At the annual State of the City speech in January, Mayor Terry Tornek announced plans to place a city three-quarter cent sales tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot.
According to Tornek, Measure I will help the city avoid a fiscal disaster and raise money for infrastructure projects and public safety improvements by generating $21 million annually.
Measure I would also keep tax dollars at home. The city was allocated more than $7 million through Los Angeles County Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax hike to help fight homelessness, but so far has only received about $750,000.
Opponents, including the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, claim the increase will place a burden on the city’s economically disadvantaged residents and businesses.
City officials are hoping that voters plagued by partisan bickering and the constant rhetoric brought on by the national political divide doesn’t stop locals from completing their ballot.
Measure J and Measure I will appear at the bottom of the ballot, after all the candidates running in the midterm elections and state and county measures and propositions.
“I’m hopeful voters will make their way through the entire ballot, as there are many important races and issues to be decided,” said City Manager Steve Mermell.
Pasadena is not alone in its effort to raise more money. In August, the Glendale City Council voted to put a proposed three-quarter percent sales tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot, which would increase the city’s sales tax from 9.5 percent to 10.25 percent, the same as Pasadena’s.
Burbank, which currently has no sales tax, has also put a sales tax, the first in that city’s history, of 0.75 percent on the November ballot.
“As [the election] relates to Measure I and J, we’ve been doing significant community outreach through City Council district meetings, plus our informational mailings,” said Mermell. “In terms of everyday impact on residents, Measure I is certainly one of the most important items on the ballot.”