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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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1% Transaction and Use Tax To Provide Funding for General City Services, Programs and Projects

Local
November 8, 2016California General Election

City of La Quinta
Measure G - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passed

8,233 votes yes (54.73%)

6,809 votes no (45.27%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (12/12).
  • 15,042 ballots counted.

Shall an ordinance providing revenue, which the State cannot take, to be used locally for police protection; projects such as parks, streets, landscaping and flood control; programs attracting businesses; youth/senior services; sports/recreation programs; preserving property values and quality of life, by setting a permanent 1% transactions (sales) and use tax, subject to citizen oversight, raising six million dollars annually (estimated), with all funds dedicated to general City services, programs and projects, be adopted?

Impartial analysis / Proposal

The City Council of the City of La Quinta has placed a One Percent (1%) sales tax measure (Measure) on the November 8, 2016 ballot to ask the City’s voters to approve an ordinance that would enact a City-based one percent (1%) sales tax (officially called a “Transactions and Use Tax”). If approved, the tax would add one cent per dollar to the price of an item subject to the tax. Sales taxes are levied on retail sales and uses of tangible personal property. Sales taxes are collected by retailers and sent to the State Board of Equalization, which distributes the tax proceeds.

The current tax on retail sales in La Quinta is 8% of a purchase price. The City, however, receives only 1% of this 8%. The remainder goes to the State (6.25%) and Riverside County and Riverside County Transportation Commission (collectively, 0.75%). This Measure, if approved by the City’s voters, would authorize an additional City- based 1% sales tax, which would increase the total sales tax rate on retail sales in La Quinta from 8% to 9%.

All revenue generated by this Measure would be protected from being diverted away from the City and its services, programs and projects pursuant to Article XIII, Section 24(b) of the California Constitution, which provides, “The [State] Legislature may not reallocate, transfer, borrow, appropriate, restrict the use of, or otherwise use the proceeds of any tax imposed or levied by a local government solely for the local government’s purposes.” A January 2016 final report from a 14-member volunteer advisory committee estimated six million dollars annually could be raised if the Measure is approved, but actual amounts raised may vary.

All revenue generated by this Measure would go to the City’s general fund and would be available for expenditure for any and all services, programs and projects funded by the City, including: police protection; projects such as parks, streets, landscaping and flood control; programs attracting businesses; youth/senior services, sports/recreation programs; and preserving property values and quality of life. Because this Measure does not limit the use of tax revenue, under State law it is considered a “general tax,” not a “special tax” that restricts funds to a specific purpose. The permanent 1% sales tax proposed under this Measure would be subject to annual review by an independent citizen oversight committee.

A “Yes” vote is in favor of adopting the City-based 1% sales tax under this Measure. A “No” vote is against adopting the City-based 1% sales tax under this Measure. If a simple majority of voters vote “Yes,” then this Measure will be approved and the ordinance authorizing the City-based 1% sales tax will be adopted.

Dated: August 11, 2016

By: William H. Ihrke, City Attorney

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure “G”. If you desire a copy of the ordinance or Measure, please call the election official’s office at (760) 777-7123 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

— La Quinta City Attorney

Arguments FOR

We support the 11/8/2016 ballot Measure G to raise the City of La Quinta (City) sales tax by 1%. The City is a premier community providing its residents with a rich and safe living experience. However, a number of factors have impacted the financial condition of our City. These include; the 2009 recession, dissolution of the La Quinta RDA, flattening sales and property tax revenues and rapidly increasing police expenditures.

The City, under the leadership of the Council and Manager, has taken many steps to address these financial issues. In 2015, the Council formed an Advisory Committee to get input from the community. The Advisory Committee was comprised of residents with diverse backgrounds, who for months independently analyzed the City’s finances. The Advisory Committee demonstrated that the City faced an uncertain future with projected expenditures exceeding projected revenues, leading to a $50 million deficit at the end of 10 years. Several revenue and expenditure recommendations were developed to improve the City’s financial condition including the recommendation to increase the sales tax by 1% from 8% to 9%.

Approximately one-third of the sales tax revenue is generated by City residents with two-thirds generated from those outside the community. The 1% sales tax increase will generate an additional $6 million in annual revenues. It is estimated that a City household with an annual income of $95,000 will only be impacted by an additional $91/year.

