UPDATE: MARCH 4, 2020 – Measure TT, a proposal to raise the City sales tax from the current 9.5 % to 10.25% has been defeated. City leaders had supported the tax increase arguing that the City of Bell would benefit from the increased revenue to help support public safety and city maintenance. Bell Residents opposed to the sales tax increase cited that property taxes and the City Utility Tax remain high, despite pleas from residents to lower taxes during the tumultuous Bell Scandal of 2010. The measure was opposed by over 60% of votes cast.
CITY OF BELL, CALIFORNIA – The City of Bell is asking residents to increase the city sales tax by ¾ percent, or to 10.25% (up from the current 9.5%) by way of Measure TT. Any increase in taxes must be approved by the voters. The City of Bell proposes that the tax increase would provide an estimated $1.4 Million to the city budget per year to help pay for the cost of police services, recreation programs, community events, and city and street maintenance.
According to the City Attorney’s analysis, If approved by voters, Measure TT, a new chapter 3.22 would be added to the City’s Municipal Code, “imposing a three quarters of a cent per dollar (0.75%) transactions and use tax (i.e., sales tax) for City general fund purposes. Specifically, Measure TT places a tax of 0.75% upon retailers’ gross receipts from the retail sale of most tangible personal property sold within the City, and an excise tax upon the storage, use or other consumption of tangible personal property purchased from any retailer for storage, use or other consumption within the City. The rate permitted is 0.75% of the sales price of the property, where “sales price” includes delivery charges subject to State sales or use tax, regardless of delivery destination.”
A “YES” vote means a vote to approve a 0.75% retail transactions and use general tax. A “NO” vote means a vote against a 0.75% retail transactions and use general tax. The transactions and use tax proposed by Measure TT needs a majority approval vote from residents at the March 3, 2020, general election to take effect.
An argument in support of the Measure was placed on the ballot by incumbent City Councilman Fidencio Joel Gallardo arguing in favor of the measure and stating that if Measure TT is passed, the City of Bell will have additional funds to provide needed services. He argues that the increased tax revenue will be returned to the City of Bell, rather than other agencies potentially raising the sales tax within Los Angeles County to be used throughout the county as a whole for services.
An argument opposed to the Measure was placed on the ballot by Candidate for City Council, Marcos Oliva who argues that Measure TT is a “bailout” that will raise taxes on residents and small businesses, making the sales Tax in Bell the highest in Los Angeles County. Oliva argues that property taxes and the City Utility Tax is already high, and that the city’s budget deficit comes from the current City Council’s [mismanagement] of City finances. He fears the measure will have a negative impact on city businesses, causing them to potentially leave the City.
WatchOurCity.com has reached out to all six candidates for city council, asking for their position on Measure TT. As of Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020, only candidate Marcos A. Oliva has responded as being opposed to Measure TT. Stay tuned to WatchOurCity.com as results of this measure and the Bell City Council election results will be updated here as they come in: https://watchourcity.com/communities/bell-city-election-results-march-3-2020-super-tuesday/