Editor:

MEASURE GS is ballot initiative that will raise taxes on both Commercial AND residential real estate sales valued at 8 million dollars and above. Why do the organizations and authors of Measure GS send postcards and flyers stating “Only wealthy real estate investors will pay this tax.” When you have to intentionally mislead people in order to get them to vote for your ballot initiative, what does that say about the merits of your policy? If passed, Santa Monica would have highest Real Estate Transfer Tax of EVERY CITY IN CALIFORNIA on real estate sales between 8 million – 25 million dollars.

The tax would be an increase from $6 per every $1000 of home value to $56 per every $1000 of home value. So for a typical $8,000,000 sale, the tax increase would go from $48,000 to $448,000.  I know most of us will never own an 8 million dollar home, but is it fair to raise taxes on a handful of people by 833%?  

As a justification for this 833% tax increase, MEASURE GS states: “having enjoyed the benefits of the City services and programs and having achieved such high property values due to ongoing quality of the community and taxpayer funded services in Santa Monica, including public educational programs, those who sell or transfer Santa Monica properties valued at 8 million dollars or more should leave a small portion of the proceeds with the city to help fund expansion of its homelessness prevention, affordable housing and public education programs.”

First, a small portion? $448,000 dollars on an 8 million dollar sale.

Second is an $8,000,000 home valued as such thanks to City services? Public schools? Or is it the fact that Santa Monica sits next to one of the nicest stretches of the Pacific Ocean along the entire west coast. It’s typically 20 degrees cooler here than in the rest of Los Angeles, people come from all over the country, from all over the world, to vacation here.

Two years ago, proposition SM doubled the Real Estate Transfer taxes on homes valued at 5 million dollars from 3,00 per 1000 of home valuation to $6 per $1000 in home valuation, also in the name of funding programs for similar issues. Have you noticed an improvement with regards to homelessness, crime, management of affordable housing?

An 833% tax increase disproportionally penalizes a handful of homeowners and commercial real estate businesses that are already heavily taxed in Santa Monica. Using the hot button issue of homelessness and misleading voters about whom this tax will affect, seems particularly cynical & calculated.

Robert Maschio, Santa Monica