More than one dozen cities around Los Angeles County are seeking voter approval to raise more than $3 billion annually for purposes that include road work.
From Malibu to Pomona, Los Angeles County voters will decide whether to raise revenue via increases that include a business tax, gross receipts tax, hotel tax, sales tax, and sports wagering tax.
The measures specify new tax revenues would be applied for general purposes.
California law states that any specific tax must win two-thirds voter support for passage. Locales are able to get around the supermajority threshold by applying a sales tax increase for general purposes that include public safety, street maintenance, transportation services, and affordable housing.
The threshold to approve tax changes for general purposes is a simple majority.
What’s on ballots?
Most of the 14 Los Angeles County cities with tax measures are asking for tax increases between 0.5% and 5%. The rate hikes would be applied to various purchases made within each city.
- Acadia: Measure HT would increase the maximum rate of the city’s “hotel tax” from 10% to 12%. The increase is estimated to raise $730,000 annually for city services that include street repair and maintenance.
- Acadia: Measure SW would establish a sports wagering tax at a rate of up to 5%. The tax would provide about $1 million yearly for government use that includes streets.
- Baldwin Park: Measure BP would establish a 0.75% sales tax for uses that include street maintenance and traffic management. The tax is estimated to raise $6 million per year.
- Carson: Measure R would continue the 2% utility users tax for needs that include street and pothole repair. The tax is estimated to raise $8 million annually.
- Cudahy: Measure BA would increase funding for services that include roads through authorization and regulation of storefront retail cannabis sales and other commercial cannabis activities. A 15% gross receipts tax is estimated to raise about $3.58 million each year.
- Downey: Measure D would increase the “hotel tax” from 9% to 13%. An estimated $950,000 annually would be used for general government use such as streets.
- El Segundo: Measure BT would raise business taxes for uses that include maintaining streets. Additional tax revenues are estimated to reach $3 billion per year.
- El Segundo: Measure Y would authorize a cannabis tax if the city legalizes cannabis businesses. Funds would be applied to general municipal expenses that include street work. Tax revenues would raise $600,000 to $1.5 million yearly.
- Hermosa Beach: Measure B would establish a 0.75% sales tax requiring public spending disclosure/independent audits. The authorization would raise about $3 million each year for programs that include street/pothole repair.
- Lynwood: Measure TR would establish a tax on businesses selling cannabis products at retail stores between 5% and 10%. An estimated $5 million to $6 million annually would benefit general fund services that include infrastructure.
- Malibu: Measure MC would establish a one-half cent sales tax for city services that include preventing speeding and reckless driving. The tax is estimated to raise $3 million yearly.
- Monterey Park: Measure MP would establish a three-fourths cent sales tax for services that include repairing streets/potholes. The tax is estimated to raise $6 million per year.
- Pico Rivera: Measure TT would update the business license fee for needs that include street/pothole repairs. The update is estimated to raise $5.8 million annually.
- Pomona: Measure PS would enact a 15-cent per gross square foot special tax on industrial parcels within the city. The tax is estimated to raise $14 million yearly for uses that include maintenance, repair and/or restoration of public streets, roadways, sidewalks, roadway lighting, traffic signals or other right of way improvements that implement a Complete Streets Plan.
- Santa Monica: Measure GS would increase the “hotel tax” by 1% for hotels and motels, and by 3% for home-shares. An estimated $4.1 million annually would applied for uses that include safer streets.
- South El Monte: Measure X would establish a maximum 6% special excise tax on retail cannabis/edibles sales. The tax would raise an estimated $126,000 annually for purposes that include infrastructure work.
Pros and cons
Many cities cite difficulties balancing their budgets annually for the pursuit of tax increases. Further, they say it is important to approve tax increases at the local level to ensure additional revenue does not get shared with the state or the county.
Critics say now is not the time to raise taxes. They cite economic struggles in the state related to rising prices. LL
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