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November 7, 2017 — Local Elections
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— Essential Services/Public Safety Measure —

Local
November 7, 2017 —Local Elections

City of Palm Springs
Measure D - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

6,849 votes yes (56.43%)

5,289 votes no (43.57%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (12/12).
  • 12,138 ballots counted.

To maintain essential city services, including rapid 911 emergency response, fire/police protection, add paramedic services, keep fire stations open/staffed, address homelessness, repair local streets/potholes, improve rapid response to assault, burglaries/crimes, keep public areas safe/clean, maintain senior services, attract/retain jobs/business, increase water conservation; shall the City of Palm Springs establish a 1/2 cent sales tax; requiring annual independent audits/public oversight; all funds used locally?

Impartial analysis / Proposal

The measure would adopt a new half-cent transactions and use tax in the City of Palm Springs. This kind of tax is often called a "sales" tax. The money from this tax would go in the City's general fund, and could be used for City purposes such as: fire and police protection, paramedic service, community programs (such as addressing homelessness, and providing senior and youth services), street, park and public facility cleaning, repair and maintenance, police and fire equipment, and other unfunded public needs.

The tax would be in addition to existing sales taxes. It would be collected at the same time and in much the same way as existing sales taxes. It would only apply to purchases of things subject to existing sales taxes. For example, purchases of prescription drugs and most food would not be taxed.

The City Council unanimously approved the proposed tax and the resolution placing this measure on the ballot, but California law requires that a simple majority of the City's voters, i.e., more than 50%, must also approve the tax before it can take effect.

The local share of "sales" tax revenue cannot exceed two cents on the dollar. This tax complies with that cap, and absent a change of state law, neither Riverside County nor the City of Palm Springs can raise the "sales" tax payable in the City any more. The revenue that this tax would generate would belong to and be used by the City, not the federal, state or county government. The tax will be subject to an annual review, through a public and independent audit. A certified public accounting firm with expertise in California municipal finance will perform the audit, including an analysis of the City's tax receipts, and how all "sales" tax revenue is spent. The Council must post the report of this audit on the City's website, and discuss its results at a public meeting.

Edward Z. Kotkin,             August 21, 2017
Palm Springs City Attorney

 

The above is an impartial analysis of Measure D. A complete copy of the tax ordinance appears on the City's website at www.palmspringsca.gov. If you want a copy of the ordinance, please call (760) 323-8204 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

— Palm Springs City Attorney

Arguments FOR

Vote YES on Measure D to maintain and improve public safety services and the quality of life in Palm Springs.

We love living in our beautiful, inclusive world-class city. Unfortunately, the State has taken $30 million from our city over the last five years, and federal funding is uncertain, leaving us without critical financial resources to maintain the level of public safety and essential services we expect and deserve.

Measure D provides our city with a dedicated local funding source that by law cannot be taken away by the state, county or federal government -- requiring public oversight and independent audits to ensure full transparency in the use of Measure D funds.

Measure D ensures that out-of-towners - estimated to contribute as much as 2/3rds of our sales tax dollars - pay their fair share for police, fire, paramedic, and other essential city services from which they benefit.

Measure D allows the city police and fire department to dedicate officers and firefighters to:

  • Put more officers on the street, keep fire stations open and fully staffed, add paramedic services, improve law enforcement and 911 response times - critical to stopping crime and saving lives.
  • Ensure our first responders have life-saving equipment they need to provide residents advanced life-support in medical emergencies.
  • Help keep gangs and drug dealers out of our city.

Measure D helps address homelessness, increasing access to mental health, substance abuse treatment and job training services, assisting people transitioning off the street, and ensuring our business districts, parks and other public spaces are secure for everyone.

Measure D protects property values, keeping our city a safe, clean and attractive place to live, and in which new businesses will invest.

Join police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, senior citizens, education and local business leaders in voting YES on Measure D.

