Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

SM Council Greenlights Competing Property Transfer Tax Ballot Measures

Cannabis Business Tax proposal also on the November Ballot as City opens first Weed Stores

The Santa Monica City Council this week voted to place multiple measures on the November 8 election ballot, including two competing transfer tax propositions and one dealing with cannabis business tax license.

The first tax measure would establish designated funds for local schools, homelessness prevention and affordable housing, an 11-member oversight committee, and provide a third-tier transfer tax rate of $56 per thousand dollars for property transfers valued more than $8 million.

The second proposition, titled the Real Property Transfer Tax Measure, would establish a third-tier transfer tax rate of $25 per thousand dollars of property value transferred.

The transfer tax would apply solely to the value transferred in excess of $8 million and would sunset after 10 years.

An Advisory Measure is associated with this Transfer Tax Measure, which also asks voters to express their preference on how to direct these funds. Funding options include allocating at least 30% of the new funds for housing assistance and services for the homelessness; increasing safety and emergency response teams; reopening public libraries; providing after-school programs and hiring new crossing guards.

City officials said it the Advisory Measure passes but not the Transfer Tax, then there would be no change to the existing policy. If both competing transfer tax propositions pass, the measure with the most votes would prevail.

At Tuesday night's meeting, the Council also decided to put on the ballot a measure to establish a business license tax for cannabis-related activities, up to 10% of gross receipts for the sale, distribution, delivery and consumption of cannabis.

The other ballot measure approved by the Council would change the requirements of services for members civic boards and commissions as part of its efforts to expand civic engagement and promote inclusive participation, said city officials.

The measure includes reducing the term from five years to four years; expanding eligibility to include Los Angeles County residents who are either employed full-time within the city, or who own real property in Santa Monica, or who has been issued a business license by the City.


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