Absentee ballots for the upcoming November 8 election are being mailed out now, and this season a Fresno State-related measure is included.
Next month, Fresno County voters will be deciding on Measure E, a proposed 0.2% countywide sales tax that would raise funds over a 20-year period to help improve the university.
It’s estimated to bring $36 million to the school each year, of which two-thirds must be spent on academics and no more than one-third, or $12 million, can be used to support Fresno State Athletics.
The Fresno State Improvement Zone Committee is leading the campaign in favor of Measure E, having gathered over 25,000 petition signatures within a six-week period to get the measure included on the ballot, reported The Fresno Bee.
The measure was brought before the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in August, which agreed unanimously to send the measure to voters in November. As a citizen’s initiative, the proposed measure only needs a simple majority of yes votes next month to pass.
Richard Spencer, who owns Harris Construction, leads the Fresno State Improvement Zone Committee, which also includes leaders from other local construction companies. Educational leaders in Fresno County such as Marc Johnson, the former superintendent of Sanger Unified School District, are part of the committee as well.
“I’ve been supporting this effort since the first week of April, maybe the second, because I understand the need. I love Fresno State,” Johnson told The Collegian.
Johnson and other proponents of Measure E said that the funds developed from the tax raise will contribute to repairing and renovating older buildings, providing scholarships and expanding programs.
Opponents of the measure cited issues with using taxpayer dollars to fund a state university that many Fresno County residents may never even attend.
The Libertarian Party of Fresno and others filed an argument against the measure on Aug. 22 that alleged corruption from public officials behind the measure
In November, the measure will be competing with other potential tax increases such as the renewal of Measure C, a half-cent sales tax aimed at improving transportation in Fresno County, and Measure M, a proposed 0.125% sales tax, or one-eighth of a percent, to improve services and facilities for veterans.
Vote-by-mail, or absentee, ballots started to be distributed on Monday, Oct. 10 and will continue to be mailed out through Nov. 1. Election day will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
The next issue of The Collegian, scheduled to be published on Oct. 18, will feature multiple articles detailing opposing perspectives on Measure E as well as sharing information about other measures and propositions on the ballot, how to register to vote and where Fresno State students can vote.