Tax increases are a reality in Orange County. The City of Stanton recently passed Measure GG in 2014 to increase sales tax in the city by one percent. And while only city voters approved it, the tax will apply to anyone shopping in Stanton whether they are a resident or not. We sympathize with city leaders in Stanton who said they were facing large cuts in city services. But we also believe you cannot tax a city into prosperity and that unless budgeting efforts occur and economic growth is stimulated, Stanton residents will find themselves in the same position in the near future.
That is why it is a breath of fresh air that the City of Anaheim is considering an amendment to their city charter to require a 2/3 vote of the city council to initiate a tax increase before it is sent to voters.
The Anaheim Taxpayer Protection Act is being proposed by Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray, a strong advocate of lower taxes and of generating city revenue through a focus on economic development in the city. If the council votes to pass the amendment, it will go before Anaheim voters at the next regular election. General Law cities are already required to meet the higher threshold, but not Charter Cites such as Anaheim.
At the Orange County Taxpayers Association, we closely monitored the last election in Anaheim, and we were troubled that some candidates proposed raising all sorts of new taxes such as utility taxes and even a tax on not only your ticket to Disneyland but all entertainment venues in Anaheim. Thankfully, none of these candidates were successful in getting elected, but once Anaheim increases the size of its council to seven members and moves to district elections in 2016, it is very possible that candidates favoring tax increases could join the council.
Anaheim has a history of taking a positive approach for generating city revenues. Rather than raising taxes on the backs of all residents, the city focuses on maximizing revenue in its resort area. The resort area plays host to millions of annual visitors from around the world, who are taking part in conventions, attending an Angels or Ducks game or enjoying the Disneyland Resort. In fact, more than 50 percent of all city revenues are generated from the resort district, which makes up only five percent of the city’s land.
The proposed charter amendment protects Anaheim taxpayers now and in the future and could serve as model for a state constitutional amendment that would help all taxpayers whether they live in a General Law or Charter City.
Until then, we applaud Councilwoman Murray for taking this first step in Anaheim. We urge the city council to support the Anaheim Taxpayer Protection Act.
By Carolyn Cavecche, CEO and President
Orange County Taxpayers Association