Measure Q - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the challenges the City of Santa Rosa is currently facing?
The City of Santa Rosa is a great place to live, work and raise a family, however, the City has been facing ongoing fiscal challenges. The community is still recovering from the devastating fires of recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic and related steep downturn in economic activity has only exacerbated the City’s problems.

Santa Rosa currently benefits from past voter-approved sales taxes that provide $18 million annually in locally-controlled funding. However, this funding is set to expire soon unless renewed by voters. If the funding expires, the City would lose this annual local funding in addition to the $30 million in lost revenues anticipated as a result of COVID-19, putting many city services at risk.

What is Measure Q?
The Santa Rosa City Council unanimously voted to place Measure Q, a 1/2 cent local sales tax extension measure, on the November 2020 ballot to renew expiring local funding and protect city services in Santa Rosa. Measure Q simply extends existing voter approved sales taxes without changing what we are already paying for local city services.

How would Measure Q’s renewal of local funding help Santa Rosa?
With recent fire seasons being the longest and most destructive on record, Santa Rosa needs to prepare for upcoming fire seasons and potential public safety power shutoffs. Measure Q’s renewal of local funding would help the City keep fire stations open and upgrade aging emergency communication systems.

Continuing expiring local funding would also keep local parks clean and safe, support recreation programs for all residents as Santa Rosa’s park and recreation usage continues to increase each year, repair local streets and continue other essential city services.

What specifically would Measure Q support?
If approved by a majority of voters, Measure Q would renew local funding to:

  • Maintain fire protection services to help prevent future fires
  • Keep city parks and playgrounds clean, safe and well-maintained
  • Improve disaster, wildfire and pandemic preparedness and response
  • Repair potholes and maintain city streets
  • Continue other essential city services

Does Measure Q include fiscal accountability requirements?

  • Measure Q would continue to give Santa Rosa local control over local funds
  • No funds could be taken by the State
  • Mandatory financial audits and yearly reports to the community would continue to be required

Does Measure Q raise taxes on Santa Rosa residents?
No. Measure Q extends the current ½ cent tax rate but does not increase taxes.

Can the state or federal governments access this funding?
No. By law, all Measure Q funds must continue to stay local for Santa Rosa services and programs. Nothing can be taken or redirected by the state or federal governments.

How much revenue would Measure Q generate annually?
Measure Q would extend $18 million in annual locally-controlled funding for Santa Rosa essential city services.

How long would Measure Q last?
Measure Q would provide local funding to help keep Santa Rosa fiscally stable and maintain city services for 10 years.

Do sales tax measures affect essential purchases like groceries and prescription medicine?
No. By law, essential purchases like these are exempt from sales tax like Measure Q.

Is this the right time to consider a sales tax measure like Measure Q?
Acknowledging the current economic challenges, the City of Santa Rosa recently commissioned a survey that found 60% of local residents would support a sales tax renewal measure to continue local funding and protect city services.

The City has been facing ongoing fiscal challenges for some time now and is still recovering from the fires of recent years. COVID-19 and the subsequent economic recession only exacerbated these challenges.

Measure Q does not increase taxes on Santa Rosa residents – it simply extends the current tax rate for 10 years, renewing local funding and preserving city services. Without Measure Q, the City will soon lose $18 million in annual, local funding, and the city would be forced to cut essential services.

Who would pay for Measure Q?
Both local residents and out-of-town visitors would pay sales tax on purchases. Measure Q would continue to ensure visitors and shoppers from outside of Santa Rosa pay their fair share for local city services.

Don’t sales tax measures hurt local business?
No, there is no evidence that increases to sales tax rates discourage patrons from supporting local businesses. An extra 50 cents per $100 spent is not enough incentive for a consumer to change their buying habits. Plus, essential purchases are exempt from a sales tax.

How would a sales tax like Measure Q affect auto dealerships in Santa Rosa?
Sales tax is paid on cars where they are registered, not where they are purchased, so a local sales tax would not hurt business for local car dealers.

What level of support would Measure Q need to pass?
Measure Q would need a 50%+1 majority vote in order to pass. All registered voters living in the City of Santa Rosa would be eligible to vote on Measure Q.

When will Measure Q be on the ballot?
Measure Q will appear on the November 3, 2020, ballot. Whether or not you normally vote at the polls, all registered voters living in Santa Rosa will receive a ballot in the mail for this election. You can vote by mail or drop your ballot off in a ballot drop-box. In-person voting will still be available. Look for your ballot in the mail the week of October 5

How can I register to vote?
If you are unsure if you are registered to vote or would like to register, please visit

How can I learn more about voting in this election?
Visit or call the Santa Rosa City Clerk’s office at 707-543-3015.

How can I receive more information about Measure Q or provide feedback?
To learn more about Measure Q, visit or you can email with any questions or feedback.