Joe Cook, President, Palm Springs Police Officers' Association
Jeff Kelsheimer, President, Palm Springs Firefighters Association
Nona Watson, Chief Executive Officer, Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce
Mark Marshall, President, Mizell Senior Center Executive Board
Aftab Dada, President, Palm Springs Hospitality/Restaurant Association

— City of Palm Springs City Clerk

Arguments AGAINST

Some people believe continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. in 2011, the City asked voters to approve a 1% general sales tax increase which they promised to use to improve police and fire protection and maintain City services. After approval, they shoveled over $50 million in cash, and as much as $100 million more in tax rebates, into the pocket of a downtown developer. The City continues to do business with this developer despite his indictment on felony bribery charges.

Measure J generated over $63 million in new revenue since its passage, yet the city still cannot control spending without sticking the taxpayers with another bill. During the same period, transient occupancy tax revenue rose from $15.5 million a year to $34 million a year. But the City still can't manage its money, and now wants even more.

Do NOT be intimidated by the fear-mongering tactics of City Hall. Measure D rewards incompetence by punishing taxpayers for the City's own poor planning and bad decision-making.

Measure D contains NO requirement whatsoever that the City spend ANY of the proposed half-percent sales tax increase on police and fire protection or essential City services. History suggests more giveaways to developers are likely.

Measure D does nothing to prevent crime. Measure D does nothing to deliver homeless solutions. Measure D does nothing to rein-in growing City pension spending. Measure D will harm small businesses.

Say NO to bad city contracting practices and crony capitalism.

Say NO to out-of-control spending.

Say NO the bully pulpit of City Hall. 

Say NO to Measure D.
Robert Julian Stone, Author/Journalist
Barbara Beaty, Business Owner
Timothy B. Erkins, Entrepeneur sales, marketing, startup
Bond Shands, Retired

— City of Palm Springs City Clerk

Replies to Arguments FOR

Measure D proponents make seriously outrageous claims. ALL of the proposed tax increase will go to the General Fund. Nothing in Measure D promises or dedicates any of the tax money to anything other than the General Fund.

As for the $30 million the State has taken back in the last five years, much of that money had to be returned because Palm Springs misappropriated redevelopment funds and had to give them back when the State terminated redevelopment in 2012. But in this same five-year period, the 2012 sales tax increase and rising transient occupancy taxes generated over $150 million in new revenue for our city.

There is no objective evidence whatsoever that out-of-towners pay two-thirds of the sales tax in Palm Springs. That suggestion flies in the face of all logic and reason.

NOTHING in D requires more officers on the street, keeping fire stations open, adding paramedics, or funding any other safety/emergency services.

NOTHING in D requires funds be used for homelessness, mental health, or community services.

NOTHING in D dedicates funds to keeping "gangs and drug dealers out of our city?

NOTHING in D protects property values or any of the other ridiculous claims made by the proponents' argument.

Do not be deceived by spurious claims and empty promises.

Send the city a message that better management of existing tax revenue needs to occur before asking residents for more.

 Vote NO on Measure D. 

Robert Julian Stone, Author/Journalist
Timothy B. Erkins, Entrepenur: Sales, Marketing & Startup
Bond Shands, Retired
Barbara Beaty, Business Owner

— City of Palm Springs City Clerk

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The opponents of Measure D haven't done their homework. Many of their statements are inaccurate or untrue.

Public annual audits and a volunteer, citizen oversight committee show that Measure .1 funds have been spent as promised, including 41 miles of road repairs and replacements, fire station improvements, upgrades to the police training center, Welwood Murray Library, parks and downtown.

Fully transparent Measure J spending history is available at http://www.palmspringsca.gov.

The State has taken $30 million from Palm Springs over the last 5 years and is scheduled to take another $35-40 million. Measure J alone cannot make up that gap.

We simply cannot rely on the State to adequately fund public safety needs and maintain the quality of life we expect. That is why Measure D is the best option to address critical needs facing Palm Springs.

Measure D is essential for Palm Springs public safety:

-Put more police officers on the street.

-Keep fire stations open and fully staffed.

-Add lifesaving paramedic services and shorten 911 response times.

Measure D is urgently needed. An increase in police calls and 911 emergency calls for medical assistance demonstrates demand for essential city services is significantly outgrowing our resources. Measure D replaces an expiring state sales tax with local revenue -- 100% of which will stay in Palm Springs.

