Oakland Tax Murder on Utilities


The Oakland (Calif.) City Council has voted to put a utility-tax increase on
the ballot, and it's one levy corporations will have trouble fighting.

That's because the increase is specifically targeted to put 100 more police
officers on the street to stem the Bay Area community's soaring murder rate.

Mayor Jerry Brown (the former governor and presidential candidate) proposed
the increase in hotel-occupancy taxes, parking fees and utility taxes applied to
electricity, gas, phone and cable-TV service. The 8 percent tax is designed to
raise $63.5 million over five years.

The tax must be approved by two-thirds of voters, possibly in November's