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Tuesday November 8, 2022 — California General Election
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City of Santa Monica
Measure GS - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results


19,467 votes yes (53.5%)

16,926 votes no (46.5%)

Shall the measure adding Santa Monica Municipal Code Chapter 4.90 to establish designated funds for schools, homelessness prevention, and affordable housing, and an eleven-member resident oversight committee, and amending Chapter 6.96 to provide a third tier transfer tax rate of $56.000 per $1,000 of value for property transfers of $8,000,000 or more, providing an estimated $50,000,000 annually for homelessness prevention, affordable housing, and schools, until repealed, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

DOUGLAS T. SLOAN, City Attorney

The Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC) imposes a one-time tax on each transfer of real property in Santa Monica. The City’s real property transfer tax currently has two tiers. The first tier tax rate is $3.00 per $1,000 of consideration (generally the sale price) or property value transferred for properties valued at less than $5,000,000. The second tier tax rate is $6.00 per $1,000 of consideration or property value transferred for properties valued at, or more than, $5,000,000.

This measure amends the SMMC to establish a new third tier tax rate for transfers of $8,000,000 or more. The proposed third tier tax rate would be $56.00 per $1000 of value transferred. This measure establishes and funds: (1) a Homelessness Prevention and Affordable Housing (HPAH) Fund; and (2) a new School Fund. Out of the third tier tax rate of 5.6%, 5% would be allocated to the School Fund and the HPAH Fund (Allocated Funds) and the remaining .6% would go to the General Fund.

The measure contains a specific annual distribution of the Allocated Funds. The first $10,000,000 of annual Allocated Funds must be deposited into the School Fund. The next $40,000,000 of annual Allocated Funds must be deposited into the HPAH Fund. Any Allocated Funds collected above $50,000,000 yearly would be deposited 20% into the School Fund and 80% into the HPAH Fund.

The measure would require the City to provide the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District the Allocated Funds in the School Fund each year. In the event of a de-unification of Malibu schools, the school district serving residents of Santa Monica would be entitled to receive the School Funds.

The measure allows the HPAH Fund to be used to provide ongoing or emergency income assistance, acquire and rehabilitate existing rental properties as deed-restricted affordable housing, create new deed-restricted housing, and fund programs and services designed to preserve and improve affordable housing for lower income households.

The measure establishes an eleven-member committee that will recommend to the City Council guidelines for eligible expenditures, local priorities and preferences, award procedures, budgeting, program evaluation, and public reporting procedures. The City’s auditors will audit the HPAH Fund annually and publicly provide the results to the eleven-member committee and the City Council’s Audit Subcommittee.

The School Fund and the HPAH Fund are intended to provide additional support and not replace any existing funding under current agreements or prior advisory measures.

According to a financial report requested by the City Council, based on historic sales trends the measure is estimated to generate new annual tax revenues of about $49 million.

The City would be permitted to use the tax revenue only for purposes specified in the measure.

The measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters. A “yes” vote supports the passage of the amendment to the SMMC; a “no” vote opposes passage of the amendment. A majority vote (more than 50% of the votes cast) is required to pass the measure.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

If you value our children and public schools, helping severely rent burdened seniors age in place with dignity, and keeping Santa Monica economically diverse rather than a community where only the wealthy live, vote for Measure GS. It could raise close to $50 million per year on average that must be spent to accomplish these goals, and will do so by taxing sales of real estate worth $8 million or more.

Here is why we need these funds.

HUD estimates that over 6000 Santa Monica renter households are lower income and pay more than half their limited income for rent and utilities; many are long-term senior residents and families with children. Many are one financial shock away from homelessness. Measure GS will provide subsidies to these seniors and families with children so they stay secure in their homes and live with dignity.

Excellent public schools are critical to our children’s success and Santa Monicans have consistently supported funding for our schools. Measure GS will enhance our schools by providing at least $10 million annually to support educational and afterschool programs.

The state sets affordable housing targets and cities face state usurpation of their authority over development if they fail to comply. This measure will fund good faith efforts by Santa Monica to provide our fair share of affordable housing, and will help avoid Sacramento mismanagement of our future.

This new wealth tax is fair. A city funded study indicated that, on average, it might have raised about $49 million annually over the past decade by taxing less than 30 property sales per year, more than 80% of which were multifamily apartment buildings and commercial properties. Santa Monica provides an ideal environment for real estate profits, and we deserve to recoup a small portion of their gains.



Mayor, City of Santa Monica


Co-Chair Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights


President, SMMUSD


Former Mayor, City of Santa Monica, Co-founder of SMRR


President, Santa Monica Democratic Club

Arguments AGAINST

Vote NO on Measure GS - It is too flawed for Santa Monica:

• Santa Monica already has one of the highest property tax rates in the country and this new tax could make it the highest. However, NONE of this tax revenue goes to important programs and services, such as public safety, homelessness or the restoration of critical services like the reopening of libraries and after-school programs for our kids.

• Measure GS will never end. Eventually, almost every small business owner and multi-family apartment building will be forced to pay this extremely large tax increase.

• Measure GS will force local small businesses to raise their costs to residents to pay their increased rents due to this extreme increase in tax. Anyone who has been Downtown recently knows that we need to protect our small businesses, not tax them out of existence.

• Measure GS will hurt local churches and charitable organizations by forcing them to pay hundreds of thousands in new taxes instead of using funds for programs providing assistance to those in need.

• The funds for Measure GS will only go to costly government-built housing (with some possibly costing over $800,000 per unit). Who benefits? Those developers who get these lucrative government contracts.

• Measure GS will create a brand-new bureaucracy with no public oversight, costing Millions of Tax Dollars in new City employee salaries and benefits - who will continue to get paid even if no new revenue is collected!

It is not surprising that Measure GS is seriously flawed - it was drafted by the Mayor, her husband, and others - instead of engaging with the community and with other members of the City Council.

We urge you to Vote "NO" on Measure GS to protect residents and small businesses!


City Councilmember


Vice Chair, Audit Subcommittee


Former Chair, Recreation & Parks Commission


Chair, Northeast Neighbors


Housing Commissioner

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Facts matter.

Truth matters.


• Measure GS is a one-time tax on property sales over $8 million. Only the very wealthy will ever pay this tax.

• Measure GS will raise on average roughly $50 million per year to assist lower income Santa Monica seniors and families at risk of becoming homeless, to create new affordable housing for lower and moderate-income Santa Monicans, and to support our top-ranked public schools.

• Over 6000 Santa Monica renter households are lower income and pay more than half their limited income for rent and utilities. They need help now.

• YOU the Santa Monica voters put Measure GS on the ballot with your signatures.

• Measure GS will provide Santa Monica the resources to say YES to great schools, YES to assisting seniors and families to remain in their Santa Monica homes, and YES to more affordable housing.


• Measure GS DOES NOT INCREASE PROPERTY TAXES! The California Supreme Court says so.

• Very wealthy property owners will pay this one-time tax when they sell property for over $8 million.

• Small businesses, local churches and charities, and residents who do not sell property for over $8 million will never pay this tax.

• All expenditures under Measure GS must be audited, reviewed by a committee of residents, and approved by the City Council.

• YOU the voters of Santa Monica can end Measure GS at any general election.

Vote your Santa Monica Values with a YES on Measure GS.


Mayor, City of Santa Monica


Co-Chair, Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights


SMMUSD President


Co-Founder, Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights


President, Santa Monica Democratic Club

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