The additional sales tax revenue will help maintain a vibrant community and our quality of life. If the sales tax ballot measure does not pass, the only option is to reduce and/or eliminate critical infrastructure improvements and the services and programs we now enjoy.

We urge all residents to vote “Yes” in November on the sales tax increase ballot Measure G.

By:

Mark L. Johnson

Linda Williams

George J. Botavick

Douglas D. Hassett

Marion Kay Wolff

— Riverside County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

The “tax and spend” culture in La Quinta needs to stop.After years of careless spending and irresponsible money management by our city and Council they are now asking taxpayers to cough up more money to bail them out of the mess they created, while they are holding onto substantial reserves. Over the last twenty years as a resident of La Quinta, I have seen:
*All types of fees added to my property tax, utility and cable bills some of them city related.
*Tax monies given away as business incentives or in the form of grants.
*Sales tax and TOT rebates given to moneyed developers, and projects, to the detriment of our City finances.
*Awarding no bid costly consulting contracts to well connected individuals, for projects the city could do.
*Police, fire, and public employee salaries and benefits continuing to rise at alarming rates.
*The city sank a large amount of RDA funds into the SilverRock Project a money losing project. We are stuck with a large bond repayment, covering the golf course loses plus other related costs, which this year took $543,000 from our “General Fund”.The City has developed no Plan B to reduce those costs.
*The “Successor Agency” (RDA) has created a debt for the city of $350,000,000 which is repaid thru property taxes.
*This tax increase proposition is not a “Special Tax” which would address real needs, but a tax that would be dumped into the “General Fund” to be spent by this Council as they see fit.
Approving this tax increase is like taking an Alka-Seltzer for your aching head when you need brain surgery.
We can VOTE NO to any new taxes and force change in our broken status quo system.

By:
William Gertz

Dolores Bernstein

Bruce McKelvy

Daniel Twohey

Ingrid Twohey

— Riverside County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

It’s not the people making $95,000 a year we are worried about. The poor, the elderly and the young do not have the same access to transportation to go to neighboring cities to save money. They will pay the brunt of this.This is a regressive tax. Local businesses will suffer resulting in even less tax revenue. What is best for La Quinta is if all the surrounding cities raise their taxes and we don’t, becoming the city for saving money when shopping. Shop La Quinta!

• RDA money is borrowed money that we make huge yearly payments on.We can sell the undeveloped portion of the SilverRock property and use the proceeds to pay off that portion of RDA debt which the city owes plus save the interest for 30 years. We would not have to make bond payments from our property tax receipts and that extra money would go into our general fund, we would then be in great shape.
• It’s not true that we must sell the SilverRock property for $1 per parcel. We can recoup what the city paid per acre plus. We need to implement plan B on the outdated SilverRock plans that were created over 20 years ago and have brought in no substantial revenue in fact the opposite and move on.
• What we need is a financial overhaul at City Hall.What we need is a new Vision.
   La Quinta’s budget can be balanced without a tax increase.

Vote”NO” on Measure G.

By:

William Gertz

Bruce McKelvy

Daniel Twohey

Ingrid Twohey

— Riverside County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The Argument Against Measure G is factually incorrect and misleading.

There is NOT a “Tax and Spend” culture in La Quinta.

• Proposition 13 limits the property tax to 1% of assessed value and the City only receives 7 cents of every dollar paid in property tax revenue.
• The City only receives 1% of the current 8% sales tax rate and that rate has not changed since 1982 (34 years)!
• A citizen’s Advisory Committee analyzed the City’s finances and found that numerous steps have been taken to reduce and control expenditures.  

The City’s current financial situation is clearly the result of external factors of which the City has little control.

The City follows strict government accounting requirements with reserves established for each fund---most of which are restricted. Total Available Reserves are currently $13.5 million. This is NOT a substantial amount considering the size and complexity of the City.

The SilverRock Resort is critical to the future financial health of the City. The development will yield $17 million in additional revenues over the next 10 years.

Not passing Measure G will lead to a large budget deficit in 10 years and critical infrastructure improvements, services and programs will be in peril.

When the community supports its City, we all win. This small investment reaps the returns for safety, security and quality of life.

Vote Yes on Measure G to Protect Our Gem of the Desert–It just makes sense!

By:

Mark L. Johnson

Linda L. Williams

George J. Batavick

Douglas D. Hassett

Marion Kay Wolff

— Riverside County Registrar of Voters
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