Inglewood voters remain divided on two tax measures aimed at bringing in additional revenue to maintain public safety, city services, and easing traffic through infrastructure enhancements.
Inglewood Mayor James Butts has not publicly commented on the early results which show one Measure with a comfortable lead, while the other is too close to call.
Measure H sought to increase the city’s transient occupancy tax from 14% to 15.5% for those staying in Inglewood hotels. The city anticipated an additional $730,000 to keep public areas safe and clean, retain local businesses and jobs, address traffic issues near sports and entertainment facilities, increase affordable housing, and maintain youth and anti-gang programs, senior services and other city services.
Residents overwhelmingly supported the measure with 62% of the voters in favor, and 37% voting against.
Measure I was the more controversial tax measure before voters which sought to create a tiered tax system on real estate sales.
“Measure I is a real estate transfer tax fee which would increase from 55 cents per $1,000 to $1.75 per $1,000 if your home sells for lets say $1.2 million,” Butts said. “The tax levy would be $2,200 instead of the $660 we are currently getting. Which is about a $1,600 increase.”
Residents appear to have rejected the City’s messaging with 51% voting no, while 48% voted yes. Close to 300 votes separate the outcome.
The tax would have risen to 4.5% on properties costing more than $10 million, to 3.5% on properties costing $2.5 million to $10 million, and 1.75% on those selling for $1.1 million to $2.5 million. The existing 0.055% rate would stay in place for real estate sales less than $1.1 million.
Many residents incorrectly inferred the tax would increase their annual property tax payments, which the mayor vehemently denied.
“This is not a property tax, it is a fee that is levied on a property sold for over $1.1 million, which would generate an estimated $3.5 million annually for the city,” Butts said.
Residents became outraged when they realized the taxes would be used towards the Inglewood Transit Connector as the city’s way of “easing traffic”.
“We’re really working hard to prepare for the future, as it pertains to traffic, and are working very hard to build a people mover that will connect to the Crenshaw/LAX line at Florence [Avenue] and Market Street,” he said. “It’s about a billion dollar project.”
Residents took to social media stating the owners of the Forum, Chargers, Rams and the Clippers should be paying for the people mover since it will be primarily used to ferry attendees to their respective entertainment and sporting venues.
Butts blasted residents for thinking so stating “there is no free lunch” and the owners have collectively invested billions into the city.
“It’s the responsibility of the municipality to deal with its infrastructure because it goes on the public right of way, and will be in play 365 days a year, to deal with the blessings and riches we have worked ourselves into,” Butts said. “Mature adults handle their responsibility and the council is handling its responsibility.”
Vote-by-mail ballots still have until Tuesday, Nov. 9, to arrive as long as they were postmarked by Election Day. The registrar must also confirm provisional ballots.