Measure D includes strong fiscal accountability: annual audits and public oversight.

Visitors will pay up to 2/3 of Measure D -- making it a smart investment in a safer, stronger Palm Springs.

Please help our firefighters, police and paramedics: Yes on D.

Joseph Cook, President, Palm Springs Police Officers Association

Jeff Kelsheimer, President, Palm Springs Firefighters Association

Michael Johnson, Chair, Palm Springs Measure J Commission

Jerry Keller, Owner, Lulu California Bistro, and Board Member, Palm Springs Hospitality Association

Nona Watson, Chief Executive Officer, Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce

 

— City of Palm Springs City Clerk

Proposed legislation

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF PALM SPRINGS. CALIFORNIA, IMPOSING A GENERAL TRANSACTIONS AND USE TAX

The people of the City of Palm Springs do hereby ordain as follows:

Section 1. TITLE. This ordinance shall be known as the Palm Springs Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance. The City of Palm Springs hereinafter shall be called "City." This ordinance shall be applicable in the incorporated territory of the City.

Section 2. OPERATIVE DATE. "Operative Date" means the first day of the first calendar quarter commencing more than 110 days after the adoption of this ordinance, the date of such adoption being as set forth below.

Section 3. PURPOSE. This ordinance is adopted to achieve the following, among other purposes, and directs that the provisions hereof be interpreted in order to accomplish those purposes:

A.     To impose a retail transactions and use tax in accordance with the provisions of Part 1.6 (commencing with Section 7251) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code and Section 7285.9 of Part 1.7 of Division 2 which authorizes the City to adopt this tax ordinance which shall be operative if a majority of the electors voting on the measure vote to approve the imposition of the tax at an election called for that purpose.

B.    To adopt a retail transactions and use tax ordinance that incorporates provisions identical to those of the Sales and Use Tax Law of the State of California insofar as those provisions are not inconsistent with the requirements and limitations contained in Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

C.    To adopt a retail transactions and use tax ordinance that imposes a tax and provides a measure therefore that can be administered and collected by the State Board of Equalization in a manner that adapts itself as fully as practicable to, and requires the least possible deviation from, the existing statutory and administrative procedures followed by the State Board of Equalization in administering and collecting the California State Sales and Use Taxes.

D.    To adopt a retail transactions and use tax ordinance that can be administered in a manner that will be, to the greatest degree possible, consistent with the provisions of Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, minimize the cost of collecting the transactions and use taxes, and at the same time, minimize the burden of record keeping upon persons subject to taxation under the provisions of this ordinance.

E.        To provide transactions and use tax revenue to the City to be used to fund general governmental purposes.

Section 4. CONTRACT WITH STATE. Prior to the operative date, the City shall contract with the State Board of Equalization to perform all functions incident to the administration and operation of this transactions and use tax ordinance; provided, that if the City shall not have contracted with the State Board of Equalization prior to the operative date, it shall nevertheless so contract and in such a case the operative date shall be the first day of the first calendar quarter following the execution of such a contract. 

Section 5. TRANSACTIONS TAX RATE. For the privilege of selling tangible personal property at retail, a tax is hereby imposed upon all retailers in the incorporated territory of the City at the rate of 0.5% of the gross receipts of any retailer from the sale of all tangible personal property sold at retail in said territory on and after the operative date of this ordinance.

Section 6. PLACE OF SALE. For the purposes of this ordinance, all retail sales are consummated at the place of business of the retailer unless the tangible personal property sold is delivered by the retailer or his agent to an out-of-state destination or to a common carrier for delivery to an out-of-state destination. The gross receipts from such sales shall include delivery charges, when such charges are subject to the state sales and use tax, regardless of the place to which delivery is made. In the event a retailer has no permanent place of business in the State or has more than one place of business, the place or places at which the retail sales are consummated shall be determined under rules and regulations to be prescribed and adopted by the State Board of Equalization.

