Funding is desperately needed to restore San Francisco Bay’s wetlands and help protect the region from the effects of rising seas. This modest $12 annual parcel tax would be evenly distributed among all parcels in the nine-county Bay Area. Over 20 years, it would raise $500 million to restore wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and create a buffer against storms and sea level rise. VOTE YES ON MEASURE AA on June 7th, 2016!
Summary of the Measure:
The Clean and Healthy Bay ballot measure, or Measure AA, is a region-wide $12 parcel tax that is expected to raise to $500 million dollars for wetland restoration during its 20-year lifetime. Revenue from the tax would be earmarked to restoring wetlands along San Francisco Bay (until the tax expires in 2037). Measure AA requires a two-thirds majority to pass.
Measure AA was placed on the ballot of all nine Bay Area counties by the the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, a regional agency formed in 2008 to support the restoration, enhancement, protection, and enjoyment of Bay wetlands and wildlife habitat. The parcel tax is being championed by a broad array of supporters, including both environmental and business groups, such as Save the Bay and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. The funds raised will help meet regional wetland restoration goals, which have stalled for lack of funds, and address long-term needs to protect infrastructure and homes from sea level rise.
Arguments in favor
Scientists estimate as much as 90% of the historic wetlands around San Francisco Bay have been lost to development and agriculture. A decade-long goal to restore 100,000 acres of wetlands--to maintain vital bird habitat, enhance water quality, and protect our cities from tidal surges--has stalled in recent years, as funding has dried up. Lands are already available for restoration, particularly in the North and South Bay, but funding is needed to actually do the restoration.
Measure AA would pay for that wetland restoration. It would improve water quality and increase natural habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife, including salmon, Dungeness crab, porpoises, sea lions, and shorebirds.
Restoring San Francisco Bay’s wetlands will also protect shoreline communities from from flooding, which is likely to reach crisis proportions in the coming decades as sea level rises. More than $60 billion worth of homes, businesses, and crucial infrastructure are at risk, including ports, airports, roads, office buildings, and entire neighborhoods at or below sea level. Restoring wetlands will help with this by helping absorb and buffer against rising tides and storms.
Arguments in opposition
Measure AA is generally unopposed throughout the region, with the exception of taxpayers’ associations, which reflexively oppose taxes. The main argument against the measure is that all parcels are taxed at the same rate-- that is, Facebook and Google pay the same as owners of individual homes. Though we certainly support more funding from large tech companies for Bay restoration, the tax is a broadly affordable $12 and will support something that cannot wait--the restoration of our Bay.