Hermosa Beach Business Tax Increase, Measure Q (November 2011)
Measure Q would have "impose[d] steep increases in the business license tax for nightspots that serve liquor, stay open late and are clustered near similar establishments. It could balloon the tax from $2,268 a year to more than $100,000 a year for many nightspots on the popular Pier Plaza."
The current annual tax revenues from bars and restaurants in Hermosa Beach is about $100,000. If Measure Q had passed, that amount would have increased to $4.7 million.
- Election results are from the Los Angeles County elections office.
Jim Lissner was the lead supporter of the business tax increase. He said his proposed tax increase would make it so the Pier Plaza nightspots would be taxed at a level sufficient to pay for how much it costs Hermosa Beach to police the area on weekends. According to Viki Copeland, the city's finance director, it costs the city about $497,568 a year to police the Pier Plaza area.
Note: Lissner withdrew his support for Measure Q. He tried to have it removed from the ballot after leading the petition drive to collect the signatures to qualify it for the ballot. However, by the time he made that request, it was too late to stop Measure Q from appearing on the ballot. Lissner's reason for opposing Measure Q is that he believed that if it passed, a lawsuit would be filed against it and the city would be forced to pay an attorney to defend it. He did't want the city to bear that cost in the current tough economy. Lissner said:
- "I think I did a good job of writing it, but I overshot on the amounts, and the merchants in town, when they saw what the amounts of money were, they said they'd rather spend their money suing the city over it. I want the city to gain money on this ... so they can afford to replace the municipal services that are getting eaten up by the cost of protective services for the downtown."
- All five members of the Hermosa Beach City Council expressed their opposition to Measure Q. In a ballot argument they jointly co-signed opposing it, they described Measure Q as "confiscatory, punitive, inequitable and fatally flawed."
- Kit Bobko, a member of the Hermosa Beach City Council, opposed the tax increase, and urged the Hermosa Beach City Council to place Measure N, a competing measure, on the November 8, 2011 ballot. Bobko said the proposal backed by Lissner "would be much worse than this – much worse than [the measure the city council might put on the ballot]."
- Douglas Howarth of Silvio's Brazilian BBQ on Pier Avenue opposed Measure Q. He said it would increase the business tax he is required to pay each year from $1,000 to $80,000, putting his business in jeopardy.
- Andrea Jacobsson, owner of JAMA Auto House, said: "I think that Measure Q should have been removed from the ballot. It would never collect the money it purports to bring in. ... It was very poorly written. It was very poorly thought out."
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
|Measure Q: "Shall an ordinance be adopted as submitted by initiative petition to amend the City's business license tax ordinance by modifying the amount of business license tax on restaurants and bars in order to increase tax revenue to the City? "|
Path to the ballot
- Easy Reader News, "Hermosa ballot could see dueling tax increases", June 8, 2011
- Daily Breeze, "Hermosa Beach grapples with competing business tax ballot measures", November 4, 2011