Measure Y is a ballot measure that will permanently raise the current 9 3/4 percent sales tax on taxable items purchased, delivered or registered in Santa Monica one-half percent to 10 1/4 percent. 

If approved by a majority (50 percent plus one) of voters, it would supposedly raise about $12 million in added annual revenue for City Hall.

Proponents say the increase, referred to as a “transaction and use tax,” is needed “to avoid cuts in public safety and to maintain police, fire, paramedic and emergency 911 response, public transit, services for the disabled, gang and drug prevention programs, environmental, library and other general fund services.”

Suggestions that City Hall is in dire need of money and may have to slash essential services including police and fire is absolute rubbish. A city with well over a half-billion dollar budget can surely trim one or two-percent without harming essential services. The truth is City Hall has a long list of discretionary spending items that can be shortened or eliminated, but why bother when you can get us “rubes” to pay higher taxes?

City-Data.com lists Santa Monica’s population at 84,848 with 1,873 full-time and 404 part-time employees or 37 residents for each city employee as of March, 2007 — the latest year City-Data breakdowns were available. How do we compare with other California cities of a similar size and/or demographics? 

Only Beverly Hills (33,784) had a higher resident to employee ratio at 36 compared to Santa Monica’s 37 in 2007. According to City Hall sources, In September, 2010, our estimated population was 87,800 and we have 2,009 total employees or 44 residents for each city employee.

Although comparing actual city budgets proved impossible, it would seem that City Hall is way overstaffed and spending much more money (per capita) than most other California municipalities. Much of it here is spent on expensive municipal subsidies, expanded social service programs, acquiring property and numerous other non-essential but politically correct schemes

In order to make one of the highest sales taxes in the nation more palatable to voters, City Hall has calculatedly suggested it may “share the wealth” with “schools.” So, the politicians even created a non-legally binding, advisory ballot measure, YY, that reads “should half its (Y’s) revenue be used to support school, educational and after school programs if enacted?”

The problem is that neither Y or YY mentions public schools specifically such as those in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. But, that hasn’t stopped school cheerleaders from falsely hawking both measures as school life savers. 

In other words, Y is yet another ploy to get voters to approve another tax to supposedly fund public education under the guise of an impending (but phony) crisis in funding essential municipal services. How manipulative and dishonest!

Because of the deliberately vague wording, City Council could keep all the money or distribute unspecified proceeds to St. Monica and St. Anne Catholic schools, private schools and organizations with educational programs such as the YMCA, YWCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, Red Cross of Santa Monica, Heal the Bay and a whole raft of nonprofits with educational components. Already, Santa Monica College’s Board of Trustees is lining up to “get some." 

Don’t be fooled into voting for Y because you’ve been told it will solve our public schools’ financial crises. There’s no guarantee that’ll happen. And, even if Y passes, due to ongoing mismanagement and bad decision-making, future school deficits are anticipated. So, “they’ll be back.”

Two years ago, voters approved Measure SM which could expand the current 10 percent Utility Users Tax on phone, gas, electric and cable television to satellite TV and radio, music downloads, GPS, OnStar and a wide range of new technologies (when and if federally deregulated in 2014) at the whim of the City Council.

At the time, fear-mongering tax proponents told us if SM doesn’t prevail at the polls, educational and school programs, parks and recreation, police, fire and emergency services would suffer. It’s a semi-annual, phony mantra promulgated by one of the wealthiest cities in the state.

If Measure Y passes, the added $12 million will generate about a two percent boost in city revenue. If City Hall keeps all or gives away half of Y’s expected revenue, neither amount is enough to remedy any alleged, serious, long-term, municipal deficits. That’s why Y and YY are all a scam and a fraud. 

Times are tough. It’s unreasonable and selfish for those at City Hall and the constantly opportunistic school cheerleaders to think that they’re exempt from hard times and the rest of us aren’t, therefore we must pay.

We’ve all cut back to make ends meet. City Hall can and must do the same.

 

 

Bill can be reached at mr.bilbau@gmail.com.

Employee/resident ratios

• Alhambra: 85,804 population, 161 Residents Per Employee (RPE)

• Lakewood: 79,395 with 230 RPE

• Whittier: 83,680, 117 RPE

• Santa Barbara: 92,325, 61 RPE 

• Buena Park: 78,282, 194 RPE

• Pasadena:: 133,936, 63 RPE

• Culver City: 38,816, 95 RPE