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Tuesday March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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City of Whittier
Measure W - 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


12,048 votes yes (57.22%)

9,007 votes no (42.78%)

To provide the City of Whittier with funding available to hire/retain police officers to reduce crime/gangs/drugs/graffiti; reduce 911 response times; address homelessness; increase neighborhood/park/business patrols; maintain streets, sidewalks, parks, senior services, afterschool programs, and provide general services shall the measure establishing a three-quarter cent sales tax be adopted, providing approximately $6,375,000 annually until ended by voters, requiring independent audits, all funds locally controlled?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Richard D. Jones, City Attorney

Measure W is an ordinance authorizing the City of Whittier to levy a three-quarter cent (0.75%) transactions and use tax. This type of tax, commonly referred to as a "local sales tax," is collected along with other state and local sales and use taxes. A three-quarter cent tax on a $100.00 taxable purchase is, for example, seventy-five cents.

The combined rate of all state and local sales taxes applicable to taxable sales in the City of Whittier is currently 9.5%. Of this 9.5%, only a 1.0% sales tax, known as the Bradley-Burns Tax, is imposed by the City of Whittier. The remaining taxes are imposed by the state or by the county or its agencies. The proposed new tax would increase the combined tax rate to 10.25%.

Purchases in Whittier that are exempt from the statewide sales tax would also be exempt from the proposed new tax. For example, most groceries, prescription drugs and purchases of services would be exempt from taxation. The primary difference between a transactions and use tax and a sales and use tax is that the transactions tax on the sale of a motor vehicle within California applies based on the location where the motor vehicle will be registered, not on the location where the sale occurs. Thus, someone who purchases a car or other motor vehicle from a dealer anywhere in the state would pay the city's tax if they will be registering the vehicle in Whittier, while a person who purchases a vehicle in Whittier for registration at a California location outside of the city would not pay the tax

The tax would be administered by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Proceeds of the tax, less administration costs, would be deposited to the city's general fund, controlled by the City Council of the City of Whittier (not the state), and available for any lawful governmental purpose. Examples of permissible uses, as identified by the City Council, are hiring and retaining police officers to reduce crime, gang activity, drug crimes and graffiti; reducing 911 response times; addressing homelessness; increasing neighborhood, park and business patrols; maintaining streets, sidewalks, parks, senior services, afterschool programs, and providing general services.

This tax would remain in effect until terminated by the voters. It is anticipated that this tax will initially generate approximately $6,375,000 in revenue annually for the city's general fund. The proceeds of the tax would be included in the annual audit of the City's financial operations by an independent certified public accountant.

This measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council of the City of Whittier.

A YES vote approves the measure and authorizes the proposed tax.
A NO vote rejects the measure and the proposed tax.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

Save Whittier!

A YES on Measure W will keep Whittier taxpayers' dollars in Whittier for the benefit of Whittier residents. Over 30 local cities have already approved raising their sales tax to the state limit in order to stop the State, County, MTA or Air Quality District from taking it and spending it somewhere else. And like those other cities, Whittier is feeling the pinch brought on by mandates and higher pension costs from Sacramento without any additional funding.

This ¾ of a percent increase in the sales tax will generate approximately $6.3 million for improving Whittier police, homeless programs, libraries, parks, streets, kids and senior programs to keep Whittier as we know it. It will add just 2 cents to the cost of a typical candy bar, 25 cents to a typical restaurant check and $3.75 to the cost of a $500 television. It is estimated that more than 50% of the revenue will come from visitors who use our restaurants, shopping malls and car dealers.

Other taxing agencies are standing by to grab this money, even over our objections, and spend it on their priorities outside of Whittier. It's time for Whittier to protect our community's financial future and secure this money before someone else takes it away. Please join with us to ensure Whittier's fiscal stability. Vote YES on Measure W.

Save Whittier!

Mayor, City of Whittier

Former Mayor, Business Owner

Retired Trustee, Rio Hondo College

President, Whittier Police Officers Association

Small Business Owner

Arguments AGAINST

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