From the Desk of the Publisher

A Measured Look at Measure S


On the November ballot, Glendale voters will be asked to vote yes or no on raising their city’s sales tax by .75%, or ¾, of a cent. Called the Glendale Quality of Life and Essential Services Protection Measure, Measure S is written to “expand funding to protect essential services,” then lists those services.

Robin Goldsworthy is the publisher of the Crescenta
Valley Weekly. She can be
reached at
or (818) 248-2740.

My thoughts: Every time an entity – city, county or state – is wanting to raise taxes, a similar warning is presented to voters. “All safety services will be diminished if this tax doesn’t pass!” “You’d better hope not to need police or firefighters if this tax doesn’t pass!” or similar verbiage is used to frighten voters.

But here’s the rub with Measure S. If Glendale doesn’t pass this tax, which will put about $30 million in the city’s coffers, there’s a strong possibility that the County of Los Angeles or even the State of California can and will swoop down and add that .75% onto our sales tax and Glendale will get next to nothing.

In 2009, the state Assembly raised the cap on sales taxes that can be levied by local governments from 2% to 3%. This is on top of the statewide sales tax of 7.25%. So there is a cap of 10.5% on sales taxes that state and local government can charge.

The current sales tax in Glendale is 9.5%, with 1% under local control. The remainder goes to the state and county. According to the city’s website, Measure S will ensure that any new funding generated will be used locally and will not be able to be taken by the county, regional agencies or special districts in the future. Unlike a possible county or regional agency tax, 100% of this $30 million stays in Glendale.

It’s sort of a preemptive strike – have Glendale raise the tax to the cap and keep all the proceeds – about $30 million – before another entity can grab them.

Opponents are worried that this money will go to meet current pension obligations. Though the city says no way, the fact is: so what if it does? Those pension contracts won’t go away (they’d have to be renegotiated and the unions won’t touch them) and the city is obliged to honor them.

Though paying more stinks, at least consumers can take some comfort that the new money will stay close to home.