LA County Business Federation Says No to Pasadena Sales Tax Increase

Debate over the proposed sales tax increase rolls on in Pasadena. – Courtesy photo / Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Proposed sales tax would be 10.25 percent

Board members of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) recently voted to oppose Pasadena’s proposed sales tax increase (Measure I). According to a statement issued by the group, BizFed feels the tax increase would force small businesses and low-income residents to pay an extra 3/4-cent sales tax so “Pasadena can maintain the status quo with no guarantee about where or how funds will be spent and no accountability to the public.”

The group wants council members to prove to voters that they are making every effort to cut costs and incorporate greater efficiencies into city operations before reaching into residents’ wallets. BizFed claims that this has not happened.

In their statement, the group points to the fact that after council members put the sales tax increase on the ballot, they hired a city attorney and Fire Department Battalion Chief – despite the city manager’s recommendation the position be eliminated – a $400,000 cost that one city council member referred to as “finding change in the couch.”

BizFed claims the Pasadena City Council should be “an example of fiscal prudence, governmental efficiency and revamped service delivery” and not “reach into citizen’s wallets for a sales tax increase.” BizFed Board members are also concerned that sales taxes are regressive, impacting those at the lower end of the income scale much more severely than more affluent citizens.

“Before we could support revenue increases that more severely impact those at the lower end of the economic scale, we would have to see the City of Pasadena make a real and substantive effort to economize,” said BizFed Founding Chair David Fleming. “We have yet to see any attempt at realignment of services, re-envisioning service delivery or revamping the internal structures of city government in Pasadena. This measure simply helps Pasadena pay its pension obligations to the state and perpetuates the status quo.”

“Why, when Southern California is facing a housing affordability crisis, is Pasadena making it more difficult for those at the low end of the income scale to make ends meet?” added BizFed Founding CEO Tracy Hernandez.

Voters will get their say on the issue on Nov. 6.

October 8, 2018

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