Santa Monica Sales Tax Increase, Measure Y (November 2010)
Measure Y asked voters to approve an additional half-cent sales tax to Santa Monica's existing 9.75% sales tax, raising the total sales tax to 10.25%. The tax will last in perpetuity since the ballot measure has no sunset provision.
The increased sales tax will generate about $12 million each year, it is estimated.
Santa Monica's financial staff estimated that increasing the sales tax by half-a-cent could result in a 10% reduction in purchases made in the city, because of customers going elsewhere.
A companion advisory question, Measure YY, was also on the ballot.
Results are from the Los Angeles County election results website, as of November 11, 2010.
A simple majority vote was required for approval.
- The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to endorse the tax and place the tax vote on the November ballot.
- The board of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) voted to endorse the sales tax increase, partly because of a belief that the school district, which recently lost a gruelling parcel tax vote, would benefit financially if the city imposes an additional sales tax. The school district could benefit from the city tax increase if the city gives some of the new revenue to the school district. Although the city would not be legally obligated to give any proceeds from the sales tax increase to the school district, it could do so, and the city is also asking voters to express their views on whether it should, via the Santa Monica Sales Tax Proceeds for Schools Advisory Question, which is also on the November 2, 2010 ballot.
- Neil Carrey, head of SMMUSD Tax Feasibility Committee, said, "There's an enormous comfort level that if this passes and the advisory opinion passes, members of the City Council now and in the future will follow that opinion, and that will mean more money for the school district."
- Santa Monica's police and fire unions voted to endorse Measure Y.
Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver is opposed to the tax. Shriver, who is the brother of Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife Maria Shriver, said that the way for Santa Monica to deal with its budget problems is to cut spending and that if the school district needs more money, it should go back to the voters with another parcel tax question.
City resident Bill Bauer is opposed. He says:
- "However, there's nothing in either ballot measure that guarantees one thin dime will go to the schools. Although this present council will probably share the wealth, future City Councils could turn off the tap at any time for any reason...This sales tax proposal is another in a long series of regressive taxes promulgated by the municipal "plutocracy." There is no compelling need to increase taxes and give even more money to City Hall and a school district that believes taxing residents out of their homes and jobs is the only option."
Attorney Mathew Millen is a leader in to "No on Y" campaign.
- Santa Monica Daily Press, "Council approves sales tax for November, July 8, 2010
- Santa Monica Daily Press, "Why Y and YY?", October 4, 2010
- Santa Monica Daily Press, "Sales tax increase goes to voters", July 14, 2010
- Santa Monica Daily Press, "Death and sales taxes", July 19, 2010
- Malibu Times, "SMMUSD backs Santa Monica city tax proposal", July 21, 2010
- Santa Monica Daily Press, "Campaign roundup: Cops, firefighters still behind Measure Y", October 8, 2010
- Santa Monica Daily Press, "Measure Y opponents don't appear to be one happy family", October 7, 2010