August 3, 2016

Marin tax measure to provide preschool for low-income kids makes November ballot

Marin voters will be asked to approve a countywide quarter-cent sales tax to fund expanded preschool, child care and health services for low-income children in Marin when they go to the polls on Nov. 8.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to place the initiative on the ballot. Supervisor Steve Kinsey acknowledged that the campaign has been a long one. He recalled California Endowment CEO Robert Ross challenging Marin in 2007 to “step up” to make a commitment to children in Marin.
“So this is a long journey,” Kinsey said.Jenny Callaway, who is leading the effort to pass the initiative, said, “We want you to know that we realize there is work to do. We are well-equipped. We have a fantastic campaign team and finance committee hard at work already assembling the tools it will take to get a yes vote in November.”

Callaway, a former San Rafael board of education member and current district director for Rep. Jared Huffman, said the campaign has so far raised about $40,000 of the estimated $200,000 it will need. Patty Garbarino, Marin Sanitary Service president, is the campaign’s finance chairwoman. TBWB Strategies, a San Francisco-based strategy and communications consulting firm, will manage the campaign.

A poll conducted by Godbe Research in March 2016 found that 69 percent of Marin residents likely to vote in November would support the tax.

A number of organizations have already aligned themselves with the effort: First 5 Marin, MarinKids, Marin Child Care Commission, Community Action Marin, League of Women Voters of Marin, Parent Voices and the Marin Interfaith Council.

Jeff Bialik, executive director of Catholic Charities, said, “We stand behind you in support of this effort.”

Bialik said it is rare that the Catholic Charities board takes a position on a proposed ballot measure.

“But each and every day in our program in the Canal, we see evidence of how so many of our children have been left behind,” he said. “A full two-thirds of the kids we’re working with are not reading at grade level in elementary school.”

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