Section 7. USE TAX RATE. An excise tax is hereby imposed on the storage, use or other consumption in the City of tangible personal property purchased from any retailer on and after the operative date of this ordinance for storage, use or other consumption in said territory at the rate of 0.5% of the sales price of the property. The sales price shall include delivery charges when such charges are subject to state sales or use tax regardless of the place to which delivery is made.

Section 8. ADOPTION OF PROVISIONS OF STATE LAW. Except as otherwise provided in this ordinance and except insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, all of the provisions of Part 1 (commencing with Section 6001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code are hereby adopted and made a part of this ordinance as though fully set forth herein.

Section 9. LIMITATIONS ON ADOPTION OF STATE LAW AND COLLECTION OF USE TAXES. In adopting the provisions of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code:

A.         Wherever the State of California is named or referred to as the taxing agency, the name of this City shall be substituted therefor. However, the substitution shall not be made when:

1. The word "State" is used as a part of the title of the State Controller, State Treasurer, State Board of Equalization, State Treasury, or the Constitution of the State of California; 

2. The result of that substitution would require action to be taken by or against this City or any agency, officer, or employee thereof rather than by or against the State Board of Equalization, in performing the functions incident to the administration or operation of this Ordinance.

3. In those sections, including, but not necessarily limited to sections referring to the exterior boundaries of the State of California, where the result of the substitution would be to:

a.  Provide an exemption from this tax with respect to certain sales, storage, use or other consumption of tangible personal property which would not otherwise be exempt from this tax while such sales, storage, use or other consumption remain subject to tax by the State under the provisions of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, or;

b.  Impose this tax with respect to certain sales, storage, use or other consumption of tangible personal property which would not be subject to tax by the state under the said provision of that code.

4. In Sections 6701, 6702 (except in the last sentence thereof), 6711, 6715, 6737, 6797 or 6828 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

B.          The word "City" shall be substituted for the word "State" in the phrase "retailer engaged in business in this State" in Section 6203 and in the definition of that phrase in Section 6203. 

Section 10. PERMIT NOT REQUIRED. If a seller's permit has been issued to a retailer under Section 6067 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, an additional transactor's permit shall not be required by this ordinance.

Section 11. EXEMPTIONS AND EXCLUSIONS.

A.       There shall be excluded from the measure of the transactions tax and the use tax the amount of any sales tax or use tax imposed by the State of California or by any city, city and county, or county pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law or the amount of any state-administered transactions or use tax.

B.       There are exempted from the computation of the amount of transactions tax the gross receipts from:

1. Sales of tangible personal property, other than fuel or petroleum products, to operators of aircraft to be used or consumed principally outside the county in which the sale is made and directly and exclusively in the use of such aircraft as 

common carriers of persons or property under the authority of the laws of this State, the United States, or any foreign government.

2. Sales of property to be used outside the City which is shipped to a point outside the City, pursuant to the contract of sale, by delivery to such point by the retailer or his agent, or by delivery by the retailer to a carrier for shipment to a consignee at such point. For the purposes of this paragraph, delivery to a point outside the City shall be satisfied:

a.         With respect to vehicles (other than commercial vehicles) subject to registration pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 4000) of Division 3 of the Vehicle Code, aircraft licensed in compliance with Section 21411 of the Public Utilities Code, and undocumented vessels registered under Division 3.5 (commencing with Section 9840) of the Vehicle Code by registration to an out-of-City address and by a declaration under penalty of perjury, signed by the buyer, stating that such address is, in fact, his or her principal place of residence; and

b.         With respect to commercial vehicles, by registration to a place of business out-of-City and declaration under penalty of perjury, signed by the buyer, that the vehicle will be operated from that address.

3. The sale of tangible personal property if the seller is obligated to furnish the property for a fixed price pursuant to a contract entered into prior to the operative date of this ordinance.

4. A lease of tangible personal property which is a continuing sale of such property, for any period of time for which the lessor is obligated to lease the property for an amount fixed by the lease prior to the operative date of this ordinance.

5. For the purposes of subparagraphs (3) and (4) of this section, the sale or lease of tangible personal property shall be deemed not to be obligated pursuant to a contract or lease for any period of time for which any party to the contract or lease has the unconditional right to terminate the contract or lease upon notice, whether or not such right is exercised.

