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City of El Monte Temporary City Services Preservation Tax, Measure GG (November 2013)

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A City of El Monte Temporary City Services Preservation Tax, Measure GG ballot question was on the November 5, 2013, election ballot for voters in the city of El Monte in Los Angeles County, which is in California. It was approved.

The city of El Monte was facing a $4 million dollar reduction in revenue for 2014. The city also had a $2 million debt to employee bargaining units in December of 2013 and a possible $2.6 million increase in fire services costs, with the renewal of the contract with Los Angeles County. In the face of their shrinking revenue, the city council voted to ask voters to renew a 1/2% "transactions and use" tax for five years. The measure approved a transaction sales/use tax which applied to things such as prepared food, but not to such things as groceries or prescription drugs.[1][2]

According to staff reports, if the measure had not passed, the city would have been forced to shut down the one remaining fire station within the city limits and severely cut employees and city services. This sales tax was originally approved by voters in 2008. The council had agreed that they must move away from reliance on this tax, which was originally put in place to build up shrinking reserves but, due to economic recession, was used for general funds and operations. "We can wean ourselves off the tax revenue (over the years)," said Mayor Andre Quintero. Quintero implied that revenue from the last year of the tax, if the city stabilized, should all go into the reserves instead of toward funding operations.[2]

Election results

Measure GG
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 3,331 70.92%
No1,36629.08%
These final, certified results are from the Los Angeles County elections office.

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

To preserve and stabilize funding for essential public services such as keeping the City's four fire stations open; maintaining staffing levels for emergency response police services; street lighting and repair; senior services; and youth parks programs and to build the City's "rainy day" general fund reserves, shall the City's existing one half of one percent (1/2%) transactions and use tax be extended for five years?[1][3]

Support

Councilwoman Vicky Martinez said: "The revenue is a necessity to keep the city afloat. I look forward to the support of the residents."[2]

Carol Leese, a 47-year-resident said:

"Some residents feel we're losing business because of this (tax). I think we should keep it until 2020 to stay above water."
I'm happy with the council and the direction they are taking the city. I'd hate for this to stall now."[2]

Opposition

An anonymous retired resident of El Monte wrote: "How does increasing taxes provide for accountablity? It only gives more money to a city government that does not know how to BUDGET! You may not have to pay sales tax on groceries or *prescription* medications, but for the people who can't escape the creepy El Monte stores, they will have to pay the tax on toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning supplies and NON PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE. That adds up, and can truly matter to someone not collecting a large salary or retirement benefits from the city of El Monte. Only 50 cents may not matter to the people backing all these new taxes, but to some of our residents, it is important."[4]

ElectionForum.org recommended a no vote on Measure GG.[5]

See also

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