By Ted AYALA
A tax measure that was passed by an overwhelming two-thirds majority of voters a few years may find itself a target in the forthcoming special election.
Three Glendale area residents – William Taliaferro, Kenneth Landon, and Jon Voors – submitted to the office of the Glendale City Clerk a notice stating their intention to circulate a petition aimed at repealing Measure UUT.
The notice, which was ratified by the city clerk’s office on Jan. 20, informed the community of the group’s intent to petition for a ballot measure that would strike down Measure UUT.
Measure UUT was a tax measure proposed to residents in the 2009 election. It updated then existing utility users tax (UUT) on telephone services by reducing the tax rate from 7% to 6.5%, while keeping exemptions for low-income senior and disabled residents. Revenue was increased, however, by the removal of references to legal definitions under federal law from the city’s UUT, replaced instead with new ones drafted by the city.
According to a statement in support of the measure that was drafted by, among others, former Councilmember John Drayman and former City Manager Jim Starbird, the measure would also improve accountability by way of an annual independent audit that would ensure that revenues were being properly collected and spent.
“By treating all users of similar communications services the same, regardless of technology, it is projected that Measure U will produce approximately the same amount of tax revenue using a lower tax percentage spread across all users of telecommunication services,” read their joint statement, which was also signed by Glendale Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and former Police Chief Randy Adams.
Arguments against the measure drafted by members of the Glendale Vanguardians group said that the measure amounted to a general tax and that much of the allocated revenue would go to paying the salaries of city staff rather than used for the funding of essential services.
Ultimately, Measure UUT passed with an overwhelming majority, meeting the two-thirds threshold required by the city to enact new taxes.
Other utilities, such as water and gas, were not affected by the measure.
In the proposed measure drafted by Taliaferro, Landon, and Voors, Measure UUT would not only be repealed, but would also affect the city’s ability to collect similar taxes on other utilities.
“Thus, the measure would prohibit the imposition or collection of previously-authorized taxes on other utility services,” the notice reads.
Calls to a phone number listed under Landon’s name were not returned.
If the petition gains enough signatures, it would be included in the August special election. In order for it to be enacted, it would have to win at least a two-thirds approval from the voters.