By Susan Motander
Monday’s State of the City address by Mayor Tom Adams and other members of the City Council consisted largely of a recitation of the accomplishments of the city over the past year and the plans for the upcoming year. At the conclusion of the evening, the mayor changed gears and announced that the city would be exploring raising the local sales tax.
Adams pointed out that Los Angeles County has the highest tax rate in the state, higher even than Silicon Valley and San Francisco. He noted that part of the reason for this is that since 2004, LA County has succeeded in passing every sales tax measure they proposed driving the tax rate up to 9.5 percent.
The problem with this, according to the mayor, is that the money Monrovians pay into the county does not come back to them in the form of services and funding for local projects. As an example, Adams pointed to the funds raised by Measure H. Monrovians pay approximately $2.6 million per year for this measure, but the city only gets $30,000 back – about 1 percent of what we pay.
He also noted that cities like Santa Monica and Long Beach do not pay into this county fund although they receive money from it. This is because they voted to tax themselves and there is a cap to how much sales tax rates can be raised in any city. Once that cap is reached the county cannot impose any additional sales tax increases.
To counteract this, the mayor is proposing that the city begin exploring a potential sales tax measure this year. Specifically he said, “If the tax hikes are going to be approved anyway, there is something we can do now, in 2019, to protect our interests here in Monrovia. If we do, then instead of feeding LA County bureaucracy, we can use those monies to improve and upgrade Monrovia.”
His final line was, “I can’t think of a better place to call home.”