Measure M – Library & Recreation Special Tax

On May 24, 2016, the Stockton City Council approved placing a one-quarter (1/4) cent sales tax on the November 8, 2016, General Election ballot with a Council vote of 7 - 0 and adopted Resolution 2016-05-24-1602.  Minor amendments were made to define the incorporated area of the City of Stockton, the election date, and to correct the name of a state board that had changed, based on comments received from the California State Board of Equalization, and the Resolution was superseded by Resolution 2016-06-07-1212 on June 7, 2016.


Measure M - Approved by Voters

Measure M required approval by 2/3 of those who voted.  It passed with 73.70 percent of voters approving this measure.


Measure M implements a dedicated one-quarter (1/4) cent special transactions and use sales tax for a period of 16 years for the provision of library and recreation services.


Ballot Question 

The following ballot question will be submitted to the voters at the municipal election called for on Tuesday, November 8, 2016:


"Shall the Ordinance 2016-06-07-1212 to enhance Stockton's library and recreation services, including safe after-school and summer programs for children and teens, homework centers, children's story times, increased public computer access/wireless connectivity, and enhanced evening and weekend hours at libraries and recreation centers, funded by a 1/4-cent transaction and use (sales) tax, generating $9 million annually for 16 years, with all funds staying local and expenditures subject to an annual audit be adopted?"


Impartial Analysis

The following impartial analysis of the proposed ballot measure has been prepared by the City Attorney and will appear in the Voter Information Guide for City of Stockton voters:


The City Council of the City of Stockton is submitting to the voters the question of whether to approve an ordinance that would increase by one-quarter percent (0.25%) - or one quarter-cent to the price of an item that costs a dollar - transactions and use tax within the City. If approved, the measure would impose this increased tax.


The tax would be levied on the sale or use of tangible personal property sold at retail. Retailers collect the tax at the time of sale and remit the funds to the State Board of Equalization, which administers the tax. Since the measure limits the uses to which the tax revenue raised by this measure can be used, it is a "special tax". The tax proceeds cannot legally be taken away by the State.


Currently, the tax on retail sales in Stockton is 9% of the purchase price. This measure would increase the current tax rate to 9.25% and sunset sixteen (16) years after the tax is first collected.


If approved, the tax proceeds would be placed in a special City fund to be used to support enhancements to library and recreational services, such as after-school and summer programs for children and teens, homework centers, children's story times, increased public computer access/wireless connectivity, and enhanced evening and weekend hours at libraries and recreation centers. The City would also be required to maintain general fund expenditures for library and recreational services at the level stated in the 2014/2015 city budget.  However the City may reduce that general fund commitment proportionally in times of economic downturn. The City may also reduce golf-related general fund spending at any time.


A "Yes" vote is a vote to approve the imposition of the one-quarter cent sales tax for sixteen years, with oversight on the revenue and expenditure of funds from the tax by a committee of members of the public and an annual audit. A "No" vote is a vote to not impose the tax. The measure would be approved and the tax imposed if two-thirds (2/3) of the qualified electors voting on the measure vote "Yes".


Ballot Arguments


Frequently Asked Questions


What is Measure M?

Measure M is a dedicated, special sales tax for City of Stockton recreation and library programs, services and facilities.


What is the purpose of the special tax?

Funding from Measure M will be used to provide a safe place for after-school programs for children and teens by extending the number of days and hours that community centers and libraries are open and increasing homework help centers and Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education, story times, literacy, cultural and sports programs, classes, and facilities available in Stockton.


Funding will be used to preserve and expand existing library and recreation programs, re-open and upgrade facilities, services and collections, and extend services to under-served areas of the City.


Measure M is not intended to replace funding already provided by the City. Funding at a level at least equal to Fiscal Year 2014/15 will continue absent another downturn in the economy. 


Why is it needed?

Measure M was recommended by citizens that recognized the City of Stockton has fewer library and recreation programs and facilities than most cities in California and that many issues facing the community, such as crime and educational achievement levels, are directly related to a lack of these services.


Research by the Centers for Disease Control Division of Violence Prevention shows a strong correlation between library and recreation services and reduced crime. During the Great Recession and municipal bankruptcy, library and recreation full-time staff were reduced by 50%; library hours were reduced by 48%; a library branch was closed; Community Center hours were reduced by 20%; and two pools were closed.

  • Stockton San Joaquin County Library System spends $15 per resident on library service: The State average is $40 per resident.
  • Stockton San Joaquin County Library System averages 0.25 square feet per resident; the state average is 0.72.
  • Stockton ranks 64 out of 75 largest metropolitan areas in the United States for its parks and recreation services.
  • Stockton has 0.4 community centers per 20,000 residents; the national average is 0.84.
  • Stockton has a growing population, lack of public facilities, low literacy rates, high obesity rates, and public safety concerns.


How much money will this tax raise?

Measure M will generate an estimated $9 million per year. If approved, it will become effective April 1, 2017, and the first quarterly payment of $2.25 million will be received by the City in September 2017.


How will we be able to keep track of how the taxes are being used?

Measure M is a special, dedicated tax that will be kept in a separate fund. Funding from Measure M can only be used for City of Stockton recreation and library programs and services.


A seven-member Citizen Advisory Committee will be appointed by the City Council. Each Committee member will serve for two-years. The Committee will meet annually and review how much funding was generated by Measure M and how the funding was used. The Committee will make recommendations to the Council and prepare an annual report for the City Council. A separate, independent audit of Measure M will be performed each year for public review.


How long will this tax last?

If two-thirds (2/3) of qualified voters approve Measure M, it will become effective April 1, 2017.  Measure M will be in effect for 16 years, until April 1, 2033.


What will the sales tax rate be in Stockton?

With this one-quarter (1/4) cent sales tax, the sales tax within the City of Stockton will remain the same at 9%, as State sales tax is reducing by one-quarter (1/4) cent at the same time.


External Links

California Secretary of State - Ballot Initiative Guide

San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters

This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 11/17/2017