Pleasanton and Alameda County voters approved Measure AA yesterday, a countywide measure that extends a half-cent sales tax that provides funds to help the county's public health system and for community medical services for low-income and uninsured residents.
With all votes counted, Measure AA received 94,865 Yes votes, or 74.50% of the votes cast for the measure, well over the 2/3 majority of votes needed to pass.
Votes against the measure totaled 32,474, or 25.50%.
Voters initially approved the tax in 2004 and that approval won't expire until 2019. But supporters wanted to extend it to 2034 because they say it will help keep local hospitals open as well as clinics serving more than 100,000 low-income children and families.
Critics argued that serious problems with the way the money is being used must be addressed.
A report by a tax oversight committee said 75% of the tax, which raises about $125 million annually, goes to the Alameda Health System, a public hospital consortium, but the rest is distributed to other health providers. The oversight committee said it is hard to monitor the funds because recipients often fail to provide data to prove that their programs are beneficial.
In addition, each of the county's five supervisors can direct the spending of $150,000 annually, a feature that critics allege amounts to a slush fund.