Palm Springs Sales Tax Increase, Measure J (November 2011)

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A City of Palm Springs Sales Tax, Measure J was on the November 8, 2011 ballot for voters in the City of Palm Springs in Riverside County, where it was approved.[1]

Measure J increases the sales tax in Palm Springs by 1 percentage point to 8.75%. This is expected to generate an additional $8 million a year in sales tax revenue for the city. The tax will be in force for 25 years.

Some of the money that will be raised by Measure J will be used to renovate the Desert Fashion Plaza. The development project will be undertaken with developer John Wessman.[1]

The City of Palm Springs spent $52,900 on an informational campaign for Measure J.[2]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results and Local ballot measure elections in 2011
Palm Springs Sales Tax Increase, Measure J
Approveda Yes 6,550 57.48%
Election results are from the Riverside County elections office.



The official voter guide arguments in favor of Measure J were signed by:

  • Steve Pougnet
  • Lee Weigel
  • Ginny Foat
  • Rick Hutcheson
  • Chris Mills

The "Committee to Support Measure J" is leading the campaign for a "yes" vote on Measure J.

Other supporters include:

  • Bob Helbling[3]

Arguments in favor

Dave Baron sits on the board of the "Committee to Support Measure J." He says, "The reality is we're broke. All cities are broke. The state's broke. The county's broke. And in fact, the state is taking money from the cities in the form of revamping the (redevelopment agency). So there's just no money and there's not going to be any money, so the result is: we have to rely on ourselves."[1]

City Council member Rick Hutcheson supports Measure J. He says, "The city will more than get back the money that we are investing. I think of it as a neighborhood revitalization program just as much as it is a downtown revitalization program."[4]



The official ballot guide arguments against Measure J were signed by:

  • Donald Prell
  • Bond Shands
  • Jim Jones

Other opponents include Elise Richmond (KNEWS radio), Bob Richmond (former county GOP chairman) and Barbara Beaty (former president of the Palm Springs Republican Women).[5]

Arguments against

  • Bond Shands: "The way to ask for a tax increase or a bond measure is to first lay out, in detail, what you are going to do with it...But without telling them what you're going to do with it, it's telling them: 'Give us the money and trust us.' And that's something that doesn't work with me....We do not oppose revitalization. We are in favor of it — 100 percent in favor of it. We only opposed giving $43 million in taxpayer money to John Wessman or to anyone else. The gift of taxpayer money to a private developer is just something that we find totally unacceptable."[6]

Desert Fashion Plaza

Picture of the current state of Desert Fashion Plaza. This photo is displayed on the "Measure J" information page sponsored by the City of Palm Springs

In a history of Palm Springs, the Desert Fashion Plaza is described this way: "The beautiful Desert Fashion Plaza and Maxim's opened in 1986 with 1,400 underground parking spaces and a number of quality shops. The Marquis Hotel in Section 14 and Shilo Hotel opened shortly afterwards."[7]

Ballot text

The question on the ballot:

MEASURE J: Shall an ordinance to provide funding that cannot be taken by the State and help preserve Palm Springs city services, including without limitation police, fire, library, parks, streets/pothole repair, acquisition and development of garages and parking facilities, installation and maintenance of improvements and facilities for the implementation of the Museum Market Plaza Specific Plan, by enacting a City of Palm Springs 1% sales and use tax, for 25 years, subject to independent annual audits, be adopted?[8]

See also

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