Today voters of El Segundo will vote on Measure C – placed on the ballot by the El Segundo City Council, Measure C would raise revenue for the general City purposes by authorizing a¾ cent transfer and use tax ( “sales tax “) within El Segundo if and only if County of Los Angeles places a sales tax measure on a ballot in the future (and that measure must be voted in). All City Council members support Measure C – should you? Read below to learn more about Measure C.
What is Measure C?
Shall the measure authorizing a three-quarter cent transactions and use tax (sales tax), which shall be imposed by the city when a county sales tax measure has qualified for a ballot and may continue to be imposed only if it receives voter approval, to fund general municipal services, for example, police and fire services, senior citizen services, recreation services and street maintenance be adopted (generates approximately $9 million annually in perpetuity)?
City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis Measure C
Measure C was placed on the ballot by the El Segundo City Council. This Measure, if approved by the El Segundo voters, would raise revenue for general City purposes by authorizing a ¾ cent transfer and use tax ( “sales tax “) within El Segundo. The tax is paid by purchasers of goods in El Segundo that are subject to sales tax. The tax, however, would only be collected if the County of Los Angeles ( “County “) places a sales tax measure on a ballot and would only be continued to be collected if the County’s sales tax measure was legally approved by a majority of County voters. Under current law, Measure C, if passed, would prevent the County from imposing a sales tax within El Segundo and would instead result in the City collecting available sales tax revenues as explained below.
The sales tax in El Segundo is 9.50 %. The legal maximum rate for sales taxes currently is 10.25%. Consequently, there is a maximum of .75% (or ¾ cent) of sales tax that can potentially be imposed in El Segundo. The County can impose taxes both within unincorporated areas and cities. If, however, a city already collects sales taxes up to the maximum 10.25% rate, the County regional tax cannot be collected within that city. Measure C proposes to approve a .75% (or ¾ cent) sales tax to potentially reach the maximum tax rate of 10.25%.
Collecting this tax, however, would only commence if the County places a regional sales tax measure on the ballot and continue to be collected if the County tax measure is approved by a majority of County voters. The approval of Measure C, would, under current law, provide for the City to receive the maximum sales tax available to be collected and prevent the County from imposing an additional sales tax in the City.
If Measure C is collected, as provided above, there is no sunset clause on the taxes passed by Measure C. However, all the taxes implemented by Measure C may be suspended or reduced by City Council action. Any increase of the tax above .75% would first require a change in California law and then additional voter approval.
Measure C would impose a “general tax. ” It is anticipated that if passed and it becomes effective, based upon the conditions outlined above, that it will generate approximately $9 million in annual City sales tax revenues. All tax revenue would be available for use by the City to pay for general City operations and services.
The City would not be legally bound in any way to use the tax monies for any special purpose or for any particular facilities or programs. Since this ballot measure proposes a “general tax ” rather than a “special tax, ” it requires
approval by a simple majority of the City’s voters.
A “yes ” vote on Measure C favors the Measure. A “no ” vote on Measure C opposes the Measure.
Argument in Favor of Measure C (All Current Council Members Are in Favor of Measure C)
A “Yes” vote on Measure C is a smart vote in that it will serve both the voter and our City by keeping $9 Million in sales tax revenue in El Segundo rather than letting it be captured by Los Angeles County and the bulk of it spent elsewhere. C preserves local control over these tax dollars so they can be used here for public safety protection, emergency preparations, infrastructure improvements, etc. In effect, this Measure is basically an El Segundo Tax Payer Protection Act.
Your City Council Members are all opposed to any new sales taxes and currently little of the 9.5% paid on retail sales go to El Segundo. However, there is a maximum sales tax for Los Angeles County cities of 10.25%, meaning the County still can increase the tax by .75%. Most likely, given their history, the County will, in the coming years, find more reasons to raise taxes. Fortunately, by approving Measure C, voters can prevent the loss of $9 Million and retain these dollars.
By approving C, you will be taking a self-defensive step to protect local control of our tax dollars. Please understand that you will not pay an increased sales tax until the County seeks to raise taxes again. That’s because your Council is deferring the .75% increase you approve until the County acts. Once they do, the increase will begin and the dollars will all be reserved for use here.
For once, let’s go against our normal inclination to vote “No” on new taxes and head off the County’s money grab. Rather than lose $9 Million to Los Angeles County, let’s keep it home where we all can benefit from its use. In the meantime, a collection of these new sales taxes are deferred. Protect any future sales tax dollars. Yes on Measure C.
Suzanne Fuentes – Mayor
Drew Boyles – Mayor Pro Tem
Dr. Don Brann – Council Member
Mike Dugan – Council Member
Carol Pirsztuk – Council Member