City of Sierra Madre Utility User Tax Increase, Measure 12-1 (April 2012)

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A City of Sierra Madre Utility Users Tax, Measure 12-1 was on the April 10, 2012 ballot for voters in the City of Sierra Madre in Los Angeles County, where it was defeated.[1][2]

Sierra Madre already assesses a 10% tax on utility services. If Measure 12-1 had been approved, that tax would have been increased to 12% on July 1, 2013 and it would have been extended to cover additional types of services, including a variety of modern telecommunications, such as cell phone usage.[3]

Election results

Measure 12-1
Defeatedd No1,55360.6%
Yes 1,008 39.4%
Election results are from the City of Sierra Madre elections office as of 3:30 a.m. on April 13, 2012


The voter guide arguments in favor of Measure 12-1 were signed by:

  • John Buchanan, mayor of Sierra Madre
  • Josh Moran, Sierra Madre mayor pro tem
  • Nancy Walsh, member of the Sierra Madre city council

They said that there is no fat left to cut from the Sierra Madre budget and that a UUT tax increase was the best way to increase the city's revenue.

Bill Coburn, who publishes the Sierra Madre News Net, was in favor of Measure 12-1. He said, "I think that our General Fund reserves have taken a big hit, and that we, as residents of the City, need to replenish them if we want to protect our City. I don’t see any other source of significant revenue with which we can do that."[4]


The voter guide arguments opposing Measure 12-1 were signed by:

  • Don Watts
  • John Capoccia
  • James Engle

They said:

  • "A 'no' vote sends a strong message that tax increases are not to be taken lightly and should only be enacted when necessary after careful public scrutiny."
  • If Measure 12-1 passes, Sierra Madre will have the highest UUT of any city in California.

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Measure 12-1: "Shall an Ordinance be adopted amending the City's existing Utility Users' Tax to continue the existing 10% tax, subject to a potential increase of 12% on July 1, 2013, in order to maintain general City services such as public safety services, including paramedic programs, and to reflect technological advances in communications, continue existing exemptions to low and very low income households, establish new sunset dates and continue a citizen's oversight committee?"[5]

John Crawford of the Sierra Madre Tattler noted that the ballot language says that the existing 10 percent tax is "subject to a potential increase of 12 percent on July 1, 2013." He commented, "In other words, and using the language of Measure 12-1, the UUT is at 10 percent now, so add another 12 percent to that, which would bring it up to a UUT rate of 22 percent!"[6]

Teresa Highsmith, Sierra Madre's interim city attorney, said that the inaccurately written summary is not problematic, because the full text of the measure is what is legally binding and it makes clear what the actual tax increase would be. She said, "Sierra Madre voters are really highly educated. They're going to read the legislation before they vote on it. Focusing on `of' over `to' is really focusing on form over function."[6]

See also

External links

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