and raise up to $53 million annually if passed by voters. It was approved 5-3.

    Supporters say the measure would help the city hire more police after 80 officers were recently laid off to help balance the city budget, but others say it will be difficult to get the two-thirds majority support needed  to enact the proposed taxes.

    The council also voted in favor of a measure that would tax cannabis dispensaries, production and cultivation by 5 percent and recreational use by 10 percent if cannabis is legalized at the state level.