FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Measure A?
Measure A is a local ballot measure that asks voters to approve a 0.75% sales tax in the city of South Pasadena.
Why is the city facing a budget deficit?
The City is facing rising expenses due to continued increases in public employee pensions (CalPERS) funding requirements, rising labor outlays and skyrocketing construction material costs. Existing revenue sources (property taxes and UUT) are either stagnant or decreasing. Rising costs and flat or decreasing revenue created the shortfall.
Can’t the city cut pension costs?
No. We already pay the minimum allowed.
Can’t the city leave CalPERS and run our own pension program?
Yes, but the penalties for leaving the system are far larger than the existing expenses if we stay in the program.
Why does the city pay such high salaries?
We do not. More than 80% of South Pasadena City employees are paid, on average, 10-30% lower than comparable cities in the San Gabriel Valley pay for the same job.
Can’t the city just cut costs?
Cutting costs means cutting services. Like other cities, South Pasadena’s largest expense is staff. With less staff, less work, including maintenance and repairs can be done. Less staff would also mean fewer police, fire and paramedic officers and support. Cutting costs also means continued deferment of long ignored infrastructure repair. And, because expenses are increasing every year, additional cuts would be required each year.
Didn’t we just increase funding to the city last year?
In 2018 voters overwhelming rejected a move to repeal the Utility Users Tax (UUT). While nearly 80% of voters said no to removing those funds, that election did not increase funding, instead only retaining existing funding. Given changing habits, UUT revenues are actually decreasing.
How would Measure A pay for roads and infrastructure?
South Pasadena for too long deferred maintenance and cannot do so any longer. Since 2012, the City has invested to repairs each year in roads. This investment has also caused the deficit. Continuing this investment requires new revenue. Parks, City buildings and other facilities also need repairs. The money has to come from somewhere.
If Measure A passes do all funds stay in South Pasadena?
Yes, every penny collected under Measure A will stay in South Pasadena.
What sort of oversight will there be on how Measure A funds are spent?
The revenues from the increase in the sales tax will be subject to oversight by an annual mandated independent financial audit, and by the finance commission in addition to the City Council annual budget process.
What other cities have passed a local sales tax?
27 other LA County cities (Pasadena [including Rose Bowl], Arcadia, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Pomona, Culver City, Santa Monica, Covina, Compton, Cudahy, Glendora, Hawthorne, Huntington Park, Lawndale, Lynwood, Pico Rivera, South Gate, Avalon, Commerce, Downey, El Monte, Inglewood, La Puente, San Fernando, South El Monte, and Santa Fe Springs) have already passed a similar sales tax measure and 4 other cities (Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Irwindale and Claremont) are placing a sales tax measure on the ballot this November, just like South Pasadena.
What level of support does measure A need to pass?
51% of voters must approve measure A in order for it to pass.
Do business owners support Measure A?
Yes. The South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the passage of Measure A.
When will Measure A appear on the ballot?
November 5th of this year.
How can I register to vote YES on Measure A?
To learn more about voting or to register to vote, please visit registertovote.ca.gov or call the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters at (800) 815-2666.
How can I vote YES on Measure A?
Measure A will appear on the ballot this November. If you are a Permanent Absentee Voter you will receive your ballot in the mail in early October.