Early returns Tuesday night showed comfortable leads for a Stanislaus County tax to fund the library system and a Modesto proposal to tax marijuana businesses as much as 10 percent.
The 1/8-cent sales tax that supports Stanislaus County libraries will get its longest extension, 12 years, if its early lead holds. Measure S, which needed two-thirds voter approval to win, had 81 percent of the vote Tuesday evening. That is similar to the margin the tax got the last time it was on the ballot, in June 2012.
Since its inception in 1995, revenue from the 1/8-percent tax has averaged $7.2 million a year, funding 88 percent of the operations and service costs at the 13 branch libraries.
The tax has restored many services and hours to the library, which suffered from a series of budget cuts in the 10 years before the tax was established. The Modesto library at one point was only open five days a week; some of the smaller branches only opened their doors for 10 hours each week.
In Modesto, early numbers showed support for Measure T, a cannabis business tax of as much as 10 percent on the gross receipts of these businesses. City Council members have not yet decided whether to allow cannabis businesses in Modesto. But the measure, which had support from 82 percent of voters in early returns, will give the city the ability to tax such businesses if they are allowed. It needs only a simple majority to pass.
The city can use the proceeds from the tax for any general city purpose.