FRESNO, Calif. (FOX26) — A who’s who of Fresno political and business leaders believe Measure E will create a tax burden on working families in Fresno County.
If passed in March, the ballot measure would benefit Fresno State for the next 25 years.
Two-thirds of the academic buildings at Fresno State are more than 50 years old and in desperate need of repair. Measure E would provide more than $ 500 million in deferred maintenance.
Local political and business leaders believe it’s wrong to ask Fresno County taxpayers to fix the problem and held a news conference in front of Valley Children’s Stadium on Monday.
Businessman Brooke Ashjian heads up the No on Measure E group. “This is a shift of liability and responsibility from the state of California to fix their buildings to Fresno County taxpayers,” Ashjian said.
Assemblymember Esmeralda Soria also opposes the measure. “The issues attempted to be addressed by this measure are regional and state issues that should not be shouldered by only asking Fresno County families to pay more,” Soria said.
If passed, the quarter-cent Fresno Countywide sale sales tax is projected to raise $1.6 billion over the next 25 years.
Ashjian criticized Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson, a Measure E supporter, for not writing bills to help Fresno State. Patterson was quick to reply.
“Over the years I have asked for millions of dollars from the federal government and the state government for Fresno State. I’ve always supported their augmentation requests to their budget,” Patterson said.
Most of the time Patterson says he’s been told no. In the ballot argument Measure E claims new facilities will triple nursing graduates.
Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias disagrees. “Measure E simply builds buildings and those buildings will be twice as big as the original one but the state ultimately determines how many more students you can enroll,” Arias said.
All of the money generated by Measure E will be locally controlled by an appointed board of seven members. It needs a simple majority to pass.
A similar Fresno County ballot measure was defeated by voters in November 2022.