Santa Monica Sales Tax Increase, Measure Y (November 2010)

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A Santa Monica Sales Tax Increase, Measure Y ballot proposition was on the November 2, 2010 ballot for voters in the City of Santa Monica in Los Angeles County. It was approved.[1] It was approved.

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 was set to last in perpetuity since the ballot measure had no sunset provision.[2]

The increased sales tax was estimated to generate about $12 million each year.[3]

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.[4]

A companion advisory question, Measure YY, asking voters if half of the revenue provided by Measure Y should go towards funding education was also on the ballot and gained an approval rate of over 68%.

A simple majority vote was required for approval.

Election results

Measure Y
Approveda Yes 20,046 61.22%
These final, certified results are from the, California, Los Angeles County elections information.


  • The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to endorse the tax and place the tax vote on the November ballot.[3]
  • 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 grueling parcel tax vote, would benefit financially if the city imposed 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 was not legally obligated to give any proceeds from the sales tax increase to the school district, it could do so, and the city asked voters to express their views on whether it should, via the Santa Monica Sales Tax Proceeds for Schools Advisory Question, which was also approved 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."[5]
  • Santa Monica's police and fire unions voted to endorse Measure Y.[6]


Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver was opposed to the tax. Shriver, who was 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.[5]

City resident Bill Bauer was opposed. He said:

"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."[4]

Attorney Mathew Millen is a leader in to "No on Y" campaign.[7]

See also

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