Measure I proponents say 53 percent of new taxes will come from visitors. That is possible only if every dollar of the new property tax on commercial properties, which happens to be 53 percent of the projected total tax, is passed along to customers, not all of whom are visitors. If you, a Big Bear homeowner, also own a commercial property, you’ll be paying a second time.
If one person is asked to pay more for availability of paramedic service, which is what Measure I is all about, than another person, that difference should be based upon factors such as his health, not how many properties he owns.
The problem with the pass-along theory is that the new tax would apply to all commercial properties, not to just those frequented by visitors. So, when you go to the market, drug store, dentist, hairdresser, auto mechanic, etcetera, you’ll be paying a second or third time.
Measure I is a bad proposal. What happens if it fails at the ballot box? Despite the doomsday predictions of closing stations, reducing service, etcetera, I can’t imagine any local politician, even if he doesn’t want to stay in office, voting to subject his neighbors to the consequences of such actions when more sensible solutions are available.
A city official told me that a fund of $3 million belonging to the old Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District exists, but for some reason is not being utilized. That’s enough money to tide us over until we come up with a better plan.