C.        There are exempted from the use tax imposed by this ordinance, the storage, use or other consumption in this City of tangible personal property:

1.      The gross receipts from the sale of which have been subject to a transactions tax under any state-administered transactions and use tax ordinance.

2.    Other than fuel or petroleum products purchased by operators of aircraft and used or consumed by such operators directly and exclusively in the use of such aircraft as common carriers of persons or property for hire or compensation under a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued pursuant to the laws of this State, the United States, or any foreign government. This exemption is in addition to the exemptions provided in Sections 6366 and 6366.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code of the State of California.

3.    If the purchaser is obligated to purchase the property for a fixed price pursuant to a contract entered into prior to the operative date of this ordinance. 

4.    If the possession of, or the exercise of any right or power over, the tangible personal property arises under a lease which is a continuing purchase of such property for any period of time for which the lessee is obligated to lease the property for an amount fixed by a lease prior to the operative date of this ordinance.

5.    For the purposes of subparagraphs (3) and (4) of this section, storage, use, or other consumption, or possession of, or exercise of any right or power over, tangible personal property shall be deemed not to be obligated pursuant to a contract or lease for any period of time for which any party to the contract or lease has the unconditional right to terminate the contract or lease upon notice, whether or not such right is exercised.

6.    Except as provided in subparagraph (7), a retailer engaged in business in the City shall not be required to collect use tax from the purchaser of tangible personal property, unless the retailer ships or delivers the property into the City or participates within the City in making the sale of the property, including, but not limited to, soliciting or receiving the order, either directly or indirectly, at a place of business of the retailer in the City or through any representative, agent, canvasser, solicitor, subsidiary, or person in the City under the authority of the retailer.

7.    "A retailer engaged in business in the City" shall also include any retailer of any of the following: vehicles subject to registration pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 4000) of Division 3 of the Vehicle Code, aircraft licensed in compliance with Section 21411 of the Public Utilities Code, or undocumented vessels registered under Division 3.5 (commencing with Section 9840) of the Vehicle Code. That retailer shall be required to collect use tax from any purchaser who registers or licenses the vehicle, vessel, or aircraft at an address in the City.

D.        Any person subject to use tax under this ordinance may credit against that tax any transactions tax or reimbursement for transactions tax paid to a district imposing, or retailer liable for a transactions tax pursuant to Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code with respect to the sale to the person of the property the storage, use or other consumption of which is subject to the use tax.

Section 12. AMENDMENTS. All amendments subsequent to the effective date of this ordinance to Part 1 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code relating to sales and use taxes and which are not inconsistent with Part 1.6 and Part 1.7 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, and all amendments to Part 1.6 and Part 1.7 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, shall automatically become a part of this ordinance, provided however, that no such amendment shall operate so as to affect the rate of tax imposed by this ordinance.

Section 13. ENJOINING COLLECTION FORBIDDEN. No injunction or writ of mandate or other legal or equitable process shall issue in any suit, action or proceeding in any court against the State or the City, or against any officer of the State or the City, to prevent or enjoin the collection under this ordinance, or Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, of any tax or any amount of tax required to be collected. 

Section 14. PUBLIC OVERSIGHT. The City's annual audit is performed by an independent certified public accounting firm with extensive expertise in California municipal finance, compliance with all generally accepted accounting principles of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, and broad experience in reviewing, analyzing and reporting as to tax revenue. The audit is reported to the City Council at a public meeting, and shall address revenue generated by this ordinance.

Section 15. AUDIT AND REVIEW. The proceeds of the tax imposed by this ordinance, as well as the expenditure thereof, shall be audited annually by an independent certified public accounting firm. The City Council shall discuss the results of such audit at a meeting of the City Council that is open to the public. The report of such audit shall be posted on the City's website.

Section 16. SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the ordinance and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Section 17. EFFECTIVE DATE. This ordinance relates to the levying and collecting of the City transactions and use taxes and shall take effect immediately. 

Section 18. EXECUTION. The Mayor shall sign and the City Clerk shall attest to the passage of this ordinance upon certification by the City Council of the results of the election approving this ordinance.

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