City Council votes to place 0.75 cent sales tax hike on March 2020 Ballot

Courtesy photo

The City Council has voted to place a three-quarters-of-a-cent sales tax measure on the March 2020 ballot. The city is calling it the ““Public Safety and Essential City Services Measure.”
Currently, Paramount receives one 10th of the revenues collected from the existing 9.5% sales tax—the rest goes to the State, County, and local transit authority. If approved by voters, 100% of the three-quarter-cent increase in sales tax will stay in Paramount.

According to the Frequently Asked Questions on the city’s tax measure page, “While the City has successfully managed its budget, it needs a more long-term revenue enhancement to avoid a budget deficit of $3 – $4 million by 2025.”

If approved by Paramount voters, this local funding would:

• Maintain levels of public safety, including Sheriff’s patrols and school safety officers.

• Repair streets, sidewalks and potholes.

• Address homelessness.

• Avoid cuts to youth violence prevention and after-school programs.

• Keep parks and other public areas safe and clean.

• Maintain storm drains to prevent flooding.

• Protect local programs for seniors.

The proposed local funding measure would require strict accountability. All funds from the measure would be used locally for city services and would be subject to independent financial audits. By law, no money could be taken away by the State or the County.

Neighboring cities like Santa Fe Springs, Compton, Long Beach, Lynwood, South Gate, and Downey have already passed a similar sales tax increase. The cities of Cerritos, Lakewood, and Norwalk have also approved a similar sales tax measure for the March 2020 election. Last year, the city of Seal Beach passed a 1-cent sales tax measure. Although a supporter campaigned for the measure on the grounds that Seal Beach needed more law enforcement efforts, the funds were not specifically earmarked for that purpose. (A tax increase for a specific purpose would have required the support of a larger percentage of the voters than a general tax increase.)

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